Finding Our Father
I have probably spent over a thousand dollars for books over the last few years pursuing three advanced degrees. And yet just two words anyone can read for free in any library or online or in a dusty Bible somewhere in their home contain more theology and more wisdom and awe than all those books. Those two words are impossible to buy with money or to earn with muscle or mind. They are two simple words spoken by JESUS when teaching those who want to follow Him how to pray: “Our Father.”
When JESUS permits, even commands, those who follow Him to address GOD as “Father”, he reminds them of an ancestry they had available but put aside. GOD as Father was not mentioned in Scripture until GOD Himself tells David that it is Solomon, David’s son, who will build the temple David had hoped to build. And GOD says He will be like a Father to Solomon. David explains in his psalms that GOD is father to him and to all those who love and follow Him. But by the time JESUS is teaching His followers how to pray the Jewish people call themselves children of Abraham and David but not of GOD.
JESUS is calling them back to the Father, GOD. But as He explained to Nicodemus, there is only one way back: to be born again, through Him. As they were born from the womb of their mothers they must be born again through His Body given for them. His Holy Spirit must conceive the new birth in them so Christ Himself could live in their hearts. Then they could call out to GOD as their Father, as they were always meant to do.
The way the phrase “our Father” is worded in the sample prayer JESUS gives is better translated “Father of mine.” It is totally personal yet with the understanding it applies to others who are also followers of JESUS and children of GOD.
At the same time, JESUS reminds them that their Father is in Heaven. Followers of JESUS are children of the Heavenly Father. Their Home is His kingdom not those they try to build in their lifetimes. He is LORD above all, and as such He is to be obeyed and loved and followed before all. He is to be “hallowed”, adored and respected. Anything to do with Him, with His nature or character summarized by His Name, is to be respected and recognized as worthy of praise.
JESUS calls us now as He called followers then to pray by first recognizing GOD as our Father in Christ. Respectfully, acknowledging His greatness, and free to say anything our hearts are troubled over.
JESUS shows us how to find the Father through Him. We can climb into the lap of the King on His throne and whisper what’s bothering us in His ear. We can respectfully and lovingly pour out our heart to the One Who gave His Son to make us His children along with Him.
Pray then like this: “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name.”
Matthew 6:9 ESV