Sunday was Father’s Day here in the US. At our home, we went to church, where they celebrated the dads a little, and we came home to celebrate my husband. It was a special day for us.
I began thinking about Our Father last week. I was listening to the Lovifide podcast with Nicole C. (You can check that out at accessmore.com if you like) because one of her podcasts piqued my interest the week before. On her podcast, she does a memory verse for each episode. For the series of episodes I listened to, she was working on the pieces of the Our Father prayer.
Then at church Sunday, the worship leader opened his prayer with “Heavenly Father,” and my interest and attention were piqued again. I began considering the Our Father prayer. Jesus called God his Father. We are his siblings, he says. “For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother.” Matthew 12:50 NIV.
I realized that I don’t usually refer to God as my Father when I pray. I don’t usually call him my Father. I sometimes use a more personal reference of Abba, which is closer to our version of “daddy.” But often, I don’t do that either. I just refer to him as God.
On Lovifide, Nicole C. brought up that Yahweh is God’s name and God is what he does. I added to that, Our Father is who he is. He is good and awesome. He is love itself.
So, why don’t I call him Father, Heavenly Father, or Father God? When I took an Alpha course at my old church several years ago, I heard that we interact with God and Jesus as we interact with our earthly brother and father. For me, my father was absent, and my brother was unkind. This means that I naturally struggle these relationships.
What do I struggle with? I have a hard time trusting that God is with me and will never leave me. I struggle with calling him Father. These are both true even though I go to him and talk to him on a natural, informal level. I go to him frequently in prayer. I speak to him about regular, everyday things. I want to have this Father, so I tried calling him Father, and it felt different in my heart. I know that’s something to work on.
How do we get a better relationship with God and Jesus? There are a few ways to do this.
- Trust is built with familiarity. I had to get familiar with who God is and what he does. To trust someone, we have to know them. We need to know that they won’t mislead us, take advantage of us and that they care about us. We can’t know those things until we know them when they’re in various situations.
- Rely on the Holy Spirit. As Christians, the Holy Spirit helps us do all sorts of things. He is an advocate for us, intercedes for us, and teaches us. When we don’t know what to do, we can ask for guidance from the Holy Spirit.
- Be with them. When we’re getting to know someone, we hang out with them. We learn about what they like and dislike. We talk to them and discover who they are. We do this when we read the Bible and pray. We learn more about God in the Old Testament. We learn about Jesus and God the Father in the New Testament. We learn who they are and how much they love us.
We know that they love us. God sent Jesus, and he went willingly to the cross. They sacrificed so that they could be with us. God wrote a love letter that spanned hundreds of years to us. He created the world and gave it to us. He gave us life, and then he gave us abundance. He gave us forgiveness and mercy too.
I’d like to challenge you to begin a relationship with Our Father. If you need a little help, as I do, you can start with memorizing the Our Father prayer that Jesus taught us how to pray. Pray along, if you like.
“Our Father in heaven, Hallowed be Your name. Your kingdom come. Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one. For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.” Matthew 6:9-13 NKJV.
What does it mean? I find that understanding what it means can help me remember better. This prayer begins with an acknowledgment. God is our Father. His name is holy. His kingdom is perfect and excellent. We ask that his perfect desires be ours while we are on earth, the same as in heaven. We ask that he provides sustenance for us daily. We ask that he forgives us for the wrong things we do and ask him to help us do the same. We ask that he does not test our will but that he lends us his strength to win against Satan’s temptations. Finally, we acknowledge that our Father is Lord over heaven and earth and us. We give him glory because of who he is. We finish with Amen, which is a request that we are aligned with all we have said.
Isn’t it a wonderful prayer? Jesus taught us how to pray, and we’ve become so familiar with it that it seems less awesome. This prayer is also a reminder to us – we need to remember that God is not only our Father, but he is also Holy and above us. This demands respect. Just like our earthly parents, we love them, but we also respect them.
We are also reminded to ask for what we need and to give thanks. We are reminded of our position in our Father’s kingdom. We are reminded that we want to make the world a better place for ourselves and the people around us. We are also reminded that there is evil in this world, and it’s hard to resist.
That’s a lot from one little prayer, right? I wonder what will happen in our lives if we pray this prayer every day? The prayer helps us move in the right direction toward God and Jesus. I’d like to give it a shot. How about you?
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Thanks for praying along with me today. I hope you have a wonderful week ahead of you. Drop a comment below if you’re going to pray along with me. I’d like to hear about your week and what you’re thinking about. If you have a prayer request, let me know about it in the comments below as well.
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