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The Lord’s Prayer, Part 4

So far, we’ve considered the context for the Lord’s Prayer in both Matthew’s and Luke’s accounts. We see from Matthew’s Gospel most clearly that Jesus’ intention for this prayer is that it serve as a model for prayer. Jesus said, “Pray like this….” Let’s take a closer look then, at each component of this model prayer.

Our Father in heaven….” We begin by addressing God as “our Father.” He is the Father of us all from the viewpoint that He created us. We are His. (See Acts 17:24-31.) More specifically, God has called us into relationship with Him through Jesus Christ. Through Christ we become His children; His sons and daughters (2 Corinthians 6:18). So we rightly and reverently address God as our Father. We look to Him for everything: love, protection, provision, and deep relationship.

We come to Him, not as an outsider begging for a hearing that we might make a one-time request. We come to Him as our loving Father, who delights in His children. “If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!?” (Matthew 7:11) Do you believe that? It’s vital that we do! To think less of God is to belittle Him and demean His character. So come to Him as His beloved child knowing that He longs to hear from you and spend time with you.

When I pray, “Our Father,” I also recognize that I am not alone as God’s child. Instead, I’m a part of God’s family. There are numerous implications of this truth. You or I are not an only child in God’s family! The relationships we have with others of God’s children are profoundly important in terms of our relationship with our Father. If we have a problem with one of God’s kids, we’ve got a problem with God! Those broken relationships cannot help but negatively impact our ability to pray and fellowship with our Father.

In the same context of Matthew’s account, Jesus had explained earlier the correlation between our relationship with the Father and with others of His kids. Jesus said that if we’re in the process of worshiping God and remember a broken relationship, we’re must speedily reconcile with that brother or sister first and then return to worshiping God (Matthew 5:23-24). And Peter warns husbands that failure to treat our wives in an understanding way will hinder our prayers to God (1 Peter 3:7).

That we pray, “Our Father,” also calls to mind the wonder and power of praying in concert with other followers of Christ. When God’s kids come together as a family to pray to their heavenly Father, some very powerful things happen! (See Acts 4:23-31.)

©2011 Rob Fischer