The one to whom we pray
“For He has looked [with loving care] on the humble state of His maidservant;
For behold, from now on all generations will count me blessed and happy and favored by God!”
Luke 1:48 AMP
On Monday we looked at the fact that Jesus didn’t want our prayers to be something rote, or something done to be seen, or an effort to barter for God’s favour. No, he wanted our prayers to be different because he wanted our relationship with God to be different. Today I want us to start looking at the “Our Father” itself and what it tells us about this relationship Jesus wanted to build between us and the trinity. We’ll break it down into a few sections and look at over the course of the week, starting with Matthew 6:9:
Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name.
Let’s start with our Father. Nowadays we’re so used to thinking of God as our Father that we forget this idea wasn’t always as common as it is now. Jehovah was frequently seen as the Father of the nation Israel, but the grace of being able to call on God as our personal father is rooted in Jesus’s Sonship. Jesus calls on God as “Abba”, an Aramaic word that is akin to “Daddy”. It is a term of endearment and affectionate dependence, and it’s this word Jesus chooses to use in this proto-prayer. So we can assume that he wants our relationship with God to be personal, intimate, loving, and trusting.
Next we need to consider in heaven. We tend to think of “heaven” as something far above us, or even purely as a realm beyond this world. But that wasn’t the Jewish understanding of the word. The people to whom Jesus was speaking would have understood two things when Jesus said “Our Father in heaven”. In the first place, it would have recalled the Jewish Scriptures, for example Deuteronomy 4:39: “Know therefore today, and take it to your heart, that the LORD, He is God in heaven above and on the earth below; there is no other.” In the second place, in Jewish cosmology “heaven” wasn’t something far removed; it was the very air one breathed. So in saying “Our Father in heaven”, Jesus was telling us about the presence and power of God, and the history he had of looking after, and being with, his people. This is still true today.
Finally, hallowed be your name. What is God’s name? Well, back in Exodus Moses asked this exact same question, and God answered him, “I AM WHO I AM” (Exodus 3:14 NIV). This conveys several ideas: that God is permanent, immovable, unchanging. That his identity is found only in himself and isn’t dependent on anything or anyone else. That, ultimately, he is beyond our understanding. It is this last which is perhaps most extraordinary, which makes the fact that he reveals his heart in the person of Christ all the more stupefying: he is trying to explain to us, in terms we can understand, the wholeness of his being. That is what Jesus wants us to hold sacred here, to set aside: this revelation that this immense God, creator of the universe, loves us enough that he stoops down, as it were, to enter into our lives, to bend his ears to our lips. Jesus wants us to honour as holy the fact that we get to call on God as our Abba, because it is no small thing.
Father, I thank You for loving me with a love that will never run out or dry up. May Your loving-kindness seep into every area of my being…spirit, soul and body. I want to experience Your love in a deeper way than I have ever experienced before. I pray that my heart may be rooted and established in Your love, and that I might have power to grasp how wide and how long and how high and how deep is your love for me expressed in the person of Your Son, Jesus Christ. In the name of Your beloved Son, Jesus I pray, AMEN. (Source.)