The Lord's Prayer
by Thomas Watson
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The Preface to the Lord's Prayer 
'Our Father which art in Heaven ' 
    Having gone over the chief grounds and fundamentals of 
religion, and enlarged upon the decalogue, or ten commandments, I 
shall speak now upon the Lord's prayer. 
    'After this manner therefore pray ye, Our Father which art in 
heaven hallowed,' &100:. Matt. 6: 9. 
    In this Scripture are two things observable: the introduction 
to the prayer, and the prayer itself 
    The introduction to the Lord's prayer is, 'After this manner 
pray ye.' Our Lord Jesus, in these words, gave to his disciples and 
to us a directory for prayer. The ten commandments are the rule of 
our life, the creed is the sum of our faith, and the Lord's prayer 
is the pattern of our prayer. As God prescribed Moses a pattern of 
the tabernacle (Exod 25: 9), so Christ has here prescribed us a 
pattern of prayer. 'After this manner pray ye,' &c. The meaning is, 
let this be the rule and model according to which you frame your 
prayers. Ad hanc regulam preces nostras exigere necesse est [We 
ought to examine our prayers by this rule]. Calvin. Not that we are 
tied to the words of the Lord's prayer. Christ says not, 'After 
these words, pray ye;' but 'After this manner:' that is, let all 
your petitions agree and symbolise with the things contained in the 
Lord's prayer; and well may we make all our prayers consonant and 
agreeable to this prayer. Tertullian calls it, Breviarium totius 
evangelii, 'a breviary and compendium of the gospel,' it is like a 
heap of massive gold. The exactness of this prayer appears in the 
dignity of the Author. A piece of work has commendation from its 
artifices, and this prayer has commendation from its Author; it is 
the Lord's prayer. As the moral law was written with the finger of 
God, so this prayer was dropped from the lips of the Son of God. Non 
vex hominem sonat, est Deus [The voice is not that of a man, but 
that of God]. The exactness of the prayer appears in the excellence 
of the matter. It is 'as silver tried in a furnace, purified seven 
times.' Psa 12: 6. Never was prayer so admirably and curiously 
composed as this. As Solomon's Song, for its excellence is called 
the 'Song of songs,' so may this be well called the 'Prayer of 
prayers'. The matter of it is admirable, 1. For its 
comprehensiveness. It is short and pithy, Multum in parvo, a great 
deal said in a few words. It requires most art to draw the two 
globes curiously in a little map. This short prayer is a system or 
body of divinity. 2. For its clearness. It is plain and intelligible 
to every capacity. Clearness is the grace of speech. 3. For its 
completeness. It contains the chief things that we have to ask, or 
God has to bestow. 
    Use. Let us have a great esteem of the Lord's prayer; let it be 
the model and pattern of all our prayers. There is a double benefit 
arising from framing our petitions suitably to this prayer. Hereby 
error in prayer is prevented. It is not easy to write wrong after 
this copy; we cannot easily err when we have our pattern before us. 
Hereby mercies requested are obtained; for the apostle assures us 
that God will hear us when we pray 'according to his will.' 1 John 
5: 14. And sure we pray according to his will when we pray according 
to the pattern he has set us. So much for the introduction to the 
Lord's prayer, 'After this manner pray ye.' 
    The prayer itself consists of three parts. 1. A Preface. 2. 
Petitions. 3. The Conclusion. The preface to the prayer includes, 
'Our Father;' and, 'Which art in heaven.' 
    I. The first part of the preface is 'Our Father.' Father is 
sometimes taken personally, 'My Father is greater than I' (John 14: 
28); but Father in the text is taken essentially for the whole 
Deity. This title, Father, teaches us that we must address ourselves 
in prayer to God alone. There is no such thing in the Lord's prayer, 
as, 'O ye saints or angels that are in heaven, hear us'; but, 'Our 
Father which art in heaven.' 
    In what order must we direct our prayers to God? Here the 
Father only is named. May we not direct our prayers to the Son and 
Holy Ghost also? 
