(c. 184 – c. 253)

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Our Father
Up till now, though I have looked as carefully as I can, I have not found in the Old Testament any prayer calling God ‘Father’.  I do not mean that God was not referred to as Father or that those who believed in God were not called children of God; but nowhere have I found in a prayer the boldness proclaimed by the saviour in calling God Father…. But even if God is called Father and those who are begotten you the word of faith in him are called sons, the certainty and immutability of sonship cannot be seen in the Old Testament…. But the “fulness of time” (Gal 4:1-2) is with the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, when those who wish receive the adoption as sons, as Paul teaches: “You did not receive the spirit of bondage to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of sonship in which we cry, ‘Abba, Father!’” (Rom 8:15).  Luke writes: “When you pray, say, ‘Father’” (Lk 11:2)….

In heaven
Even before the bodily coming of Christ, many passages of Scripture seem to say that God is in a physical place…. “Adam and Eve heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden” (Gen 3:8).  Or “I will dwell in their midst, and I will walk among them” (Deut 23:14; Lev 26:12; 2 Cor 6:16).  His walking among the saints is just like his walking in the garden, since everyone who sins hides himself from God… He dwells in heaven the same way he dwells among the saints.  

Hallowed be your name
The implication of the text is that the name of the Father has not yet been hallowed.  But someone might say, how could a person think that the name of God could be hallowed as though it had not already been hallowed…?  God’s name is ‘I am’ (Ex 3:14)…. All of us suppose something about God and have some ideas about God, but we do not fully understand…. The ideas about God in us are holy…. In Psalm 29 it says, “I will exalt you, O Lord, for you have drawn me up and have not let my enemies rejoice over me.”  Someone exalts God when he dedicates a house to him in himself.

Your kingdom come
If the kingdom of God according to our Lord and Saviour’s word “does not come with signs to be observed, nor will they say, ‘Lo, here it is!’ or ‘There!’ but “the kingdom of God is within us” (Lk 17:29-21) for the Word is very near, in our mouth and in our heart (cf. Deut 30:14; Rom 10:8) – then it is clear that the one who prays that the kingdom of God may come prays that the kingdom of God may spring up in him, bear fruit, and be rightly perfected…. “We will come to him and make our home with him” (Jn 14:”3; cf. Mt 13:23 Mk 4:20; Lk 8:15).

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In their many different idioms the classical spiritual writers have attempted to throw light on the eternal question of union with God. 
Every month we give you a brief passage from a spiritual classic.