Thursday, July 10, 2008

Our Heavenly Father

Every single morning I begin my prayer time by praying the prayer that Jesus taught us to pray, "Our Father in heaven, hallowed be thy name." I was thinking about what I wrote in The Prayer of Jesus with respect to the disciples. The first words of the prayer of Jesus must have been nothing short of scandalous. Of all the things they must have learned about prayer, this was certainly not one of them. They had not even been permitted to say the name of God out loud, let alone refer to Him as "our Father." And yet that is precisely how Jesus taught His disciples to pray. There was, however, a catch, and the Apostle John explains the catch - only those who received Jesus and believed on the name of Jesus have the right to refer to God as "our Father." In fact, Jesus made it clear that there are only two kinds of people in the world: those who should refer to Satan as "our father" and those who can legitimately refer to God as "our Father who art in heaven." There simply is no other option.

In one sense Jesus is the only one who can legitimately address God as Father. He's the unique Son of God and has been so throughout eternity. However, as Paul explains it in Romans 8, those who are led by the Spirit of God are no longer illegitimate children. Instead they too are sons and daughters by adoption through faith in Jesus Christ. Thus they can legitimately refer to God as "our Father."

Let's be ever mindful of our Father in heaven through whom all blessings flow. As we remember our heavenly Father we are remembering the one who spoke and the universe leapt into existence, the one who created us so that we could have fellowship with Him, and the one to whom we should address our prayers each and every day.


Diane Vera said...

Regarding your statement that Jews were traditionally not allowed to address their God as "Our Father" -- that is not correct. There is a traditional Jewish prayer, said on Yom Kippur, that begins with "Avinu Malkenu" -- "Our Father, Our King."

(I'm neither Jewish nor Christian. Just surfing through.)

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