    Though the Father only be named in the Lord's prayer, yet the 
other two Persons are not excluded. The Father is mentioned because 
he is first in order; but the Son and Holy Ghost are included 
because they are the same in essence. As all the three Persons 
subsist in one Godhead, so, in our prayers, though we name but one 
Person, we must pray to all. To come more closely to the first words 
of the preface, 'Our Father.' Princes on earth give themselves 
titles expressing their greatness, as 'High and Mighty.' God might 
have done so, and expressed himself thus, 'Our King of glory, our 
Judge:' but he gives himself another title, 'Our Father,' an 
expression of love and condescension. That he might encourage us to 
pray to him, he represents himself under the sweet notion of a 
Father. 'Our Father.' Dulce nomen Patris [Sweet is the name of 
Father]. The name Jehovah carries majesty in it: the name Father 
carries mercy in it. 
    In what sense is God a Father? 
    (1) By creation; it is he that has made us: 'We are also his 
offspring.' Acts 17: 28. 'Have we not all one Father?' Mal 2: 10. 
Has not one God created us? But there is little comfort in this; for 
God is Father in the same way to the devils by creation; but he that 
made them will not save them. 
    (2) God is a Father by election, having chosen a certain number 
to be his children, upon whom he will entail heaven. 'He has chosen 
us in him.' Eph 1: 4. 
    (3) God is a Father by special grace. He consecrates the elect 
by his Spirit, and infuses a supernatural principle of holiness, 
therefore they are said to be 'born of God.' I John 3: 9. Such only 
as are sanctified can say, 'Our Father which art in heaven.' 
    What is the difference between God being the Father of Christ, 
and the Father of the elect? 
    He is the Father of Christ in a more glorious and transcendent 
manner. Christ has the primogeniture; he is the eldest Son, a Son by 
eternal generation; 'I was set up from everlasting, from the 
beginning, or ever the earth was.' Prov 8: 23. 'Who shall declare 
his generation?' Isa 53: 8. Christ is a Son to the Father, as he is 
of the same nature with the Father, having all the incommunicable 
properties of the Godhead belonging to him; but we are sons of God 
by adoption and grace, 'That we might receive the adoption of sons. 
Gal 4: 5. 
    What is that which makes God our Father? 
    Faith. 'Ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ 
Jesus.' Gal 3: 26. An unbeliever may call God his Creator, and his 
Judge, but not his Father. Faith legitimises us, and makes us of the 
blood-royal of heaven. 'Ye are the children of God by faith.' 
Baptism makes us church members, but faith makes us children. 
Without faith the devil can show as good a coat of arms as we can. 
    How does faith make God to be our Father? 
    As it is a uniting grace. By faith we have coalition and union 
with Christ, and so the kindred comes in; being united to Christ, 
the natural Son, we become adopted sons. God is the Father of 
Christ; faith makes us Christ's brethren, and so God comes to be our 
Father. Heb 2: 11. 
    Wherein does it appear that God is the best Father? 
    (1) In that he is most ancient. 'The Ancient of days did sit.' 
Dan 7: 9. A figurative representation of God, who was before all 
time, which may cause veneration. 
    (2) God is the best Father, because he is perfect. 'Your Father 
which is in heaven is perfect;' he is perfectly good. Matt 5: 48. 
Earthly fathers are subject to infirmities; Elias, though a prophet, 
'was a man subject to like passions' (James 5: 17); but God is 
perfectly good. All the perfection we can arrive at in this life is 
sincerity. We may resemble God a little, but not equal him; he is 
infinitely perfect. 
    (3) God is the best Father in respect of wisdom. 'The only wise 
God.' 1 Tim 1: 17. He has a perfect idea of wisdom in himself; he 
knows the fittest means to bring about his own designs. The angels 
light at his lamp. In particular, one branch of his wisdom is, that 
he knows what is best for us. An earthly parent knows not, in some 
intricate cases, how to advise his child, or what may be best for 
him to do; but God is a most wise Father; he knows what is best for 
us; he knows what comfort is best for us: he keeps his cordials for 
fainting. 'God that comforteth those that are cast down.' 2 Cor 7: 
6. He knows when affliction is best for us, and when it is fit to 
give a bitter potion. 'If need be ye are in heaviness.' 1 Pet 1: 6. 
He is the only wise God; he knows how to make evil things work for 
good to his children. Rom 8: 28. He can make a sovereign treacle of 
poison. Thus he is the best Father for wisdom. 
