Luke 11:2-Our Father in heaven, hallowed be Your name. Your kingdom come.
Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. NKJV
The place of prayer begins with knowing who that Someone is listening to us and the identity of that Someone. Jesus starts His lesson on prayer by telling the disciples that the direction of their prayer is to the Father. Our Father.
Many new believers ask me if they pray to God, Jesus, or the Holy Spirit. I typically respond by telling them that we pray to God in the name of Jesus and that the Holy Spirit helps us when we pray. Here, Jesus’ first instruction is that we pray, not to God, but to our Father.
Isaiah acknowledged that even though Abraham didn’t know the people of Israel who were his contemporaries, God was their Father.
Doubtless You are our Father, though Abraham was ignorant of us, and Israel does not acknowledge us. You, O Lord, are our FatherIsaiah 63:16 NKJV
That’s the posture of prayer we are to have before the Father, that we understand without a doubt that He is indeed, our Father. Again, Isaiah prayed,
But now, O Lord, You are our Father; we are the clay, and You, our potter; and all we are the work of Your hand.Isaiah 64:8 NKJV
Why would Jesus tell us this is the starting place? I can’t be certain, but I understand there can be a special bond between a father and his children. Paul sheds light on the relationship we have with the Father.
And because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying out, “Abba, Father!” Therefore you are no longer a slave but a son, and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ.Galatians 4:6-7 NKJV
That is why I believe Jesus said to start by saying, “Our Father.” But look at the Greek word abba. It also means father. Commentators suggest that after Jesus said Abba, Father, in the Garden of Gethsemane, it became a sacred way to address the Father. I have heard preachers say that it simply means Daddy or Papa.
I was watching Magnum, P. I. many, many years ago. I remember an episode when he met his supposed daughter for the first time. She called out to him, “Abba!” I was caught off guard because I had only heard it in the biblical text. But I remembered it meant “Daddy”!
Our relationship is no longer one of a distant God we need to be afraid of but of a loving Father with who we can approach and share our deepest concerns.
Another point about our Father that Jesus makes is that He is in heaven. Some misunderstand His reference to the Father in heaven. Some take this to mean that God is far off and not near. I believe Jesus was helping us to see that the Father’s place in heaven gives Him a birdseye view of the earth. And with such a view comes the reality that He’s bigger than it all. Nothing is greater than Him, and no one can compare to Him. He is God of the heavens.
Not only that, but He made both the heavens and the earth. It’s all subject to Him. He’s not intimidated by our problems and concerns and therefore, can handle whatever we bring to Him. He’s God of the heavens.
“There is no one like the God of Jeshurun, Who rides the heavens to help you, and in His excellency on the clouds.Deuteronomy 33:26 NKJV
Isn’t that beautiful? He rides the heavens to help us! Wow!! Doesn’t that sound like a loving Father? He will do whatever needs doing to help us! I love that analogy!
Here’s another great picture of our Father in heaven:
Why do the nations age, and the people plot a vain thing? The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the Lord and against His Anointed, saying, “Let us break Their bonds in pieces and cast away Their cords from us.” He who sits in the heavens shall laughPsalm 2:1-4 NKJV
Our Father finds it a laughable offense when man thinks he is smarter that God and can out maneuver Him. Nothings brings fear to the heart of God, because He isn’t afraid of anything!
By the word of the Lord the heavens were made, and all the host of them by the breath of His mouth. He gathers the waters of the sea together as a heap; He lays up the deep in storehouses. Let all the earth fear the Lord;Psalm 33:6-9 NKJV
let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of Him. For He spoke, and it was done; He commanded, and it stood fast.
This is our Father! And when we pray, “Our Father, who are in Heaven”, we should not rush through this thought. We should not pass by it without awe. Our Father has unlimited resources and unlimited power. There is nothing to hard for Him. Jesus said so in Mark 14:36,
“Abba, Father, all things are possible for You.Mark 14:36 NKJV
I don’t know about you, but this has truly blessed and encouraged me. Did I know all this beforehand? I did, and so did you! But was I encouraged by the reminder? Yes!
We serve a holy God! And His Name is holy! David understood that His name was holy:
“O Lord our God, all this abundance that we have prepared to build You a house for Your holy name is from Your hand, and is all Your own.1 Chronicles 29:16 NKJV
And again David said:
Bless the Lord, O my soul;Psalm 103:1 NKJV
And all that is within me, bless His holy name!
And yet again, the psalmist declared:
He has sent redemption to His people;Psalm 111:9
He has commanded His covenant forever:
Holy and awesome is His name.
As I have praying through this prayer that Jesus taught to His disciples, I’ve been really excited to talk to Him. Remembering that He is my Father puts me in a mindframe that I know it’s alright to talk with Him. Speaking of Him residing in heaven, reminds me of how great He is. And when I get to the part of His holiness, it reminds me to worship Him.
I’m not sure if I mentioned this already, but I am working on my doctorate. This summer I decided to take three classes to make sure that I could start my dissertation next year. I won’t be doing that again, thank the Lord! There have been some tough moments when my mind just wanted to think about nothing important, hence the fewer posts.
To keep everything in focus, I have to make sure I don’t become so busy working on my doctorate that I don’t have time for God. Prayer keeps me focused and balances me. Without His help, I couldn’t work and go to school full-time, and have a balance in my life. And neither can you! Keep praying! He rides the heavens to help us! Wonderful Jesus!