Archives – Our Father

(This post is a reprint from February 23, 2009. New posts will begin tomorrow.)

For some people, the beginning of this prayer has to be rough.

To start with, “our Father” brings horrible memories. And the thought, “if God is like that, then I’m not interested.”

As I thought about this beginning, however, I realized that Jesus knew.

Jesus knew that some men would be hopelessly cruel to their daughters. He knew that some families would shatter through the selfishness of one or the other or both. He knew that the image of father would be a challenge for many dads. (I think about it sometimes. I realize that the image our kids have of God as father is shaped by their image of Jon as father, and I am chagrined.)

And so Jesus, in his knowledge of what families were going to be like, good and ill,  starts this model of prayer by focusing on the closest, dearest, strongest, healthiest, most life-giving, most protection-offering person he knew. His Father in heaven.

Before any requests are made. Before any apologies are offered. Before any transactions are begun, relationship is established.

This is to be a familial relationship, a perfect paternal relationship. Everything you ever wished for a dad to be is being offered at the beginning of this prayer, this conversation.

And if we have questions about starting the conversation with relationship, Jesus uses a story to show what the relationship is like (Luke 15:19) with a son who left home and messed up and shamed the family and then comes back saying, “‘Father I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’ But the father…’”

“But the father.”

This is a father who knew exactly what the son had done and wouldn’t let him finish the speech.

So Jesus says to start with “our Father.”

2 thoughts on “Archives – Our Father

  1. Chris (The Bible Study Podcast)

    I had a friend who grew up in the inner-city in the Bronx. He did not grow up there because he was poor, but because his father was a pastor. His father was commuting into the Bronx at first trying to do ministry but he ran into the same issue you mention. He would talk about our Heavenly Father and get blank stares from the kids. So he moved his family into the neighborhood so that he could demonstrate what a loving father looked like.


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