What an amazing statement. I don't think we realize how radical it was for those in Jesus' time to hear him tell people to address God in this way.
Yesterday I started a little blog series on the Lord's prayer hoping to explore the heart and meaning of it, and today we're looking at its first two words: Our Father...
R.C. Sproul says that in the old covenant community, "He was not to be addressed with any degree of intimacy. The term Father was almost never used to speak of God or to address Him in prayer in the Old Testament... Jesus gave us the incomparable privilege of calling God 'Father'."
I used to get weirded out whenever I'd hear someone address God as "Daddy". I don't know if you've ever heard someone pray like that before, but it's a little strange at first.
In our western world we're very used to praying to "God" or "Lord" or "Jesus" and yes "Father". Rightly so! But how often are we thinking of an intimate, familial connection with God?
Daddy? Come on. Who prays like that?
But this is exactly what Jesus was saying prayer should look like.
I'm reminded of Romans 8 where Paul gives us a great picture of what assurance is.
So then, brothers, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh. For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!” The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him.
(Romans 8:12-17 ESV my emphasis added)
Genuine prayer is an intimate connection with God our perfect Father. The "dual witness" of the Holy Spirit is a self attesting proof that God has made us brothers and sisters with the eternal Son Jesus. Prayer must start here.
Just think of the amazing implications of this!
- You're in, accepted
- Prayer doesn't earn you anything. You already have it!
- Good fathers bless their kids
- God is the perfect Father
- Good fathers only give their kids what is BEST
- God is the perfect Father (to repeat myself)
You could probably make a list too of what this means for you.
Give it a shot...