I wonder what it would have been like to hear Jesus pray. His eternal harmonious relationship was different. He had taken on flesh. He knew the temptations, frustrations and disappointments that come along in this world. He was simultaneously deity and humanity with facts in His head that we do not possess. His prayers had captured the attention of the disciples (Luke 11:1-13). They had watched and heard Him, had shared heartaches and headaches with the One sent to save the world and they wanted to learn.
His first words reverberate with relationship, “Our Father…” Some versions simply say, “Father.” Imagine that! He was instructing His followers in the art of prayer, and He begins with that relational word: Father. How rich. How intimate. How amazing to be able to come into the presence of the almighty Creator and address Him as our Father.
The concept has been so watered down that it has all but lost its meaning. What should we have in mind that originally started in His? Is He like our dad? If so, how? While human fathers will always fall short of the ideal, they often shape our thoughts about our heavenly one. He is different. He has no flaws and presents the perfect execution of the concept.
He knows exactly what we need before we ever utter a word (Matthew 6:4). We do not have to explain. That not only alleviates our worries about physical necessities but also sheds new light on our approach to Bible study. How often do we approach it with the understanding that our Father knows what we need, and the Scriptures provide it? Both facts and directions, what we need to know and what we need to do are in there.
Even though He has such intimate awareness of us, He still wants us to talk to Him. He knows but doesn’t command us to be speechless before Him. His word consistently directs us to His throne of grace and mercy in our time of need (Hebrews 4:16). He is our Father and waits to hear from us in good times and bad, in joy and in sorrow (James 5:13).
God lovingly disciples His children. It is never a pleasant process, but He is shaping our character and bringing it into conformity with His (Hebrews 12:4-11). That can be painful at times but essential. He is holy. It is the family trait that He is working into us. We will slowly begin to look like our Father. It is an exciting prospect in which He is involved. We yield. He does His work. Righteousness is the outcome.
The first words that Jesus taught about prayer direct attention to the relationship that we have with the God of the universe. What a notion! Happy Father’s Day to all you dads, and never forget the One is out of sight but never out of reach.