Other than Psalm 23, the Lord’s prayer is probably the most familiar passage of Scripture. In the gospel of Matthew, this prayer is set in the middle of Jesus’s admonition to avoid performing religious deeds—including prayers—before people to be noticed and applauded by them.
Instead, our prayers are to be for Father God and his glory. When we are enchanted by him alone, we steal away to our prayer closet—that quiet, secluded place where we can commune with our God, love him and be loved by him. There, we are uninterrupted by the noisy nothingness of the world and the observation of man.
“Our Father who is in heaven.” Jesus used the intimate term of Father to remind us that we are created in his image just as a child carries the DNA of his parents. As the child grows, he develops mannerisms and speech patterns similar to his parents as well as likes and dislikes, interests and often viewpoints. In the same way, we are to grow to be like God as we live in relationship with him.
But Adam and Eve’s disobedience in the Garden of Eden shattered this father-child relationship. Sin, death and suffering entered into the human experience.
Jesus substitutionary death and resurrection restored what sin destroyed. The Father image of God Jesus used in his prayer model, took on paradigm-changing new meaning for anyone accepting Jesus’s sacrifice.
That acceptance means we become the righteousness of God (2 Cor. 5:21) trading our status as sinners for a status as blameless sons and daughters. We are made co-heirs with Jesus (Rom. 8:17) and seated in heavenly places with him (Eph. 2:6). Day to day we are changed into the likeness of Christ so that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters (Rom. 8:29). Because of all this, we are like Jesus in this world (1 John 4:17).
We can be assured our Father is not just in heaven but in our hearts and within us through his unity with Christ (John 17:21) We will live forever with him (John 3:16, John 14:3).
Next: The sacredness of God’s name.