Our Father in Heaven

   Today, we begin our in-depth look into the Lord’s Prayer. Let’s join the disciples at the feet of the Teacher. Intrigued by his example and teaching on prayer, we can wait no longer. After all, we’re a brash, impatient bunch. “Teach us to pray,” we plead.

Perhaps the Master sees within us a spark of humility with a desire to learn, as well as a need to connect. And just perhaps he’s decided this is a unique teaching moment. So he begins. “This then, is how you should pray. . . .”

“Our Father in heaven” We’re amazed! How could this be? Our Father? What does this mean? Answering our thoughts, he informs us prayer is all about family, the family of God.

Pardon me while I digress. I’m thinking of something our youngest granddaughter said when she was three. My husband and I had traveled from South Carolina to Schofield Barracks in Hawaii. It had been many months since our last visit with Katie and her family. Hannah didn’t know us at all. Who were these strangers in her home, anyway? One day, she squared her shoulders and said to me, “I like my mommy better than you.” Helplessly, I groped for a positive response to a negative comment. “Of course, you do. You’re supposed to like her better. She’s your mommy.” I paused, and then added, “You know, your mommy was once my little girl.” Indignant, Hannah quickly replied, “She was not! My mommy has always been an adult!” At that moment, there was no room for grandparents in Hannah’s little world. Hannah didn’t trust me as her grandmother until she got to know me. Why should she? She had no clue how much I loved her.

We have no clue how much God loves us. That is, until we know and trust him. By the way, do you realize God has no grandchildren? There’s no grandfather clause in the Lord’s Prayer. Jesus begins his prayer by identifying with each of us as children of the heavenly Father.

 “Our Father in heaven” is an amazing assurance policy for everyone in God’s family. These four inclusive words come with a guarantee. *God loves us sacrificially and unconditionally. (How else could he allow us into his glory?) *We’re promised an eternal home in heaven, paid for and waiting for us. (All this because we know him as our heavenly Father.)

Do you know him, personally and profoundly as your Father in Heaven? According to John 1:12, we’re born into the family of God when we receive Christ. In that moment, we’re endowed with God’s gift of forgiveness and eternal life. The Greek word for knowing God means to perceive, behold–as to “gaze with wide-open eyes at something remarkable.” The New Strong’s Concordance of the Bible also says this knowing differs from “expressing merely mechanical, passive or casual vision.” Instead, the word signifies an intense, continual scrutiny.

In light of I Corinthians 1:21 (in the Crumbs section), examine your relationship with God. Do you gaze upon him with eyes wide open? Do you continually scrutinize the wonder of his Word until it captures not only your attention, but your heart, as well?

Child of God, next time you pray “Our Father in heaven,” consider the eternal significance of your words. Your oneness with the Father and his forever family is for a purpose. Randy Alcorn says it well in his book, In Light of Eternity. “God is eternal. His place is eternal. His Word is eternal. His people are eternal. Center your life around God, his place, his Word, his people, and those eternal souls who desperately long for his person and his place. Do this, and no matter what you do for a living, your days here will make a profound difference. Any honest activity—whether building a shed, driving a bus, pruning tress, changing diapers, or caring for a patient—can be an investment in God’s kingdom.”

Meanwhile, if you know him, relish your place in his kingdom. And savor the fact that you can pray with assurance, “Our Father in heaven.”

                                                                                                                 

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Comments
4 Responses to “Our Father in Heaven”
  1. Mary Beth Welsh says:

    Mom, I continued to be blessed every week, savoring the time with the Lord and with you. Blogging may not have been on your list of goals way back when and it may not be the ultimate in the writing you want to accomplish but you have allowed the Lord to expand your horizons, teach you new things (not easy for any of us with ever changing technology) in order to use a medium that is available to and will reach more people than you could ever imagine. Gives a little different meaning to “unto Him who is able to immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine…” I love you.

  2. Millie says:

    Mom! Delightful way to start my morning out on the breezy patio at the beach – with my coffee!! I am so grateful for how God speaks to and thru you! Thank you for living out your exhorter gift!!!

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