    (4) He is the best Father, because the most loving. 'God is 
love.' I John 4: 16. He who causes bowels of affection in others, 
must needs have more bowels himself; quod efficit tale [for he 
accomplishes the same]. The affections in parents are but marble and 
adamant in comparison of God's love to his children; he gives them 
the cream of his love - electing love, saving love. 'He will rejoice 
over thee with joy; he will rest in his love; he will joy over thee 
with singing.' Zeph 3: 17. No father like God for love; if thou art 
his child thou canst not love thy own soul so entirely as he loves 
    (5) He is the best Father, for riches. He has land enough to 
give to all his children; he has unsearchable riches. Eph 3: 8. He 
gives the hidden manna, the tree of life, rivers of joy. He has 
treasures that cannot be exhausted, gates of pearl, pleasures that 
cannot be ended. If earthly fathers should be ever giving, they 
would have nothing left to give; but God is ever giving to his 
children, and yet has not the less. His riches are imparted not 
impaired; like the sun that still shines, and yet has not less 
light. He cannot be poor who is infinite. Thus he is the best 
Father; he gives more to his children than any father or prince can 
    (6) God is the best Father, because he can reform his children. 
When his son takes bad courses, a father knows not how to make him 
better; but God knows how to make the children of the election 
better: he can change their hearts. When Paul was breathing out 
persecution against the saints, God soon altered his course, and set 
him praying. 'Behold, he prayeth.' Acts 9: 11. None of those who 
belong to the election are so roughcast and unhewn but God can 
polish them with his grace, and make them fit for the inheritance. 
    (7) God is the best Father, because he never dies. 'Who only 
has immortality.' I Tim. 6: 16. Earthly fathers die, and their 
children are exposed to many injuries, but God lives for ever. 'I am 
Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending.' Rev 1: 8. God's 
crown has no successors. 
    Wherein lies the dignity of those who have God for their 
    (1) They have greater honour than is conferred on the princes 
of the earth; they are precious in God's esteem. 'Since thou wast 
precious in my sight, thou hast been honourable.' Isa 43: 4. The 
wicked are dross (Psa 119: 119), and chaff (Psa 1: 4); but God 
numbers his children among his jewels. Mal 3: 17. He writes all his 
children's names in the book of life. 'Whose names are in the book 
of life.' Phil 4: 3. Among the Romans the names of their senators 
were written down in a book, patres conscripti [the enrolled 
fathers]. God enrols the names of his children, and will not blot 
them out of the register. 'I will not blot his name out of the book 
of life.' Rev 3: 5. God will not be ashamed of his children. 'God is 
not ashamed to be called their God.' Heb 11: 16. One might think it 
were something below God to father such children as are dust and sin 
mingled; but he is not ashamed to be called our God. That we may see 
he is not ashamed of his children, he writes his own name upon them. 
'I will write upon him the name of my God;' that is, I will openly 
acknowledge him before all the angels to be my child; I will write 
my name upon him, as the son bears his father's name. Rev 3: 12. 
What an honour and dignity is this! 
    (2) God confers honourable titles upon his children. He calls 
them the excellent of the earth, or the magnificent, as Junius 
renders it. Psa 16: 3. They must needs be excellent who are e regio 
sanguine nati, of the blood royal of heaven; they are the spiritual 
phoenixes of the world, the glory of the creation. God calls his 
children his glory. 'Israel, my glory.' Isa 46: 13. He honours his 
people with the title of kings. 'And has made us kings.' Rev 1: 6. 
All God's children are kings, though they have not earthly kingdoms. 
They carry a kingdom about them. 'The kingdom of God is within you. 
'Grace is a kingdom set up in the hearts of God's children. Luke 17: 
21. They are kings to rule over their sins, to bind those kings in 
chains. Psa 149: 8. They are like kings. They have their insignia 
regalia, their ensigns of royalty and majesty. They have their 
crown. In this life they are kings in disguise; they are not known, 
therefore they are exposed to poverty and reproach. 'Now are we the 
sons of God, and it does not yet appear what we shall be.' I John 3: 
2. Why, what shall we be? Every son of God shall have his crown of 
glory, and white robes. 1 Pet 5: 4; Rev. 6: 2: Robes signify 
dignity, and white signifies sanctity. 
