This, then, is how you should pray:
“Our Father in heaven”
Matthew 6 : 9a
This week we will be looking at the Lord’s prayer, the original text of which is found in Matthew Chapter 6. It may be the most famous prayer in the world. We say it in every Church service and I’m guessing most of you know it off by heart. Knowing it by memory is a good thing, it’s useful to have such a powerful prayer always at hand, but as we say it so much it can be easy to take it for granted. So for the next 7 days we’ll be going through the prayer line by line to unpack what it has to say to us.
Jesus opens his prayer with he words “Our Father in Heaven”. Throughout the Bible the divine is called many names: God, the Lord, ‘I am’, but here Jesus addresses his prayer to his Father. To call someone Father or Mother is not to simple give them a name, but to describe a relationship. Jesus is saying that God is our parent. A parent is one who brings their children to life, who sustains them and nourishes them. And if God is a parent, we therefore are children. A child is one who depends on their parent, who learns from them and grows under their care. Above all a parent-child relationship is one of love. One of the most beautiful images in scripture comes from Hosea 11 where it described God as a parent holding their toddlers hands, helping them to take their first steps
Unfortunately for many of us this can be hard to understand because the human parenting we experienced was far from this image of a loving relationship. But that is why this is our father In Heaven. Even the best human parents can only point towards the depth of love and care that comes from God. God embodies the best of human love and so much more. And it’s this God, our loving heavenly parent, that we approach in prayer
Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
And forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from the evil one.’
Action: Take a moment to reflect on a moment of parental love from your life. It could be a time you received love from your own parent or parental caregiver, or a time when you loved another as a parent.