A Deeper Look At The Lord's Prayer
After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.
Our Father which art in heaven
Luke 11:1 Now Jesus was praying in a certain place, and when he finished, one of his disciples said to him, "Lord, teach us to pray, as John taught his disciples."
I hear a lot of prayers in my life, I have heard many people try to be very reverent and begin their prayers by describing God's attributes and accomplishment and that’s good but that is not how Jesus told us to begin our prayers. He said...
After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father...
1 John 3:1 See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are...
60 times in the Gospels Jesus calls God his father and that is no surprise, after all he is the legitimate offspring of God the Father. But then Jesus tells us to call God our father. I want you to feel the weight of that.
(14) For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.
(15) For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.
As we read here in Romans 8, Paul also referred to God as his Father assuring us that it isn't just a term that Jesus can use but rather all the children of God as we speak with Him.
What calling God "Father" says about God: Let's look at a few attributes of a Good Father.
A Good Father Provides
Scripture tells us plainly that a Father should take care of his family in some pretty strong terms. We read about it here in Paul's first letter to Timothy.
1 Timothy 5:8 But if anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for members of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.
The Bible tells us that God doesn't just expect earthly Fathers to provide but He Himself sets this standard by providing for his children.
(30) But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?
(31) Therefore do not be anxious, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?'
(32) For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all.
(33) But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.
A Good Father Protects
A while back I remember seeing a news story about an apartment building being on fire and a father and his child had been trapped by the flames several stories up and about to be burnt alive. The man took the child and wrapped him up in his arms and jumped out the window and landed back first. This heroic father protected his child, he died and the child was fine according to the report.
Our heavenly Father is able to protect us abundantly more than any earthly father ever could. He not only can protect us physically but mentally and spiritually as well.
Here are a few verses that shine God in the light as our protector.
(9) Because you have made the LORD your dwelling place-- the Most High, who is my refuge--
(10) no evil shall be allowed to befall you, no plague come near your tent.
(11) For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways.
Philippians 4:7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
2 Thessalonians 3:3 But the Lord is faithful. He will establish you and guard you against the evil one.
A Good Father Teaches
Scripture tells us of the importance of a good earthly Father teaching his children the things of the Lord.
(5) You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.
(6) And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart.
(7) You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.
Just as an earthly father should teach, God the Father also teaches us.
Psalm 32:8 I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my eye upon you.
2 Timothy 3:16-17
(16) All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness,
(17) that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.
Our Good Holy Father God wants you to be the best child of His you can be and wants the best for you, so he teaches you all you need to know to walk in faith and pursue Him in all your ways.
A Good Father Disciplines
There is no better illustration I could give that would be better than the one the Bible itself gives us in comparing his love through discipline to that of a good earthly father.
(5) And have you forgotten the exhortation that addresses you as sons? "My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord, nor be weary when reproved by him.
(6) For the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and chastises every son whom he receives."
(7) It is for discipline that you have to endure. God is treating you as sons. For what son is there whom his father does not discipline?
(8) If you are left without discipline, in which all have participated, then you are illegitimate children and not sons.
(9) Besides this, we have had earthly fathers who disciplined us and we respected them. Shall we not much more be subject to the Father of spirits and live?
(10) For they disciplined us for a short time as it seemed best to them, but he disciplines us for our good, that we may share his holiness.
I have personally known a family for many years that does not practice proper discipline with the children of the family, they have let each of their kids pretty much do whatever they want without consequence from the father of the family. As I've watched each one of these four kids become adults their lives have been riddled with troubles such as addictions and acting out various crimes like theft and assault.
Good fathers must discipline their children if they truly love them and want what's best for them. Our Perfect Heavenly Father does this, proving to us that we are His legitimate children whom He loves.
A Good Father Loves
The Great Prince of Preachers Charles Spurgeon suffered horribly from gout which is a painful inflammation of the joints. The story is told of him that he was in so much pain once that he had his deacons leave his office during a meeting and he closed the door and prayed like a child pleading with his father for his pain to be relieved. It was said that his pain left him after a few minutes and he called his deacons back into the room to resume the meeting telling them that his Father had shown him great love and gave him the relief he was asking for.
Jesus tells us who it is that the Father loves and calls His children.
John 14:21 Whoever has my commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves me. And he who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and manifest myself to him."
The greatest thing about having a heavenly Father that loves us is that nothing can happen that can cause him not to love you.
As an earthly father of three daughters and a grandfather I can tell you that I have been tested in many ways and been upset many times at my children but there is nothing they could do to stop me from loving them.
Our heavenly Father is the same way with his children.
(38) For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come,
(39) Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Romans 5:8 But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.
Good Children Obey Their Good Father
Calling God our Father in not just about what a Father should be to children but also about what children should be to their Father.
Good children should be obedient to their father. If this is true for an imperfect earthly father then all the much more for a Perfect Heavenly Father.
Ephesians 6:1 Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right.
Colossians 3:20 Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord.
