Our Father Who Art in Heaven
Everyone recognizes this opening phrase to the prayer Jesus taught his disciples. It is part of the Sermon on the Mount and Jesus’ teaching on prayer. After teaching his disciples how not to pray, He gave them this simple, sublime example of what prayer should be about. He was not giving them a prayer ritual to repeat. In fact the text says “pray in this manner” or “this is how you should pray.” He did not say this is what you should pray, that is, repeat these words. It is full of meaning and teaches us so much about our talking with God.
No more important truth is expressed than the one found in this opening phrase – “Our Father in Heaven.” Jesus indicates the kind of relationship his disciples could and should have with the great Creator God of the universe. He says our relationship is not one of a partner in spiritual things. He does not say we approach God as His slave. He says we approach Him as our Father. That one word conveys the kind of relationship God desires with his children, for that is what we are called in scripture, children of God (John 1:12). In fact we are adopted children, purposely selected by God to be in His family when we were completely without hope and rejected because of our sin.
When you pray to God as His child do not take the word “Father” lightly. It is an amazing thing that we can call Him our Father. No greater love has ever been shown than that while we were yet enemies He reconciled us to Himself through the death of Jesus Christ (Romans 5:10). He chose us in Christ to have this wonderful relationship. Be thankful every day that as Christians we can talk to our Father and know His love for His children is boundless. Thanks be to God for this unspeakable gift.