    (3) The honour of those who have God for their Father is, that 
they are all heirs; the youngest son is an heir. God's children are 
heirs to the things of this life. God being their Father, they have 
the best title to earthly things, they have a sanctified right to 
them. Though they have often the least share, they have the best 
right; and with what they have they have the blessing of God's love 
and favour. Others may have more of the venison, but God's children 
have more of the blessing. Thus they are heirs to the things of this 
life. They are heirs to the other world. 'Heirs of salvation' (Heb 
1: 14); 'Joint heirs with Christ' (Rom 8: 17). They are co-sharers 
with Christ in glory. Among men the eldest son commonly carries away 
all; but God's children are all - joint-heirs with Christ, they have 
a co-partnership with him in his riches. Has Christ a place in the 
celestial mansions? So have the saints. 'In my Father's house are 
many mansions. I go to prepare a place for you.' John 14: 2. Has he 
his Father's love? So have they. 'That the love wherewith thou hast 
loved me may be in them.' Psa 146: 8; John 17: 26. Does he sit upon 
a throne? So do God's children. Rev 3: 21. What a high honour is 
    (4) God makes his children equal in honour to the angels. Luke 
20: 36. They are equal to the angels; nay, those saints who have God 
for their Father, are in some sense superior to the angels; for 
Jesus Christ having taken our nature, naturam nostram nobilitavit, 
says Augustine, has ennobled and honoured it above the angelic. Heb 
2: 16. God has made his children, by adoption, nearer to himself 
than the angels. The angels are the friends of Christ: believers are 
his members, and this honour have all the saints. What a comfort is 
this to God's children who are here despised, and loaded with 
calumnies and invectives! 'We are made as the filth of the world,' 
etc. 1 Cor 4: 13. But God will put honour upon his children at the 
last day, and crown them with immortal bliss, to the envy of their 
    How may we know that God is our Father? All cannot say, 'Our 
Father.' The Jews boasted that God was their Father. 'We have one 
Father, even God.' John 8: 41. Christ tells them their true 
pedigree. 'Ye are of your father the devil;' ver 44. They who are of 
Satanic spirits, and make use of their power to beat down the power 
of godliness, cannot say, God is their Father; they may say, 'Our 
father who art in hell.' How then may we know that God is our 
    (1) By having a filial disposition, which is seen in four 
things. [1] To melt in tears for sin as a child weeps for offending 
his father: When Christ looked on Peter, and Peter remembered his 
sin in denying him, he fell to weeping. Clemens Alexandrinus reports 
of Peter that he never heard a cock crow but he wept. It is a sign 
that God is our Father when the heart of stone is taken away, and 
there is a gracious thaw in the heart; and it melts into tears for 
sin. He who has a childlike heart, mourns for sin in a spiritual 
manner, as it is sin he grieves for, as it is an act of pollution. 
Sin deflowers the virgin soul; it defaces God's image; it turns 
beauty into deformity; it is called the plague of the heart. 1 Kings 
8: 38. A child of God mourns for the defilement of sin; sin has to 
him a blacker aspect than hell. 
    He who has a childlike heart, grieves for sin, as it is an act 
of enmity. Sin is diametrically opposed to God. It is called walking 
contrary to God. 'If they shall confess their iniquity, and that 
they have walked contrary unto me.' Lev 26: 40. It does all it can 
to spite God; if God be of one mind, sin will be of another; sin 
would not only enthrone God, but strike at his very being. If sin 
could help it, God would no longer be God. A childlike heart grieves 
for this; 'Oh!' say she, 'that I should have so much enmity in me, 
that my will should be no more subdued to the will of my heavenly 
Father!' This springs a leak of godly sorrow. 
    A childlike heart weeps for sin, as it is an act of 
ingratitude. It is an abuse of God's love; it is taking the jewels 
of his mercies, and making use of them to sin. God has done more for 
his children than others; he has planted his grace and given them 
some intimations of his favour; and to sin against kindness, dyes a 
sin in grain, and makes it crimson; like Absalom, who soon as his 
Father kissed him, and took him into favour, plotted treason against 
him. Nothing so melts a childlike heart in tears, as sins of 
unkindness. Oh, that I should sin against the blood of a Saviour, 
and the bowels of a Father! I condemn ingratitude in my child, yet I 
am guilty of ingratitude against my heavenly Father. This opens a 
vein of godly sorrow, and makes the heart bleed afresh. Certainly it 
evidences God to be our Father, when he has given us a childlike 
frame of heart, to weep for sin as it is sin, an act of pollution, 
enmity and ingratitude. A wicked man may mourn for the bitter fruit 
of sin, but only a child of God can grieve for its odious nature. 
