“OUR FATHER, WHO ART IN HEAVEN”
(The Lord’s Prayer is one of the great treasures of the Church that the Lord Jesus has given us. Translated into various languages, it transcends denominational boundaries and reminds Christians that though we are many, we are one in Christ. Whether said, chanted or sung in corporate worship or in private prayer
its beauty and significance bring comfort and inspiration to us.)
Paternity is not the same as fatherhood.
Paternity reminds us of DNA tests that show the biological connection of a person to his father. A man begets a child through his seed, causes him to be brought into the world and yet he may never even set eyes on that child.
Fatherhood on the other hand is not just a physical link. It is a living relationship characterized by love and intimacy between parent and child. Human weakness on the part of an earthly father may damage or diminish that relationship, but the possibility of restoration and healing is always there for as long as grace and forgiveness abound.
By God’s grace shown in Christ’s death and resurrection and through our faith God has re-defined our relationship with Him; God has reconciled us to Himself and made us His children (Eph. 1:5; Eph. 2:8,9).
When the Lord Jesus taught His disciples how to pray, He used the word “Father” in addressing God (Lk. 11:1-4; Mt. 6:7-13). It is the title by which God wants us to address Him. It encompasses both the motherly and fatherly attributes of God (Isa. 49:15; Mt. 23:37; Mt. 7:11). God loves us and wants to be intimate with us – to be involved as we go through our struggles and challenges. God values our well-being more than we can imagine (Mt. 10:29-31).
In calling upon God Jesus used the pronoun “our” and not “my”. He wanted the disciples to realize that God’s fathering love is not exclusive to them but includes “others”. God’s love embraces others outside “our group” — people of other races, denominations, socio-economic classes and political ideologies. Our Father desires that we love other people as we love ourselves (Mk. 12:30-31), sharing their joys and sufferings. God is their Father, too.
Dear Jesus, thank you for the prayer You have taught us. As we meditate on it help us live out its meaning each day of our life. Amen.