I suppose I could breeze through the Lord’s prayer, but I just felt it might be good to take it a line at a time.
In these passages, Jesus teaches us how to address God. In Matthew, he says, “Our Father in heaven.” In Luke, he simplifies it to “Father.”
Why did Jesus tell us to address God as Father?
I think the reason is because he wanted us to know it was okay to draw close to God.
It is by no means wrong to call God things like, “Sovereign Lord.” It is in fact appropriate, for that is what he is. Peter himself addressed God that way in the book of Acts (4:24).
But to call God that does seem to put some distance between you and him. Certainly a king and his servant has a relationship, but it almost never is a relationship where the servant can ask for the king’s attention at any time.
But a king’s child can. He has access that a mere servant doesn’t have. More than that, he has the confidence that his daddy loves him and delights in him.
Our Father is a great king. He rules in heaven and his dominion extends throughout the universe and beyond. Yet he always has time for you because he is not simply your king, he is your Father.
The problem that many people have, however, is they can’t truly understand what it means to say God is our Father. They can’t understand because their own earthly fathers were imperfect. They never listened. They never loved. They never cared. They never provided. They were never there. Or in some cases, were even abusive.
And we take all these negative images of our fathers here on earth, and overlay them on God.
But God isn’t our earthly father. He is our Father in heaven. And all the things your earthly father isn’t or wasn’t, God is.
He cares. He listens. He loves. He provides. And he is always there.
What image do you have of God, when you hear “God is our Father?”
Hopefully you have a positive one that allows you to draw near. But if you have a negative one, understand that God is different from the father you know. Pray that God would heal you from the hurts your father caused you. Pray that you can forgive your father. And pray that God could reshape your view of what a father is so that you can truly understand who God is.
Note: If you are having trouble with forgiving your father or people in general, there’s a great testimony by one of my favorite musicians, David Meece. If you go to davidmeece.com, go to the “Meet David” menu, and then to “David’s Testimony” and you can download the MP3. This testimony has been on Focus on the Family numerous times, and is the full version.