The Lord’s Prayer is one of many Bible passages that most, if not all, of us can recite by memory or at least have a general understanding. It is often recited weekly at various churches around the world. There is so much to glean from this prayer, and I want to look at it today and gain some insights about prayer and the nature of God.
Most of this message will be taken from the Gospel of Matthew 6:5 – 13. Prior to teaching the disciples this prayer, Jesus spoke about the heart and motivation of giving. He also warns about making a spectacle of themselves when they tend to the needs of individuals or groups. He cautions about giving and helping to make oneself appear righteous or to be noticed by people for their deeds and actions. Instead, people are to give secretly, humbly, and in ways that will bring glory to God.
Matthew 6:5 - 13
Vs 5: Jesus gives the same advice with prayer. He says, “When you pray, do not pray like the hypocrites.” Here are some thoughts.
Jesus introduces a model prayer. Notice He does not say, “Pray this prayer”. He says, “Pray like this…” He tells us when we pray, use this as a model or a “template” on how we should effectively pray. This prayer contains six components, one is an invocation, and the other are petitions. The Lord’s Prayer could be broken down like this.
“Our Father in Heaven.” These four words are an introduction, a proclamation, and a summon to the one we are addressing in our prayers. We are praying to OUR FATHER in HEAVEN. It does not say to pray to the saints, the Virgin Mary, an angel, Mother Earth, etc. Who are we addressing? Our Father… Not just any ole Father, though, we are praying to The Father in Heaven. Some people have difficulty addressing God as the Father, and they have various legitimate reasons. Some may have difficulty addressing him as Father because they have or had an earthly father who brings nothing but painful thoughts, memories, and anxieties to mind. Acknowledging God as Father brings pain and anguish, so they refuse to believe that God as a Father could imply something good. Others don’t like the fact that the Father implies that God is a male, and this can open a whole can of worms dealing with patriarchy. Some more denominations refer to God as the Father/Mother. Some do not equate God to a Father because it lowers Him to the level of a human.
Regardless, the original Greek word for Father in this passage is translated from Pater (Pay – Ayr) which means the originator and transmitter of anything. 2a1 the authors of a family or society of persons animated by the same spirit as himself. 2a2 one who has infused his own spirit into others, who actuates and governs their minds. 2b one who stands in a father’s place and looks after another in a paternal way.
Whatever views we have about our earthly fathers it is important for us to know that we have a God in heaven who stands in the place of our earthly fathers and looks after us as true earthly parents should look after their own children. What does this mean to the believer? We have been exalted to a special close and intimate relationship with God, and we no longer dread him as a stern judge of sinners, but we should revere him as (our) reconciled and loving Father.
God is unique in the sense that his dwelling place is not here on earth. We cannot forget the fact that God is always present here on earth (Omnipresent) but it is not his home. His place is in heaven. The word translated as Heaven in this verse is ouranas (oo-ran-os) which means the region above the sidereal heavens, the seat of order of things eternal and consummately perfect where God dwells and other heavenly beings.
In conclusion, as we look at God the Father, I want to stress the importance of knowing and understanding that we have a God in Heaven who loves us with pure, holy, and parental love. He watches over his children, protects us, and loves us in a way that only a parent could love a child. When my children were born, the emotion and connection I felt with my children was unspeakable. I cannot explain the type of love I experienced as a new father. It was a love that I didn’t know I could possess, and it was a pure love, a protective love, and a determining love. Imagine this is the kind of love our God has for us. That’s the best way to humanly describe God’s love for us as a Father. However, we cannot completely fathom or define this love because we love with a human love, and He loves with a perfect, pure, and holy love that we cannot understand or comprehend. But I also need to say that as our God, he not only loves us, but He also has the responsibility to discipline, protect, and guide us as children as well. Because this is what we are… His children. John 1:12 says what I am saying best, “But to all who did receive him, who believed in His name, he gave the RIGHT to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor the will of man, but of God.” Since we have a God in Heaven who loves us and gave his son Jesus Christ for us and we have believed in Him, we now have the right to be called His children, and we have the right to also call Him our Father who is a holy, loving, merciful and all-encompassing God.
Jeff has been in full-time ministry for thirty years. He currently serves as Executive Director at Anchor House Ministry at SeaPort Manatee in Palmetto, FL and he is a part-time Campus Pastor at West Bradenton Southside in Bradenton, Florida.
Jeff Has authored A Lent Devotional (A Spiritual Journey to Lent) an Advent Devotional (The Advent of Jesus) and a devotional on the book of James (James: Where Faith and Life Meet). All three are available on Amazon.
He is married to Carrie and they have four children, Micaiah, Gabe, Simon, and Berea.
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