OUR FATHER IN HEAVEN

“And he said unto them, When ye pray, say, Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, as in heaven, so in earth” (Luke 11:2)

When men (or women) lead in prayer in such a way as to make the Heavenly Father their peer, are they showing reverence? When they say things like, “Hello, Daddy,” are they even addressing Him the way they would want their own children to address them? Respect for deity and for authority is the real issue, and we need to seriously consider this if we want our prayers to be heard. We must remember that He is our creator and the creator of the world (Rom 1:18-21)

Would we dare to address the President of the US in such a casual way? Would we even address a local judge or mayor without due respect for his position? Surely God deserves more respect than those worldly men. There seems to be little or no respect for God when someone addresses our Heavenly Father as if He were just an ordinary man. Some modern church members may always be at church and always wanting to do something, but their attitudes in prayer may make our blood run cold. Such a person might proceed to carry on a “conversation” with God as if He were an ordinary friend. At times like this I have wondered if lightening might come down and strike us all. I can’t help remembering why Moses was not allowed to go into the Promised Land after all the years of serving God and His chosen people.

Moses and Aaron had gathered the congregation of the people together and Moses declared, “Hear now, ye rebels; must we fetch you water out of this rock?” Num 20:10

“And the LORD spake unto Moses and Aaron, Because ye believed me not, to sanctify me in the eyes of the children of Israel, therefore ye shall not bring this congregation into the land which I have given them” (Num 20:12).

What Moses did to dishonor God was far less than what some men do today. When they pray in a casual manner as described above, are they sanctifying God in the eyes of the people? Are they sanctifying Him in their own hearts?

“And he said unto them, When ye pray, say, Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, as in heaven, so in earth” (Luke 11:2)

We are learning how to pray from the teaching Jesus gave to his apostles and disciples while he was here on earth. This very plain statement from Jesus gives us the direction our prayers should take. Our prayers are to be directed to our Father in Heaven and not to anyone else-not to Mary, not to any of the “saints” not to the Holy Spirit, but to God the Father.

In John 16:17-26, where Jesus is speaking of his impending death and resurrection, the apostles are puzzled about losing Him. They have been His friends and followers and have depended greatly on being able to ask directly for what they needed. Now He says things will be different and they seem not to understand.

It is easy to see in verse 17 and 18 that they are confused and questioning what is meant by His parable. Jesus tells them they shall weep and lament at what is about to happen, but that the world will rejoice. The apostles will be sorrowful, but their sorrow shall be turned to joy. This is a clear reference to his resurrection. Indeed it was a time for joy when everyone understood the true meaning of the event. Later we read in Romans 1:4 that Christ was proved to be the son of God by the resurrection from the dead. That was true joy for everyone looking for the Savior.

Again in John 16 22, Jesus tells them that in that day no man can take their joy from them, but he adds one clear command to the apostles that we also must respect. In the following verse He says, “…And in that day ye shall ask me nothing. Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in my name, he will give it you” (John 16:23).

Jesus goes on to say that up until that time they did not have to ask “in His name” but could ask him directly. But after His resurrection things will change. “At that day ye shall ask in my name: and I say not unto you, that I will pray the Father for you:” (John 16:26).

Going back to verse 22 we see that Jesus is speaking of the resurrection and the time He would ascend into Heaven with His new spiritual body. That truly would be a joy beyond compare, but at the same time the apostles would not ask Him directly for anything as they had done before. They would ask the Father in His name.

Today that is precisely why we pray to God in Jesus’ name. This was Jesus direction for our prayers.