The Lord’s Prayer begins with “Our Father in heaven.” In teaching the disciples to pray, Jesus starts by emphasizing that God is Our Father. While in our culture this may invite controversy, in Jesus’ culture His words communicated comfort. Whatever we have found great in our fathers, we will find in abundance from God, and whatever good we have found absent from our fathers, we will find plentiful in God. In the Lord’s Prayer, there are at least three gifts our Heavenly Father graciously gives.
First, God the Father offers us relationship, not religion. God wants us to know Him and be close to Him through the cross of His Son Jesus. God is not our supervisor or boss. His primary interest is not for us to satisfy His checklist. He wants us to have the experience and reality of a well-loved child. We may or may not have had that with our parents, but we can have peace, joy, and love with the One who made us.
Second, God the Father offers us provision. He takes care of us and gives us “our daily bread.” There are difficult, lean times, but it is in Him we have our needs met. After He taught His disciples to pray, Jesus spoke these words, “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?” (Matthew 6:25-27)
Third, God the Father offers us guidance. He loves to lead us and guide us into what is best. Part of building a relationship with God is seeking Him and learning to hear His voice. To really have God at the center of our lives, we must learn how to acquire His guidance and walk in it. He will lead us and keep us on good paths. Proverbs 3:5-6 summarizes well how the Father guides us, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.”
Concerning fathers, there can be a lot of fondness or extreme pain. Being a father should bring great joy, but it could also be a source of regret and a sense of failure. Whatever our experience is with our fathers or being fathers, we can go to “Our Father in heaven.” He will give us a relationship with Him, provision, and guidance.
Today if you need the Lord to redeem the mistakes your father made or your own mistakes as a father, ask God to lead you and heal your heart as well as the hearts of your children. There is NOTHING too hard for Him!! As God said, “I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.” (Ezek. 36:26) Praise the LORD, the God of New Beginnings!!!