Focus on Our Father

I’ve been going through a series on  discipleship, but before I give you the last building block for successful discipleship among women, I wanted to share a tasty tidbit I found with you. I have been researching how Jesus discipled. One of the ways he built his relationship with his disciples was to teach them how to pray.

~Luke 11:1~ And it came to pass, that, as he was praying in a certain place, when he ceased, one of his disciples said unto him, Lord, teach us to pray, as John also taught his disciples.

Jesus’ answer is often dubbed “The Lord’s Prayer”.  Spoken by congregations around the world every Sunday, it’s become so familiar to most of us that we know it by heart.

~Luke 11:2-4~ And he said unto them, When ye pray, say, Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed by thy name.  Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, as in heaven, so in earth.  Give us day by day our daily bread. And forgive us our sins; for we also forgive every one that is indebted to us.  And lead us not into temptation; but deliver us from evil.

I’m not going to dig into the rest of the prayer, for this post I just want us to focus on “Our Father”. This is how Jesus instructed his disciples to begin their prayer. For believers today this doesn’t seem like that big of a deal, but for Jews in those times, this.was.HUGE.

While God was known as a father to his people Israel in the Old Testament, and there are a few verses that speak to his fatherhood, according to some scholars, Jesus was the very first Jew on record to address God as Father.  In fact, it was his favorite title to speak of God, saying almost 200 times in the gospels!

Calling God his Father showed the intimate knowledge and relationship he had. He was declaring himself to be the Son of God.  When Jesus instructs his disciples to pray to “Our Father”, he’s making God accessible, and revealing to them their role as children of God. He’s identifying with them as brothers and sisters and drawing them near into the throne room of the majesty on high.

~Galatians 4:4-6~ But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, to redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons.  And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father.  Wherefore thou art no more a servant, but a son; and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ.

When we believe the gospel we are adopted out of the devil’s family into the family of God.  He translates us from the kingdom of darkness into the kingdom of light.  We become joint-heirs with Christ and enjoy all of the privileges and provision our new position as sons and daughters of God endows.

One of those privileges is a personal and intimate relationship with the God of all creation.  He is now our Father and we are his beloved child.  He loves to hear our prayers, petitions, and praises!

All of this was incomprehensible for the Jews of the time.  Their culture and traditions made God inaccessible. He was addressed as the Almighty, Jehovah, LORD, and more, but Father was not on their tongues. Hearing Jesus speak of God this way enraged them. They viewed it as disrespectful and blasphemy. In fact, it’s one of the reasons they wanted to kill him.

~John 5:18~ Therefore the Jews sought the more to kill him, because he not only had broken the sabbath, but said also that God was his Father, making himself equal with God.

One of the many things I love about Jesus is his boldness to speak truth.  He wasn’t politically correct, and he didn’t try to please the people to keep the peace.  He faithfully delivered the messages his Father gave him to share no matter the cost.

~John 8:28~ Then said Jesus unto them, When ye have lifted up the Son of man, then shall ye know that I am he, and that I do nothing of myself; but as my Father hath taught me, I speak these things.

The next time you recite the Lord’s prayer, take time to consider the wondrous fact that you are in a conversation with the Almighty.  His ear is attentive to your words.  He delights in you.  You are his child and he is your Father.

You may have been abandoned, ignored, or abused by your earthly father.  But you are chosen, accepted, adored, and adopted by your Heavenly Father through faith in his Son Jesus.  He loves you with an unconditional, inconceivable, eternal love.  Revel in that truth!

~John 1:12~ But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name.

As we pattern our discipleship after Jesus, let’s be mindful to teach our disciples about the phenomenal perks we enjoy as daughters of the One True King. One of those being that we are able to approach the throne of grace boldly and relentlessly.  Our Father in heaven is always available!