    [2] A filial disposition is to be full of sympathy. We lay to 
heart the dishonours reflected upon our heavenly Father. When we see 
his worship adulterated, and his truth mingled with the poison of 
error, it is as a sword in our bones, to see his glory suffer. 'I 
beheld the transgressors and was grieved. ' Psa 119: 158. Homer 
describing Agamemnon's grief when forced to sacrifice his daughter 
Iphigenia, brings in all his friends weeping and condoling with him; 
so, when God is dishonoured, we sympathise, and are as it were clad 
in mourning. A child that has any good nature, is cut to the heart 
to hear his father reproached; so an heir of heaven takes a 
dishonour done to God more heinous than a disgrace done to himself. 
    [3] A filial disposition, is to love our heavenly Father. He is 
unnatural that does not love his father. God who is crowned with 
excellency, is the proper object of delight; and every true child of 
God says as Peter, 'Lord, thou knowest that I love thee.' But who 
will not say he loves God? If ours be a true genuine love to our 
heavenly Father, it may be known by the effects. Then we have a holy 
fear. There is the fear which rises from love to God, of losing the 
visible tokens of his presence. Eli's 'heart trembled for the ark.' 
I Sam 4: 13. It is not said his heart trembled for his two sons 
Hophni and Phinehas; but his heart trembled for the ark, because the 
ark was the special sign of God's presence; and if that were taken, 
the glory was departed. He who loves his heavenly Father, fears lest 
the tokens of his presence should be removed, lest profaneness 
should break in like a flood, lest Popery should get head, and God 
should go from his people. The presence of God in his ordinances is 
the glory and strength of a nation. The Trojans had the image of 
Dallas, and they had an opinion that as long as that image was 
preserved among them, they should never be conquered; so, as long as 
God's presence is with a people they are safe. Every true child of 
God fears lest God should go, and the glory depart. Let us try by 
this whether we have a filial disposition. Do we love God, and does 
this love cause fear and jealousy? Are we afraid lest we should lose 
God's presence, lest the Sun of Righteousness should remove out of 
our horizon? Many are afraid lest they should lose some of their 
worldly profits, but not lest they should lose the presence of God. 
If they may have peace and trading, they care not what becomes of 
the ark of God. A true child of God fears nothing so much as the 
loss of his Father's presence. 'Woe to them when I depart from 
them.' Hos 9: 12. 
    Love to our heavenly Father is seen by loving his day. 'If thou 
call the Sabbath a delight.' Isa 58: 13. The ancients called this 
regina dierum, the queen of days. If we love our Father in heaven, 
we spend this day in devotion, in reading, hearing, meditating; on 
this day manna falls double. God sanctified the Sabbath; he made all 
the other days in the week, but he has sanctified this day; this day 
he has crowned with a blessing. Love to our heavenly Father is seen 
by loving his children. 'Every one that loveth him that begat, 
loveth him also that is begotten of him.' 1 John 5: 1. If we love 
God, the more we see of him in any, the more we love them. We love 
then though they are poor, as a child loves to see his father's 
picture, though hung in a mean frame. We love the children of our 
Father, though they are persecuted. 'Onesiphorus was not ashamed of 
my chain.' 2 Tim 1: 16. Constantine kissed the hole of Paphnusius's 
eye, because he suffered the loss of his eye for Christ. They have 
no love to God, who have no love to his children; they care not for 
their company; they have a secret disgust and antipathy against 
them. Hypocrites pretend great reverence to departed saints; they 
canonise dead saints, but persecute living ones. I may say of these, 
as the apostle in Heb 12: 8: they are 'bastards, not sons.' 
