Thursday, July 19, 2007

(A) [Our Father Who Art in Heaven]

(Our Father) [Our] indicates that this prayer is a community prayer. It is a common address by people who are aspiring to do the activity together. By starting with 'Our', we are making a statement of purpose in which requests to God is made not from an 'I' but from a 'we'. No reference to private prayers but a corporate prayer. Perhaps it is a result of Jesus answering the question of his disciples who said, Teach US to pray. Perhaps, Jesus wanted the disciples to be united when they come before God to pray. That should not surprise us. If our prayer is to be seen as an offering to God, it has to be an offering that is given with a right attitude. This attitude is the first ticket to God, a first call for God's ear to incline towards us, to be heard. A squabbling family versus a united family. Which will any parent want to hear most?

[Father] represents our common God who is our dear Creator, from whom we all have our being. If there is no father, there is no son. As we are sons and daughters of God, so we acknowledge a loving father who created our beings. Taken together, when we say 'our Father', we are doing so with reference to a relationship that exists before time. God is often introduced as the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, the God of Jacob, the God of David. All of them are fathers! God is the father of fathers.

(Who Art in Heaven) Not simply any of the pagan gods, or gods that mankind created after the Fall. This is THE God of all creation, the uncreated God. It is our Creator God. There is only one God and He is in heaven.

Being in heaven is a declaration that God is over all creation, over the seas and skies, over the heavenly realms, over all nations, that there is no powers higher than God. Ontologically (its very being)) and positionally high. Nothing comes close, for God did not win a battle to be where he is right now, past, present and future. God is already there in the first place. He did not earn it, nor did he inherit it. How can God earn or inherit what is his? This is our father who are in heaven.

Imagine addressing a God who is in control of everything in life. As we direct our attention, we are casting our focus on a Sovereign God. In a world where things seem to be running out on control, where matters are getting more confusing and hopeless, God is the anchor of our souls at all times. Why settle for the rest, when we have the best? Why should man worship other gods when there is only one God in heaven? Praying this verse, Our Father who are in heaven ought to immediately put us in awe that we are asking to be ushered into the presence of an awesome God, who is our loving Father, who yearns to give us good things. More importantly, we are asking for an audience with our heavenly king, from whom all blessings flow.

This is a statement exemplified by a united body, represented by brothers and sisters in Christ, holding hands together and looking in the same direction with a long obedience.
This is a statement of heartfelt willingness, to be united in our hearts in a common address to God.
This is a statement of mindful intent, that we are directing our focus to the one and true God in heaven.
This is a statement of faith, that we trust no other but God alone, that current struggles on earth are nothing when we come into the presence of God who overcomes all things, including our earthly concerns, thus our hearts should be at ease.
This is a statement of hope, that we look to God for our bright future.
This is a statement of love, that we are willing to confess our status as children of a loving Father who desires to give us all good things.

Πάτερ ἡμῶν ὁ ἐν τοῖς οὐρανοῖς

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