Pray like this: Our Father in heaven . . . — Matthew 4:9
Author and recording artist Carolyn Arends shares this beautiful insight on what she calls an invocation to the Lord’s Prayer: “The first thing Jesus teaches us is an invocation—pushing us toward the right address, in multiple senses of the word. Whom are we addressing? Our Father. Where is His address?” In heaven. As soon as I speak or even think the opening words of the Lord’s Prayer, I’m pulled out of my internal echo chamber and into a two-way conversation. Jesus could have taught us to address THE GREAT I AM or THE LORD MOST HIGH. Instead, He invites us to use highly relational, parental language. If God is Our Father, then we are His children. Fathers—good ones anyway—are accessible to their kids and delight in giving them good things.”*
Israel was slow to understand the revealed truth of a personal individual relationship with God as their heavenly Father. Isaiah presented this reality but the nation was in apostasy (Isaiah 63:16; 64:8). This is one of the reasons why the Jews were so upset at Jesus for claiming that kind of relationship with God as His Father, “making Himself equal with God” (John 5:18). The Jews of today still have the same problem.
If God be our spiritual Father, then we are His spiritual children, revealing an intimate new relationship when we become born again. Jesus as a man made this known when He cried out in anguish from the Garden of Gethsemane, “Abba, Father,” (Mark 14:36). Abba is the Aramaic word for father which is even a more tender and intimate term. Combined with the Greek word for father (pater), it expresses a translation close to, “Daddy, my Father.” The Apostle Paul pointed out our right to use the same words, because God has adopted us as His children (Romans 8:15; Galatians 4:6).
We just celebrated Father’s Day and unfortunately many have never experienced a healthy relationship with their earthly fathers. Some may not even know who their biological dads are. However, as difficult as that may be, we must understand that our heavenly Father is filled with an everlasting, tender and compassionate love for all who would choose to make Him their “Abba Father.” When they do, they will become His kids forever (1 John 3:1). Maranatha!
*Carolyn Arends, “The Universe in 57 Words—Seven Days Inside The Lord’s Prayer”