Pray Then Like This: Meditations on the Lord's Prayer part 2

Our Father in Heaven 

In this opening invocation Jesus uses two designations which should encourage us to pray.

God is our Father

Jesus is God’s Son in a unique sense. The amazing thing is that all who have received Jesus in faith have been adopted as God’s children. We too have the right to call God our Father.

But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, (John 1:12)

Knowing God as Father should be a great encouragement for us to pray. It is a deeply personal term, reminding us of God’s nearness and love.

"Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened. Or which one of you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a serpent? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him! (Matthew 7:7-11)

God as Father is disposed toward us to do us good. He is totally for us (Romans 8:31f). He wants us to approach Him in prayer. Let the fact that God is your father be an encouragement for you to pray.

Our father is in Heaven.

With the mention of heaven, Jesus draws on language and symbolism from the Old Testament to communicate something important about our Father.

The LORD is in his holy temple; the LORD's throne is in heaven; his eyes see, his eyelids test, the children of man. (Psalm 11:4)
Thus says the LORD: "Heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool; what is the house that you would build for me, and what is the place of my rest? (Isaiah 66:1)
Our God is in the heavens; he does all that he pleases. (Psalm 115:3)

Heaven is the throne of God. It is the place from which He reigns. Heaven symbolises God’s power, sovereignty, authority and freedom. In mentioning heaven, Jesus reminds us that the One to whom we pray is not only our Father, but is also the exulted king of the universe.

God as king is sovereign and therefore free to do whatever He pleases. The encouragement to pray is multiplied by this point. Not only is God willing to hear us as our Father, He is able to answer us because He is king. Be encouraged to pray.

These two opening designations of God should also govern the spirit in which we pray.

Since God is our Father, we don’t have to try to impress Him with great eloquence or flattery or long winded speeches in order to win His favour (Matthew 6:7-8). He is already favourable toward us.

Since our Father is king, we should pray to Him in a spirit of humble reverence which befits His awesome majesty. The angels of heaven cover their faces and fall down before Him. We should approach God in the same spirit.

Pray Then Like This
Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6 | Part 7 | Part 8

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