Jesus said to his disciples, “And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. This is how you should pray: “Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” Matt. 6: 7, 9-10
Many of us grew up learning “The Lord’s Prayer.” The prayer is packed full of simple directives for believers to live by. In this writing, we’ll take a brief look at the first verse of this well-known prayer.
“Our Father in heaven . . .” are familiar words known to millions. Calling our fathers dad, father or daddy, is common in most countries of the world. Heavenly Father or Father, in reference to God, are also common terms. But for the men and women, boys and girls listening to Jesus, this wasn’t the standard they were used to. To the Hebrew, God was Yahweh, “Creator and Ruler of history.” To the Gentile, God might have been an image made of wood or stone.
The Jews knew God as the holy, one true God. He delivered the children of Israel by parting the waters of the Red Sea. He wrote on tablets of stone and gave the Ten Commandments. God was known as a mighty consuming fire. He was the Creator of heaven and earth -- a massive awe-inspiring work parallel with His amazing creation of the human race.
Jesus said, “Pray this way: Our Father who art in heaven . . .” These words imply an intimate, close, loving relationship. God is not only holy and powerful, He is Father. He is a Father to the fatherless; a light in our darkness. He is the God of all comfort to the weary and to those struggling to make sense out of difficult and scary situations. He is a loving Father who looks after His children. He gives courage to the weak, and in some unknown way, He renews our strength as we wait upon Him.
According to the Apostle Paul, believers are adopted as sons and daughters of God and we cry out, “Abba, Father!” The word Abba is the Aramaic name for father and translated into English it means “papa.” It implies an intimate relationship of child and father.
The Apostle Paul received the revelation that Jesus is the exact representation, or the exact image, of God. When we see Jesus, we see our Heavenly Father. Read the Gospel accounts of Jesus’ life and ministry, and see His Father at work … your Father, our Father!
When Jesus ascended to heaven, God didn’t leave us orphans. He gave His Spirit, and He gave His Word. Certainly, in this life, we can never know all there is to know of God and His glory and majesty, but we can know enough for each new day. We can pray for His kingdom to come in our lives, and for His will to be done in our lives -- daily.
God is not some mysterious, unknown force, nor is He made in the image of an earthly father. Rather, a good, loving, and wise earthly father shows forth the attributes of our Heavenly Father.
What is it you need today? Do you need guidance, material resources or daily bread? Maybe, you’re in need of forgiveness or deliverance from fear. Whatever you may be facing, your Heavenly Father faces it with you. You are not alone!
Your Father watches over the sparrow that falls to the ground, and He watches over you. He is your papa, your Abba, your “Papa God.” Now, when you say the Lord’s Prayer, I hope your heart is filled with faith … a faith rooted in your Heavenly Father’s love for you. Together, let’s pray as Jesus taught us to pray:
“Our Father who are in heaven,
Hallowed be Thy name.
Thy kingdom come.
Thy will be done,
On earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.
And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from evil.”