Monday - June 14th
Scripture to Read Today: Matthew 6:9-13
Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name.
Most Christians in the U.S. over fifty years of age grew up with two common elements to worship services throughout their childhood. Denomination, location, and size of the church did not matter. If you were in a Sunday church service forty to fifty years ago, your church more than likely included the reciting of the Lord's Prayer and the singing of the Doxology. While many churches left both to an occasional reference, some still use both to enhance worship.
We touched on the history of the song the Doxology in yesterday's devotional. Today, as our hearts and minds begin to think of Father's Day this coming weekend, we look at the first few words of what is traditionally called "The Lord's Prayer."
When the disciples said to Jesus, "Lord, teach us to pray" (Luke 11:1), Jesus responded with a pattern of prayer for His followers. Both Matthew chapter six and Luke chapter eleven record this example of prayer Jesus gave us. In both Gospels, the prayer starts with a simple "Our Father."
Three things pop out to the reader as they read these initial words to this well-known prayer. First, God is addressed personally, "our." We know Him. He knows us. He is ours, and we are His. Second, the One we call out to has authority over us. He is our "Father." We are His children. We are in His family as followers of Jesus Christ. Third, "Our Father" implies intimacy and care.
The One we cry out to cares about us as our spiritual Father. He is the perfect Father. I would do anything for my kids. As their father, their needs (and sometimes their wants) have high priority in my life. Our three kids live in New York City, Chicago, and Seattle. To get to any of them in an emergency, Lesli and I would have to get on a plane and travel several hours. But, I would not hesitate to do so as their Dad. Jonathan, Katie, and Megan know that. To know that the God of all creation is my Father and to address Him as such as I pray brings great relief, trust, and strength to my life today.
He is not just anyone's Father. He is my Father (our Father). There are other fathers that my kids know. But, they won't just walk up to a stranger on the street who happens to be someone's Dad and make requests of them. I am their father. So it is with our God. He is "our Father." He cares. He is ready to do what is best to grow, comfort, and support us. As we pray, we pray to "OUR Father."
God knows us. He knows us better than anyone else. Our Heavenly Father actually knows us better than we know ourselves. We share an intimacy with Him that we share with no other. Nothing in our lives is hidden from Him. He knows both the hopes and the hurts of our hearts. No other in all of the universe relates to us with the same level of intimacy and familiarity as He does.
Today, as you pray, start with "Our Father" and then pause. Let that sink in. You are talking to your Heavenly Father!