It is clear that God intends to be close to us. He sent His son to earth to physically walk among us in order that we would know Him. Scripture also teaches us that His Spirit dwells within us. It is also clear that God desires to be near us. One of the ways that He reveals himself to us is as our Father, Abba Father.
In Matthew 6, Jesus is teaching against the hypocrisy of some religious leaders. He calls them out for being prideful and boasting of their assistance to the poor (vv. 1-4), praying loudly for others to hear how pious they are (vv. 5-15) and for being boastful about their fasting. These religious leaders were caught up in being holy and righteous for all the wrong reasons. They had placed themselves on a pedestal of righteousness for all to see instead of simply revering the holiness of God.
I explain all this because I think the context is important. Jesus is addressing individuals who are hyper aware of the holiness of God. Unfortunately, they have placed acting holy above knowing God. At this point in his teaching Jesus teaches the disciples how to pray. A prayer you probably know! It starts with “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name…” By addressing God as Father in this particular setting it probably caught their attention. Instead of using the name Lord or Yahweh (a name so holy many would not even pronounce) he used a fiercely personal name. A family name that was warm, earthly and intimately familiar with people. It would evoke comparison to the men that they knew from the day they were born. Jesus taught them to pray to their Heavenly Father. Why?
Because God loves us like a Father does. This includes every aspect of a father’s love. We can directly communicate with God as our father, there is no need for someone to intercede between us. We belong to His family and therefore, we do not need to go to a great effort to access Him. He listens as a father would listen, not just filled with judgment and consequences but He also listens with mercy and grace. As a father would, God disciplines us with the intention of making us holy like He is holy.
I’d like to challenge you to do something with me. Would you take a minute and totally focus on talking to God as your father? Maybe you call your father something else, Daddy? Pop? Dad? Or perhaps, you did not know your father or he did not reflect Christ in his relationship with you. If this is the case choose a new name that would articulate how you wish you felt about your father.
I believe God wants us to address Him with familiarity and respect for His holiness. Would you pray to Him right now, but address Him first with the same name you may have called your father? It could go something like this:
Dad, thank you for________
Daddy, I am sorry____________
Please forgive me.
Father, I love you.
Help me to remember
I am your child, your precious baby.
Papa, I want to know you more.
You know me best, Daddy.
“Yet you, Lord, are our Father. We are the clay, you are the potter; we are all the work of your hand.” Isaiah 64:8
Praying you will continue to grow in your faith!