Read His Words Before Ours!
“Our Father who art in Heaven”
Perhaps you’ve said this prayer your whole life and you’re already skipping ahead of me, saying the next lines in your head. After all, this is “just the introduction”.
Or maybe don’t know the Lord’s Prayer and have only heard it a handful of times by “super-religious-people”.
Or maybe, this prayer carries no meaning for you whatsoever.
Regardless of what these words signal to you, it’s my prayer that in the next few minutes, you’ll have an encounter with the very One who invited you,
to pray these words directly to Him.
Not as means of an introduction, but as the indication of something
incomprehensibly sweet, and un-searchably deep: a relationship with Him.
Him, the God of the Universe.
Him, the One who longs for us to call Him “Father.”
These words are indeed a beginning; a beginning of rich depth.
So, let’s stop now, before we even start, and ask this Father to make Himself known to us,
to meet us wherever we are, to show us Himself.
Father, God, will You, oh Holy One, do exactly that?
Here, in the space of these next brief moments, meet us, God. In the hurry, in the ache, in the loss, in the lonely, in the whatever-we-are-feeling….show us that You are indeed “our Father.”
Here starts the very beginning of the sample prayer given in Matthew 6 by the Lord Jesus Christ as He responds to a request from His disciples.
“Lord, teach us to pray.” (Luke 11:1)
Carefully constructed, yet deeply personal, these 52 words (depending on your translation) are among the most well known in all of Scripture.
A few simple words, nothing grandiose or poetically riveting,
yet they speak powerfully of God’s character, His nature, and our place in His gospel story.
For it is only in light of the very nature of God,
that we discover our own identity and purpose.
What a bold word for the God of the Universe to invite humanity to use as He leads us to talk with Him!
Our. It means shared.
Our. It denotes privileged access.
Our. It implies reciprocal relationship.
First between Himself and us as He extends His hand, choosing to love us even as we were enemies of Him, hating His ways and walking in our own, clinging stubbornly, arrogantly, to our ways.
“But God proves his own love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8)
In fact, we, in our sinful states, are so blinded to how wonderfully abundant and free it is to live for Jesus, that we cling, ridiculously and dangerously, to our sin, insisting we know better than the Father. Better than Our Father, who reaches out in love to save us from ourselves.
“We love because He first loved us.” (1 John 4:19)
Accessibility that we have never once deserved, no matter how many times we’ve gone to church, how many tax refunds we’ve racked up in donations, how many handfuls of bills we’ve passed to the homeless man on the corner, or how many times we’ve said yes to sacrificing something we didn’t really want to.
None of that matters and none of it gets us access to the Holy One.
Because all of it is filthy rags. Every last scrap of it.
The Bible says we are just too broken to be good in the eyes of a righteous God.
A God we have no business having access to.
“ALL our righteous acts are like a polluted garment;
all of us wither like a leaf,
and our iniquities carry us away like the wind.” (Isaiah 64:6)
We are literally swept away like dry grass because of our sin.
BUT, Our Father graciously grants, out of His majestic love, total access.
Access to His riches by being co-heirs with Christ Himself. (Romans 8:17)
Access to an inheritance that will never fade. (1 Peter 1:4)
Access to His throne-room. (Hebrews 4:16)
Access to call Him “Our Father”.
“But to all who did receive Him, He gave them the right to be children of God, to those who believe in His name.” (John 1:12)
A relationship with zero chance of failure.
Regardless of the state of our earthly fathers, whether physically or emotionally absent, or wonderfully invested, we can fully rely on the consistency and adoration of our Heavenly Father.
Our God has no shortcomings.
He will forever protect. (Psalm 18:2)
Always guard. (1 Peter 1:5)
Never abandon. (Psalm 138:8)
Never shame. (Romans 8:1)
He is our perfect Father.
If we make Him ours by relying on His sacrificial death on our behalf,
as He took the punishment for our sin,
we are given the right to become His children; the right to call Him ours.
Here, in this precious relationship,
we find intimacy, depth, and sweetness in being fully known and fully loved.
How great is it that Yahweh Himself is ours?
“Who art in heaven” clearly reminds us, separation exists between us and God.
He is perfect and we are imperfect.
He is holy and we are not.
But Jesus Christ fills that gap by offering Himself in our place.
Taking on our sin and its consequences,
and giving us His Own Righteousness in exchange for our shame.
He becomes OURS!
One bold word.
One grand invitation.
Our Father, who art in Heaven.
It’s not just the introduction of an old prayer we recite to be spiritual, it’s an invitation from the King of Kings to be in intimate relationship with Him where we have access to a shared relationship between Him and us as our Father.
Won’t you come in, know Him, and pray?
*This Journey was written by Parker Overby and Rebecca Adams
Embracing God’s fullness in our lives is rooted in scripture and memorizing His word is vital to our continued growth and depth with Jesus. Tap and hold from your mobile device to download this week’s verse and make it your phone’s lockscreen!