Our Father – Hope 103.2

Our Father

By David ReayThursday 3 Mar 2016LifeWords DevotionalsFaithReading Time: 0 minutes


Read Matthew 6:7-13

7-13 And when you pray don’t rattle off long prayers like the pagans who think they will be heard because they use so many words. Don’t be like them. After all, God, who is your Father, knows your needs before you ask him. Pray then like this—‘Our Heavenly Father, may your name be honoured; May your kingdom come, and your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day the bread we need, Forgive us what we owe to you, as we have also forgiven those who owe anything to us. Keep us clear of temptation, and save us from evil’.” (JBP)

I reckon to have said the Lord’s Prayer a few thousand times in my life. Such familiarity can easily breed contempt. It is easy to rattle off the words without thinking. We are reminded by the context of the prayer that Jesus is warning us against such mindless gabbling. The Lord’s Prayer is a model of conciseness. It is not as if the exact words need to be used each time we pray. It is more a model, a rough outline of what a well-balanced and thoughtful prayer might look like.

And it begins with a reminder that we are praying to a Father, not some distant deity or some abstract supreme being. It has been said that if we truly grasp this opening phrase of the prayer, then all else fits into place. Knowing God as our Father means we believe he loves us and hears our prayers.

And yet this Father is in heaven. He is not some glorified reflection of an earthly father. He is not merely our close pal, someone who indulges our every wish. Because he is our Father, he is willing to help us. Because he is in heaven, he is able to help us.

It is true that if our conception of God is wrong, then everything else will be wrong as a result. So we begin all our own prayers with a right understanding of who God is. We correct our own imaginings and projections. We call him Father, which is the Christian name for God.

David Reay