Father Art

It is an old joke;  “Do you know God’s name?”  “It is Arthur!  Remember – ‘our father who is Art in heaven.’”  Matthew puts the Lord’s prayer in context of the Sermon on the Mount, Luke has the disciples asking Jesus to teach them to pray.

This is very important stuff for us, Jesus spent a lot of time in prayer, revealing the essential and core purpose of prayer.  All too often prayer is relegated to a mere religious practice or ritual. Jesus warned against repetitious and self-aggrandizing prayers.  Prayer is no magic incantation in which, if we get the words right, or repeat them often enough, God is obligated to answer.  Prayer is conversation in relationship.

There is a sense that, in a life of faith, everything is prayer.

Be cautious not to skip too quickly over the first line.

“Our Father”,  this reflects the reality of prayer directed toward the one who is relational, caring and responsible.  Granted the failures of our earthly fathers can skew our view of Father God. Know that the best earthly father figure is still but a mere or slight example of God as our Father, who is one we can trust and seek. One who claims us as His dear and beloved child.

“In Heaven”,  this brings some much-needed perspective, we can be overwhelmed by our circumstances and condition here on earth. We are reminded that there is something beyond this earth, a glorious heaven that awaits and is other than what is around us.

“Holy is your name”,  holiness is crucial, without holiness we cannot see the LORD, and the LORD who is holy, is solid and true, dependable and pure.  Finally think about that ‘name’, God is personal, He has a name –“I Am” or Yahweh.  Eugene Peterson reminds us that the devil likes to deal in secrets and anonymity, but God has a name and does not hide, He responds to all who seek Him.

Bless you as you let the first sentence of the LORD’s prayer echo in your heart today: Our Father, who is in heaven, holy is Your name.

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