Our Father who Art in Heaven

by the American Sunday-School Union

"Father is coming, father is coming!" shout a merry group of children, as Mr. Wilmot appears around a little knoll, on his return from his business.

"Let us run and meet him,"—and away they scamper over the lawn to see which will get to him first. They are laughing gaily, and their feet trip lightly, as hatless and bonnetless they hasten to him. Mary's brown curls are streaming in the wind, and it is a beautiful sight to look upon these children, so full of life and joy and love.

Mr. Wilmot greets them with a smile, and stoops to kiss each of them, as they put up their arms to give him a loving welcome to his home. One of them takes his basket, and another his cane, and then the unoccupied hands are claimed by the tiny ones who love to walk by his side.

Why do these children hasten so eagerly to meet their father? It is just because he is their father. He has provided them with a home, and with food and clothing, and has given them many pleasant things to enjoy. He loves them, and his love and approbation are very precious to them. They obey his wishes, and strive to please him, and this is one source of the happiness which fills their hearts.

I think most of you, dear children, have kind parents, to whom you are warmly attached, and that you do not hear the name of father without emotions of pleasure. Some of you have no earthly father, but you all have one in another and better world.

Most of you, in your infancy, have learned to repeat the Lord's Prayer. How beautiful and expressive are the words with which it commences, "Our Father who art in heaven." God, then, is your father, and you may go to him as his children. You may tell him all your wants, all your sorrows, and all your joys. You may pour out your heart to him with perfect freedom. You need not fear to do this as you would to a stranger, for he is your Father, and knows all about you. He knows every time you suffer, and he sees every thought of your heart. God loves you more than any earthly friends can, and he has enabled them to bestow upon you all the comforts which surround you.

When you kneel down to pray, will you not remember that it is to a father you are speaking, and will you not love him as truly and warmly as you do the dear father who takes you on his knee, and speaks so kindly and affectionately to you. Your father in heaven has given you this earthly parent, and you should surely love him for all he has done for you.

Do not let the precious words, "Our Father who art in heaven," be unmeaning ones to you; but strive to realize the great goodness and condescension of God in permitting you to call him by so sweet a name, and give him the only thing you can in return,—your young and grateful hearts.