Focus: Our Father
Matthew 6:9-13 (KJV) …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.
It’s interesting to look at the prayer Jesus taught His disciples to pray. It is so simple. You may have known it as long as you can remember—or maybe you never learned it. Either way, it might be a good time to give a little more thought to it.
Things we have known or heard all our life can sometimes be easily taken for granted. I’m not sure how much time you’ve ever spent thinking about what this prayer says, but I would like to look at just one part of it, for now. Actually, I’d like to just think about the first line that says: “Our Father in heaven, Hallowed be (Holy is) Your name.”
Looking first at the word “our”, we can realize that right up front—Jesus wanted us to understand that His Father was our Father, too. He was encouraging us to come close to God—as we would a loving father.
If you had a father who loved you deeply, this concept is easy to embrace. If you had a father who you never met, wasn’t ever there for you, or abused you—or who made you want to back away—this might be not so easy. If your father, or lack of one, is one of the reasons you have struggled with depression or dependency—this is an area you really need to deal with, where God is concerned. Before you can really go any further with the prayer, you have to be able to completely accept the fact that God is not your earthly father, He is your heavenly Father. No matter what kind of earthly father you had, the difference is huge.
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We don’t know anything about the fathers of the disciples Jesus chose to be His closest followers, but I will venture that not all of them came from perfect homes. I’m guessing that some or a lot of them might have come from homes that were messed up. Some of them may have never had a father who provided for them. Some may have been raised by a grandmother and a mother who had to live together because of poverty. Maybe there was no father in their memory. Some of them may have had to work at an early age to help support the rest of the family or just to get food for themselves. Some could have had a family that was ‘intact’, but Jesus chose common, ordinary men to be His closest followers—not the rich or affluent. So it is likely, there were some who had grown up with a decent family life, and some who had none to speak of.
As Jesus tells His followers to address Almighty God as, “Our Father”, He is putting Himself in close relationship with them. The disciples have done a lot of wondering about Jesus and His special abilities. They have observed Him healing all manner of diseases. They have heard Him telling interesting stories—and they haven’t always understood everything He has said. They know that Jesus spends a lot of time talking to His Father. But, now He is telling them they can call the Almighty God they have always known as ‘Jehovah’, ‘Father’…and they can speak to Him personally. This is a new concept to them. They had to be amazed.
Not only is Jesus telling them to call God their “Father”, He is revealing Himself to them as a “brother”. Think of the intimacy they must have felt. The acceptance they experienced when He called them as disciples was pretty great—but this! This is almost too much for them to conceive—that His Father is their Father, too—and that He is their brother!
When you understand that Almighty God is your loving, caring Father, it changes everything that may have made prayer difficult in the past. You can be at peace with whatever your earthly father was like—good, not good, or not around—because now you have the best Father of all. He is your real Dad. He is perfect and holy. His Name is holy—because He is holy. If knowing this makes you love Him and what He did to forgive your sins through the gift of Jesus’ blood sacrifice—then He is yours and you are His. You have a Father. You belong to a very big family of brothers and sisters. Your Father is holy—and now—you can be holy, too. He wants you to come to Him with your cares and He welcomes you to call Him “Father”–when you pray.
Declaration: I will find new strength knowing I am accepted by Almighty God, Jehovah and I am part of His family because of Jesus. I can talk to “our Father” in prayer because I belong to Him now and forever.
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