Address GOD as our ‘FATHER-in-HEAVEN’ in all our PRAYERS: Now it came to pass, as He was praying in a certain place, when He ceased, that one of His disciples said to Him, “Lord, teach us to pray, as John also taught his disciples.” So He said to them, “When you pray, say: Our Father in heaven, hallowed be Your name. Your kingdom come...” (Luke 11:1-2)
The above passage fits in with Luke’s purpose in presenting Christ as the Son of Man who is ever dependent upon God His Father. Being in close proximity with Jesus, the disciples sensed that prayer was a real and vital force in the life of Jesus. As they saw and heard Him pray often, it gave them a desire to pray as well. It was then that an unnamed disciple after seeing Jesus pray asked that He would teach them to pray as well. It is interesting to note that he did not say, “Teach us preach” but instead said, “Teach us to pray.” In replying, Jesus taught His disciples a prayer in which they could now address God as their Heavenly Father!
This intimate family relationship was simply unknown to the Israelites in the Old Testament. When Jehovah God appeared to Moses from the burning bush, He introduced Himself as: “I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob”? (Mark 12:26) Jesus elaborated on this syntax as He referred to God the Father as the God of the living and not of the dead (Mark 12:27). It is not unreasonable to assume that back then God did not give access to everyone to address Him as their Heavenly Father. The scriptures give us evidence that Adam was the son of God (Luke 3:38), and the sons/grandsons of Adam were also referred to as the “sons of God” (see Gen. 6:2). However, it was only when we would receive the ‘true’ Son of God, Jesus Christ, that He would give us the privilege to be called the ‘children of God’ (John 1:12-13).
“But when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption as sons. And because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying out, ‘Abba, Father!’ Therefore you are no longer a slave but a son, and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ.” (Gal. 4:4-7)
It is through Jesus Christ that we are related to God as our Heavenly Father. Through the ‘model prayer’ (also called the ‘Lord’s Prayer’) that Jesus taught His disciples upon their request (vv. 1-4; Matt. 6:9–13), we are to recognize God for who He is (‘our Heavenly Father’), glorify His name, pray for His kingdom to be established on the earth and His will to be accomplished in our lives. After this, we can boldly ask Him for our daily spiritual food, to forgive our sins, and to deliver us from the evil one. This model prayer illustrates the variety of humble requests that we can make to our Heavenly Father, and can serve as our outline for our personal worship, intercession, petition, and praise!
As our Heavenly Father, God sets the tone by being available and attentive to all our petitions. He provides for us, forgives us graciously (when we have the same attitude), and protects us from the evil one (Satan) and his attacks. We can now approach our heavenly Father "boldly ... that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need." (Heb. 4:16) Our God is a loving Father who will give us what we need. He neither slumbers nor sleeps (Psalms 121:4); and He doesn't become irritated when we ask for help (James 1:5). Let us address God as our 'Father-in-Heaven' in all our prayers today and in the future!