“This, then, is how you should pray: ‘Our Father…’” Matthew 6:9
The first two words of the Lord’s Prayer seem to be very simple and straightforward:
However, when we robotically repeat these words during a Sunday worship service, it’s easy to miss the depth of meaning intended by Jesus. The truth is that the words Our Father form the foundation for a healthy, vibrant prayer life.
Let’s consider the words that Jesus didn’t choose to begin this prayer.
He could have chosen “Creator” or “Lord” or “King,” to name a few. Any one of these words would have been theologically and scripturally accurate. But Jesus didn’t choose them. He intentionally chose to use the words Our Father.
Why does that matter? Because He was framing the Lord’s Prayer in the context of a conversation between Father and child, not a King and a servant. He is telling His followers that they should seek God, not as bonded slaves, rather as His beloved children.
But it doesn’t stop there. Jesus also used the word Our. If He had chosen My Father, He would have only highlighted the uniqueness of His own relationship with God. (You see, the truth is that Jesus was fully and singularly the beloved Son of God. There never was and there never will be another human being who was related to the Father in this way.)
But He didn’t say that. He said, Our Father.
Now, it’s important to understand something here:
God cannot be our Father unless we are rightly related to Him through Jesus.
This happens when we realize that we all need a Savior; when we ask to be forgiven for our sins and through faith, invite Jesus – who IS the Savior – to become the Lord of our lives.
And therein lies the heartbeat of this beautiful phrase, Our Father.
Because access to OUR Father comes only through His Son. OUR acceptance before the Father is only because of His Son. And the only door to that acceptance is through the cross, where Jesus gave His life so that we might become children of God.
It is at the cross where His Father becomes Our Father.
When we receive the gift of salvation through faith in Jesus, it changes the language of our hearts. Then we are free to cry out, Our Father who art in heaven…knowing that our prayers are heard and will be answered.
And that, my friend, is more amazing than our words can ever express!
Written by Kevin Wood, Guest Contributor