Our FatherFebruary 2, 2023
Our Prayer – What’s in a Name?February 15, 2023
Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, 10 your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. 11 Give us today our daily bread. 12 And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. 13 And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one. —Matt. 6:9-13
Jesus begins The Lord’s Prayer, actually Our Prayer, with, “Our Father in the heavens ….” Please note, he did not say, “Our Father in heaven,” as most of your Bibles say. This is an unfortunate, weak translation, and here is why. What images come to mind when you hear, “Our Father in heaven?” Perhaps Bette Midler’s “From a Distance” comes to mind:
“God is watching us, God is watching us, God is watching us, From a distance.”
Yes, yea! Such a lovely melody. What a comforting thought. God is out there, way out there, and way up there watching us. But is he actively involved? It sounds more like a benevolent grandfather who is sitting on his bench watching the children play.
But this is not the message He gives us about himself. Let’s take a quick look at what he says:
Psalm 139:1,5,6You have searched me, Lord, and you know me. You hem me in behind and before, and you lay your hand upon me. 6 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too lofty for me to attain.
When I didn’t know God as my loving Heavenly Father, I would have bristled at this idea of being hemmed in. I would have declared, “I am my own man! I am independent! No one is going to hem me in!”
But of course, I was an idiot back then.
Our loving, personally involved Father also says this,
Isaiah 52:12 … for the Lord will go before you, the God of Israel will be your rear guard.
A rear guard is a military term for the soldiers placed behind the unit to protect their rear. Knowing one has a rear guard protecting their “6” gives a sense of security. And, knowing our Father has our “6” should give us the same security. Knowing we are hemmed in by God Almighty, El Shaddai!, alleviates all my worries – that is, if I will actually decide to live this way.
I coached my daughter Britton’s church league basketball teams for several years. What happens forty times a game in young girls’ basketball games? Jump balls! A close second is traveling, or walking with the ball. The reason the young girls do this is they get very nervous with the ball in their hands, and they freeze, and then panic.
So I set up a surefire security system for the girls. I taught them that each time they passed the ball to their teammate, to immediately go over and stand a few feet behind them. What did this do? If provided a guaranteed outlet for the girl with the ball. She never had to panic over what to do, because she had the security that her teammate was her rear guard.
If she started to worry or panic, she could easily hand the ball back to her teammate. With this security, she could focus on her role in our team play and, imagine this, actually enjoy the game.
We grown-ups are not so much different from them.
A God-Saturated World – A Father-Saturated World
When Jesus said, “Our Father in the heavens, he was saying, “Our Father, who is always and already all around us.” Do not miss that. Not out there somewhere, but here, now – with you, before you and even behind you. You live in a God-Saturated World. Yes, a Father-Saturated World. That is a fact.
Now let’s live like it.