As the shells rain down on hapless soldiers trembling in their foxholes, a man completely unknown as religious to his squad mates begins reciting the Lord’s Prayer. He remembers it from growing up attending Mass. Now in their time of desperation he delivers it up to God. Considered the most beloved prayer in Scripture and taught by Jesus to His followers, we would be wise to unpack it, study it and apply it rigorously to our lives. So let’s embark upon a prayer journey and take joy in 69 life-changing words.
Matthew 6:9—Therefore, you should pray like this: Our Father in heaven, Your name be honored as holy.“ Our Father in heaven . . .”
Philip Yancy, in Prayer Does It Make Any Difference? writes, “No one in the Old Testament directly addressed God as “Father,” whereas Jesus did so 170 times.” Nineteen times Jesus directly prays to His Father in heaven. Clearly God’s Son identified to all He came in contact with, through His words and His obedience, that He existed on earth to fulfill His Father’s mission and to glorify Him. If Jesus, the embodiment of perfection, believed it was important to address His Father, why wouldn’t we do the same—especially when He teaches us to pray like this?
Now if you did not grow up having a loving father, it may be extremely hard to trust and to call out to and embrace Him as Father. This requires faith. Beware of making the present conform to your past. Without accepting the love of God and believing that He is decidedly interested in your welfare, regardless of what you have experienced in life, there is no moving forward to healing and victory. God loves you! And for this reason, among many, Jesus implores you to call upon Him as Father. Speak to Him in the confidence that you are safe!
Jesus locates His Father in heaven. God is omnipresent and therefore not excluded from our presence. But His throne and authority reside in heaven. Our earthly sin does not sully His holiness. Our puniness is profoundly altered by His magnificence. When we call on His name and, by extension His authority, we touch omnipotence! Heaven is over earth.
Appropriately, the first words in prayer that spring from our heart are addressed to our Father. This should immediately alter our attitude. In the presence of royalty one is humble, reverent and expectant. We must choose carefully what words will follow our greeting for we are addressing the King of kings and Lord of lords. Jesus’ teaching prepares us to put His Father before everything else. Before we utter our earthly concerns, we remember and take note of the fact that we first acknowledge heaven. Pray like this: put the Father first.
O Lord, I praise Thee for the revelation of Thy supreme Fatherhood that dawns on me through the grace of the Lord Jesus. Oh, that I may be the child of my Father in heaven!—Oswald Chambers
©2017 Daniel York ARR. Reveration is the weekly devotional ministry of First Cause. If you would like to receive these devotionals go to www.firstcause.org and click on the “Click here to receive weekly devotionals” box. Unlimited permission to copy this devotional without altering text or profiteering is allowed subject to inclusion of this copyright notice.
Ecclesiastes 12:10-The Teacher sought to find delightful sayings and to accurately write words of truth. (Holman CSB)