The God We Call Father

Scriptures: Matthew 6:9

In Isaiah the people cry out to God, “Yet You are our Father,even though Abraham does not know us and Israel doesn’t recognize us. You, Yahweh, are our Father; from ancient times, Your name is our Redeemer” (Isa. 63:16 HCSB). “Yet LORD, You are our Father; we are the clay, and You are our potter; we all are the work of Your hands” (64:8). God is addressed as Father. We see the “Father” name reflected in the following way:

A father to Israel
Righteous Father
Abba, Father
Everlasting Father
Father of glory
The Living Father
Father of lights
Father of mercies
Father of spirits
Father of the Fatherless
God and Father of all
Jesus addressed God as “Father” in his prayers and taught his disciples to do the same (Matt. 6; 7:11; 18:19; 26:39, 42; Mark 11:25; 11:2; John 4:23; 14:16). Jesus was praying the first words of the Lord’s Prayer in the language of his heart, “Our Father in heaven” (6:9).

When we pray “Our Father” it reminds us of the precious relationship we have with God. We are a part of God’s family. We belong to God.

Who is the God we call Father?

He is personal
Jesus described God in two words: “Our Father.” Jesus was saying that God is a person and not simply a power. As a person, I can relate to him and love him and get to know him. This God we call Father is personally involved and absolutely intimate in nature.

He is paternal
For Jesus to call God Father was a radical thought. It shocked the Jews and awakened in then something lost long ago. God was called Father only seven times in the Old Testament. In this passage containing the Lord’s Prayer Jesus calls God Father ten times. In fact, in all of the prayers of Jesus he used the word Father more than seventy times.

He is perfect
When Jesus referring to his Father “in heaven” he meant more than a place. He was referring to an attribute. The term means “to be lifted up” or “up-lifted.” Heaven is generally thought of as being above. But again it is more than a location, it is a nature. What makes heaven heaven is that is a perfect place. So when Jesus described his Father as being in heaven, he was implying that he is a perfect God. Earlier in the Sermon on the Mount Jesus gave this description of his Father, “Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect” (Mt. 5:48).

He is preeminent
The next phrase “Hallowed be your name” means “to sanctify or set apart, to praise, to adore.” In the context of this prayer it carries with it the thought to put God in his rightful place. “Hallowed be your name” is very Jewish in how it addresses God. It shows the deep reverence that Jesus says must accompany our approach to God in prayer. We come into God’s presence remembering that God deserves our complete respect, our deepest awe and our submission.

Prayer begins with God. When you set God in his rightful place everything flows from there. All prayer is to begin with the character of God. When God is first, prayer makes sense.

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