    If we love our heavenly Father, we shall be advocates for him, 
and stand up in the defence of his truth. He who loves his father 
will plead for him when he is traduced and wronged. He has no 
childlike heart, no love to God, who can hear his name dishonoured 
and be silent. Does Christ appear for us in heaven, and are we 
afraid to appear for him on earth? Such as dare not own God and 
religion in times of danger, God will be ashamed to be called their 
God; it will be a reproach to him to have such children as will not 
own him. A childlike love to God is known by its degree. We love our 
Father in heaven above all other things; above estate, or relations, 
as oil runs above the water. Psa 73: 25. A child of God seeing a 
supereminence of goodness and a constellation of all beauties in 
him, is carried out in love to him in the highest measure. As God 
gives his children electing love, such as he does not bestow upon 
the wicked, so his children give to him such love as they bestow 
upon none else. They give him the flower and spirits of their love; 
they love him with a love joined with worship; this spiced wine they 
keep only for their Father to drink of. Cant 8: 2. 
    [4] A childlike disposition is seen in honouring our heavenly 
Father. 'A son honoureth his father.' Mal 1: 6. 
    We show our honour to our Father in heaven, by having a 
reverential awe of him upon us. 'Thou shalt fear thy God.' Lev 25: 
17. This reverential fear of God, is when we dare do nothing that he 
has forbidden in his Word. 'How can I do this great wickedness, and 
sin against God?' Gen 39: 9. It is part of the honour a son gives to 
a father, that he fears to displease him. We show our honour to our 
heavenly Father, by doing all we can to exalt him and make his 
excellencies shine forth. Though we cannot lift him up higher in 
heaven, yet we may lift him higher in our hearts, and in the esteem 
of others. When we speak well of God, set forth his renown, display 
the trophies of his goodness; when we ascribe the glory of all we do 
to him; when we are the trumpeters of his praise; this is honouring 
our Father in heaven, and a sure sign of a childlike heart. 'Whose 
offereth praise, glorifieth me.' Psa 123. 
    (2) We may know God is our Father by resembling him. The child 
is his father's picture. 'Each one resembled the children of a 
king', every child of God resembles the king of heaven. Judg 8: 18. 
Herein God's adopted children and man's differ. A man adopts one for 
his son and heir that does not at all resemble him; but whomsoever 
God adopts for his child is like him; he not only bears his heavenly 
Father's name, but his image. 'And have put on the new man, which is 
renewed after the image of him that created him.' Col 3: 10. He who 
has God for his Father, resembles him in holiness, which is the 
glory of the Godhead. Exod 15: 11. The holiness of God is the 
intrinsic purity of his essence. He who has God for his Father, 
partakes of the divine nature; though not of the divine essence, yet 
of the divine likeness; as the seal sets its print and likeness upon 
the wax, so he who has God for his Father, has the print and 
effigies of his holiness stamped upon him. 'Aaron, the saint of the 
Lord.' Psa 106: 16. Wicked men desire to be like God hereafter in 
glory, but do not affect to be like him here in grace; they give it 
out to the world that God is their Father, yet have nothing of God 
to be seen in them; they are unclean: they are not only without his 
image, but hate it. 
    (3) We may know God is our Father by having his Spirit in us. 
[1] By having the intercession of the Spirit. It is a Spirit of 
prayer. 'Because ye are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of his 
Son into your hearts, crying Abba, Father.' Gal 4: 6. Prayer is the 
soul's breathing itself into the bosom of its heavenly Father. None 
of God's children are born dumb. Implet Spiritus Sanctus organum 
suum, et tanquam fila chordarum tangit Spiritus Dei corda sanctorum 
[The Holy Spirit fills his instrument, and the Spirit of God touches 
the hearts of the saints like the threads of harp-strings]. Prosper. 
'Behold, he prayeth.' Acts 9: 11. But it is not every prayer that 
evidences God's Spirit in us. Such as have no grace may excel in 
gifts, and affect the hearts of others in prayer, when their own 
hearts are not affected; as the lute makes a sweet sound in the ears 
of others, but itself is not sensible. 
    How shall we know our prayers to be indited by the Spirit, and 
so he is our Father? 
    When they are not only vocal, but mental; when they are not 
only gifts, but groans. Rom 8: 26. The best music is in concert: the 
best prayer is when the heart and tongue join together in concert. 
    When they are zealous and fervent. 'The effectual fervent 
prayer of a righteous man availeth much.' James 5: 16. The eyes melt 
in prayer, and the heart burns. Fervency is to prayer as fire to 
incense, which makes it ascend to heaven as a sweet perfume. 
