Pray then like this: “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 also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.” Matthew 6:9-13 (ESV)
In teaching his disciples how to pray, Jesus thought it necessary for them to address their prayer to the Father, God. Jesus spent his entire life doing nothing more than pleasing the Father. He spoke only the words that he heard from the Father (John 8:28, 38). He did only the works his Father gave him to accomplish (John 5:36). He did only what he saw the Father doing (John 5:19). And when he came to the end of his life on earth he sought only the glorification of the Father (John 13:31; 17:4). It seemed only natural that he viewed the Father as the only worthy recipient of the disciples’ prayer.
Not only did Jesus teach his disciples to pray, we as Christians are privileged to pray in this manner. And not only did Jesus give us the words to say, his blood sacrifice on the cross gave us access to the Father. The writer of Hebrews said that it is through the blood of Jesus, his flesh that was torn on the cross, that we have access to the holy place where the Father dwells (Hebrews 10:19-22).
Our heavenly Father set his love on us before the foundation of the world (Ephesians 1:4-5). However, it wasn’t until our adoption was brought to fruition that we could recognize his as Father. Paul wrote to the churches, For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!” (Romans 8:15 ESV) And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!” (Galatians 4:6 ESV) The apostle John wrote, See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. (1 John 3:1 ESV) Jesus said, And call no man your father on earth, for you have one Father, who is in heaven. (Matthew 23:9 ESV)
Asking our heavenly Father for help in times of need magnifies his worth. It says “You are the only one who is capable of meeting my needs.” In fact Jesus told us not to be anxious about what we are going to eat, drink or wear. Our heavenly Father knows that we have need of all of those things before we even ask him (Matthew 6:8, 32). Jesus said, If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him! (Matthew 7:11 ESV) And the Father only gives good and perfect gifts (James 1:17).
Our heavenly Father has made room for us in his house (John 14:2). We can live daily where he lives. Jesus assigned to us the Father’s kingdom (Luke 22:29) we have no need to ever fear. In fact Jesus said, Fear not, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom. (Luke 12:32 ESV) Righteousness, peace and joy are ours in bountiful supply (Romans 14:17). Our Father will give us everything we need to accomplish his will for our lives (2 Peter 1:3). He owns it all and he holds us fast in his hand (John 10:29).
Is God your Father? Do you have a real sense that you belong to him?
Scriptures for meditation: