FatherDaily Reflection / Produced by The High Calling
Jesus said, “This is how you should pray: Father, may your name be kept holy. May your Kingdom come soon.”
For those of us who have grown up praying the Lord’s Prayer, the “Our Father,” we find it familiar and comfortable to address God as Father. Thus, it’s hard for us to relate to the extraordinary invitation of Jesus as he teaches how to address God. We can simply turn our hearts to God and say, “Father.”
Why is this so amazing? Well, before Jesus, people didn’t speak to God in such a personal way. Though the Old Testament sometimes pictures God as a father to Israel (for example, Psalm 103:13), and though Jews could address God as “our Father in heaven,” the simplicity and intimacy of Jesus’ “Father” is unprecedented.
The fact that Jesus referred to God as “my Father” or, more simply, “Father,” was a potentially scandalous presumption. Yet, given his unique relationship with his heavenly Father, we might allow Jesus such audaciously familiar communication. But the fact that Jesus invites us to address God as Father boggles the mind, or at least it should.
The Aramaic word that Jesus used in this prayer was Abba (see Mark 14:36; Rom 8:15; Gal 4:6). Abba was a word used by children in the time of Jesus, something like “Papa” or “Daddy” in contemporary English. But Abba could also be used by adult children as a term of respect, much like “Father” for us. This word, therefore, encourages us to come before God as free, open-hearted children. Yet it does not surrender the respect we offer as we approach the King of kings and Lord of lords.
Jesus himself offered a penetrating, stirring picture of God as Father in the parable known as the Prodigal Son (Luke 15:11-32). There, a father runs to embrace his wayward son, even as he reaches out his obedient son as well. God as father extends himself in lavish love and forgiveness, always seeking reconciliation with us, his children.
QUESTIONS FOR FURTHER REFLECTION: Do you address God as “Father” when you pray? Why or why not? What does it mean to you to speak to God as your father?
PRAYER: Father! How amazing it is to speak to the God of the universe with such directness and intimacy.
Thank you for the invitation offered by your Son to speak to you as he did. Thank you for his sacrifice that makes it possible for me to know you as my Father in heaven.
Thank you for the mind-blowing, heart-filling privilege of being one of your children. How grateful I am to be loved and accepted by you. How much I need your encouragement and direction.
Teach me, dear Father, to live as your child each moment of each day, no matter where I am, no matter what I am doing. In the name of your Son I pray, Amen.
Devotional Reflections in Preparation for Easter
As we approach Easter, I am publishing on my blog a series of devotional reflections based on a biblical version of the Stations of the Cross. Each day until Easter, I am focusing on a passage in Gospels that reveals something about the Passion of Jesus. My devotions also feature original artwork by my wife, whose watercolor paintings help bring the scriptural story to life. You can find these devotions at my new blog location: http://www.patheos.com/community/markdroberts/. Patheos is an outstanding website that fosters a serious, open, mutually-respectful conversation about all things religious. I encourage you to check out this fine site.