    When prayer has faith mingled with it. Prayer is the key of 
heaven, and faith is the hand that turns it. 'We cry, Abba, Father.' 
Rom 8: 15. 'We cry,' there is fervency in prayer; 'Abba, Father,' 
there is faith. Those prayers suffer shipwreck which dash upon the 
rock of unbelief. We may know God is our Father, by having his 
Spirit praying in us; as Christ intercedes above, so the Spirit 
intercedes within. 
    [2] By having the renewing of the Spirit, which is nothing else 
but regeneration, which is called a being born of the Spirit. John 
3: 5. This regenerating work of the Spirit is a transformation, or 
change of nature. 'Be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind.' 
Rom 12: 2. He who is born of God has a new heart: new, not for 
substance, but for qualities. The strings of a viol may be the same, 
but the tune is altered. Before regeneration, there are spiritual 
pangs, much heart-breaking for sin. It is called a circumcision of 
the heart. Col 2: 11. In circumcision there was a pain in the flesh; 
so in spiritual circumcision there is pain in the heart; there is 
much sorrow arising from a sense of guilt and wrath. The jailor's 
trembling was a pang in the new birth. Acts 16: 29. God's Spirit is 
a spirit of bondage before it is a spirit of adoption. This blessed 
work of regeneration spreads over the whole soul; it irradiates the 
mind; it consecrates the heart, and reforms the life; though 
regeneration be but in part, yet it is in every part. 1 Thess 5: 23. 
Regeneration is the signature and engraving of the Holy Ghost upon 
the soul, the new-born Christian is bespangled with the jewels of 
the graces, which are the angels' glory. Regeneration is the spring 
of all true joy. At our first birth we come weeping into the world, 
but at our new birth there is cause of rejoicing; for now, God is 
our Father, and we are begotten to a lively hope of glory. 1 Pet 1: 
3. We may try by this our relation to God. Has a regenerating work 
of God's Spirit passed upon our souls? Are we made of another 
spirit, humble and heavenly? This is a good sign of sonship, and we 
may say, 'Our Father which art in heaven.' 
    [3] We know God is our Father by having the conduct of the 
Spirit. We are led by the Spirit. 'As many as are led by the Spirit 
of God, they are the sons of God.' Rom 8: 14. God's Spirit does not 
only quicken us in our regeneration, but leads us on till we come to 
the end of our faith. It is not enough that the child has life, but 
he must be led every step by the nurse. 'I taught Ephraim to go, 
taking them by their arms.' Hos 11: 3. As the Israelites had the 
cloud and pillar of fire to go before them, and be a guide to them, 
so God's Spirit is a guide to go before us, and lead us into all 
truth, and counsel us in all our doubts, and influence us in all our 
actions. 'Thou shalt guide me with thy counsel.' Psa 73: 24. None 
can call God Father but such as have the conduct of the Spirit. Try 
then what spirit you are led by. Such as are led by a spirit of 
envy, lust, and avarice, are not led by the Spirit of God; it were 
blasphemy for them to call God Father; they are led by the spirit of 
Satan, and may say, 'Our father which art in hell.' 
    [4] By having the witness of the Spirit. 'The Spirit itself 
beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God.' 
Rom 8: 16. This witness of the Spirit, suggesting that God is our 
Father, is not a vocal witness or voice from heaven. The Spirit in 
the word witnesseth: the Spirit in the word says, he who is 
qualified, who is a hater of sin and a lover of holiness, is a child 
of God, and God is his Father. If I can find such qualifications 
wrought, it is the Spirit witnessing with my spirit that I am a 
child of God. Besides, we may carry it higher. The Spirit of God 
witnesses to our spirit by making more than ordinary impressions 
upon our hearts, and giving some secret hints and whispers that God 
has purposes of love to us, which is a concurrent witness of the 
Spirit with conscience, that we are heirs of heaven, and God is our 
Father. This witness is better felt than expressed; it scatters 
doubts and fears, and silences temptations. But what shall one do 
that has not this witness of the Spirit? If we want the witness of 
the Spirit let us labour to find the work of the Spirit; if we have 
not the Spirit testifying, let us labour to have it sanctifying, and 
that will be a support to us. 

The Lord's Prayer
by Thomas Watson
(continued in file 3...)

file: /pub/resources/text/ipb-e/epl-09: watlp-02.txt