Exposition
The second part of the preface of the Lord’s prayer is contained in the words, Who art in heaven; that is, heavenly. The term heaven, as here used, signifies the abode or habitation of God, of the holy angels, and blessed men, concerning which God says in the prophecy of Isaiah, Heaven is my throne; and of which Christ says, In my father’s house are many mansions. (Is. 66:1. John 14:2.) God is indeed everywhere by his immensity; but he is said to exist and to dwell in heaven, because he is there more glorious than in the world, and there manifests himself immediately. Christ now commands us to address God as our Father who art in heaven:
1. That he might show what a contrast and difference there is between earthly parents and his Father; or that he might separate him from earthly parents, and that we might regard him as such a Father: 1. Who is not earthly, but heavenly, dwelling gloriously in heaven. 2. Who rules everywhere with heavenly glory and majesty, presides over all things, and who governs by his providence the whole world which he himself created. 3. Who is free from all manner of corruption and change. 4. Who even there, that is in heaven, manifests himself gloriously to angels, and declares what a Father he is, how good, how great and rich.
2. That he might excite in us a confidence that God hears us; because if he is our Father, and is possessed of infinite goodness, which he especially displays in heaven, then he will also give us all things necessary for our salvation; and if this our Father be also Lord in heaven, and possessed of infinite power, so that he can help us in our need, then he can also easily grant unto us what we ask at his hands.
3. That he might excite in us reverence. For since our Father is so great a Lord, even one that is heavenly, who rules everywhere, and has power to cast both soul and body into hell, we ought to reverence him, and come into his presence with the greatest humiliation of soul and body.
4. That we may call upon him in fervency of spirit.
5. That the minds of all those who worship him may be elevated and fixed upon heavenly things.
6. That we may be led to desire heavenly things
7. That we may not fall into the error of the heathen, who imagine that God can be adored and worshipped in creatures.
8. That we might be admonished not to direct our prayers to any particular place, as under the Old Testament.