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Oct
08

The Lord’s Prayer: Our Father

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If prayer is something we are to do without ceasing (1 Thessalonians 5:17), then we need to make sure we are doing it properly. Jesus taught his disciples to pray, but its important to notice what he did not teach them. For example, he did not teach them the posture of prayer. Nothing is said as to whether we are to stand, sit or kneel. Neither did he teach them where to pray. He did not specify the living room, the church Sanctuary, the bedroom or the office. He simply said it should be done privately. He did not teach them when they should pray, which is a relief to some. You can pray in the morning, the afternoon or night. There is no right or wrong time to pray. Finally, he did not teach what we should wear or how to act when we pray. So most of the formalities of prayer are insignificant to Christ.

Prayer begins by calling God “father.” Father is probably one of the more common names we use when addressing God in prayer. Jesus’ example teaches that we should begin our prayer with the recognition that God is Father. In fact, when Jesus prayed he called God “Father” over seventy times. The only exception was his cry on the cross during the final moments of his crucifixion (Matthew 27:46).

There are two words for Father that are helpful to understand. The Greek word for Father is pater, where we get the word paternity. It is a word signifying one who nourishes, protects and upholds. Often it was used of the nearest ancestor, and was commonly used to describe the progenitor of the people.

The other word is abba, which is an Aramaic word denoting an unreasoning trust. In American English we would use the word “daddy.” It speaks of the love and confidence that a child would place in his dad.

When Jesus used the term Father, he was teaching the disciples that our relationship with God is an intimate familial relationship. When we pray, “our Father,” we are indicating an eagerness to come to God as a child that is beloved. All of the resources in the Father’s possession are ours to draw upon.

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