A few weeks ago- we began a series on The Lord’s Prayer called, “Pray Like Jesus.” In the first week, we looked at the phrase “Our Father in Heaven” as a starting point- and subsequently will look at the other phrases in the prayer. The phrase sets up a nice contrast between the familiar and the Holy. The prayer that Jesus taught is predicated on an intimate relationship with God. Intimate enough to call God “Father.” In calling God Father, we are reminded that God is like a heavenly parent to us. Like a father, it is God we call out to for protection, guidance, assurance, for our example for living, and so on. It’s an image of a close, intimate feel of family when we call God “Father.”
So we have an intimate connection with God- but we hold that in tension with God who “is in heaven.” The God who is in heaven is a Holy God. The God who is in heaven is unlike our earthly fathers, regardless of how great or terrible they are. While the prayer has it’s foundation on a personal relationship with God- it is balanced with a reverent and awe-filled view of God’s holiness. This view of God brings us to our knees because our sinfulness cannot stand in the presence of the Holiness of God. Like Isaiah (Isa 6), when we come into the presence of the Holy God, we are undone and recognize our sinfulness, our brokenness, and the need for grace.
The Lord’s Prayer as a model reminds us of the priority of our prayers- we are to praise God for who God is first and foremost. Yes, we may pray out of crisis, need, or want- but we must not forget WHO we pray to. The Lord’s prayer reminds us that we can go to God in our times of need like we would go to our earthly father- and that our “Heavenly Father” is much bigger than the circumstances in our lives.