Good Children Trust A Good Father
Psalm 9:10 And those who know your name put their trust in you, for you, O LORD, have not forsaken those who seek you.
Hebrews 2:13 And again, I will put my trust in him. And again, Behold I and the children which God hath given me.
I heard a Pastor talk about how he has his children jump into his arms from the top bunk of their bunk beds in order to teach them to trust him to catch them and teach them about faith. He said I assure them that even though I'm not a perfect father that I will catch and not let them fall. I then teach them about their Perfect Father in Heaven and how if they can trust me with all my flaws, how much more they can trust Him.
Good Children Show Reverence and Honor To Their Father
Ephesians 6:2 "Honor your father and mother" (this is the first commandment with a promise),
Hebrews 12:28 Wherefore we receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear:
Good Children Love Their Father
I think this can be wrapped up in a couple verses from John.
1 John 5:2-3
(2) By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God, and keep his commandments.
(3) For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous.
We have examined what it means for God to be our Father and what it mean for us to be children of our Father. Now let's look at the rest of what Jesus says to us when we begin our prayers through an acknowledgment of who we are praying to.
Our Father Which Art In Heaven
God says in
Isaiah 55:9 For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.
In all the comparisons I have just made between earthly fathers and our Heavenly Father it is important to remember that he is not just like an earthly father but better, He Is God our Father!
This is explained and demonstrated to us by His many attributes throughout scripture, let's look at a few.
Our Father Knows All
Romans 11:33 Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways!
Because our Father is in heaven there is nothing he doesn't see, nothing he doesn't know about whether it be past, present or future.
This should give us hope because when we are going through something difficult we can trust that because our Father knows everything and we can trust it is all for a greater purpose.
When my Grandfather was alive many years ago I recall when he first started having major medical problems. My Grandpa ran from God for many years but when he came face to face with his immortality it opened his eyes.
He often shared with me how glad he was that had gotten sick and was having all of his medical issues because he said he didn't think he would have ever turned to God any other way and that God knew that's what it would take to bring him to Himself. I don't know if that's perfect theology but it's pretty good submission to an all knowing God.
I have been able to personally experience this kind of understanding of God allowing bad things for a greater purpose that only He knows about. In my own life as I've gotten older I've had my own major health issues that have led to a greater love and dependence upon the Lord.
Our Father Controls All
Isaiah 46:10 declaring the end from the beginning and from ancient times things not yet done, saying, 'My counsel shall stand, and I will accomplish all my purpose,'
Some want to deny that God is in control of all things at all times but the Bible tells us nothing can stop Him from doing all that He wants to do.
Sometimes when bad things are happening we need to understand God has a plan in all things and because He knows all and controls all we can have peace in the midst of trials
The Bible has a beautiful story about this in the life of Joseph.
(15) And when Joseph's brethren saw that their father was dead, they said, Joseph will peradventure hate us, and will certainly requite us all the evil which we did unto him.
(16) And they sent a messenger unto Joseph, saying, Thy father did command before he died, saying,
(17) So shall ye say unto Joseph, Forgive, I pray thee now, the trespass of thy brethren, and their sin; for they did unto thee evil: and now, we pray thee, forgive the trespass of the servants of the God of thy father. And Joseph wept when they spake unto him.
(18) And his brethren also went and fell down before his face; and they said, Behold, we be thy servants.
(19) And Joseph said unto them, Fear not: for am I in the place of God?
(20) But as for you, ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive.
The Apostle Paul also assures us of this truth in the Book to the Romans.
Romans 8:28 And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.
Because He Is A Father In Heaven He Is Always There For Us
Wherever man is, there is always a heaven above him.
(7) Where shall I go from your Spirit? Or where shall I flee from your presence?
(8) If I ascend to heaven, you are there! If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there!
(9) If I take the wings of the morning and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea,
(10) even there your hand shall lead me, and your right hand shall hold me.
This should give us a lot of comfort in knowing that whenever we call out to Him in our prayers, he hears us and whenever we need him he is there.
There is an old Southern Gospel song titled "God on the Mountain" and some of the lyrics go like this.
The God of the Mountain is still God in the Valley
The God of the good times is still God in the Bad Times
The God of the Day is still God in the night
Our Father in Heaven was there with us during the happiest best moments of our life and He will be there with us when we are going through the greatest trials of our lives.
Wherever a person is and whatever they are going through there is a heaven above us and our Father is there.
So what is the message to us from the way Jesus tells us to begin our prayers?
First to those who know God as your Father.
I think we can get a renewed focus in our prayers. When we begin praying to our Father I hope a flood of thoughts will rush into our mind as to just what that means.
I hope it changes the way we approach God in our prayers, understanding that He is our Father and we are His children.
To those who may say I don't know God as my Father I hope they hear the message that they can know God as their Father today.
The Bible says in...
John 1:12 But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God,
Romans 10:9 That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.
Romans 10:13 For "everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved."