“Our Father WHO IS IN HEAVEN” is how Jesus started the Lord’s Prayer. We think of the significance of “Our” and “Father,” but we often skip over the phrase “Who is in heaven.” It’s often a throwaway phrase, something so obvious we don’t have to think about it. He is in heaven, we are on earth, big deal, nothing new, something we’ve always known. But it must mean more than that or Jesus wouldn’t have included it.
What is referred to by ‘heaven’ anyway? Heaven is the center of the universe, the seat of all authority and power, where everything is perfect and done according to God’s will. We on earth are limited to this little ball of dirt spinning around larger balls in a corner of a galaxy called the Milky Way which is just one of millions in the universe. We are less than a speck on a speck, when seen from heaven’s perspective. We are in a position of weakness and insignificance compared to ‘heaven.’ When we say “Our Father in heaven” we are recognizing how far He is above us and beyond us. We are remembering that He has authority and power to hear us and help us when we pray. It is because God is in heaven that we can talk to Him with the assurance He can do something about our needs and difficulties.
Think of it this way. “Our” Father speaks of the community we have with each other. We do not pray alone, we pray with others. “Father” speaks of our family relationship with Him, I pray to the One who cares for me. “In heaven” adds the note of authority. Not only does He love me as a father but He has the power to do whatever is needed for me as God in heaven. His Fatherly love is His motive, His position in heaven is His ability to do whatever is necessary. God’s love alone is wonderful, but weak and ineffective. His power alone is great, but cold and distant. However when you compare the two, His love and power, you have an unbeatable combination. And that’s what we have in this first phrase, “Our Father Who is in heaven.”
Every single word in this prayer is important and packs much meaning. He is “Our (loving) Father” who is not limited as we but is above all us “in heaven.” That means there isn’t a need in our life that He can’t meet. If it doesn’t seem He is meeting it then we know it isn’t because He doesn’t care about us, for He perfectly and totally loves us as our Father. And we know that it isn’t because He isn’t able to meet it for since He is “in heaven” He can do all things. No, if He doesn’t meet it in the time and way we would like it is because He knows there is something more important for our growth and His glory. Does an earthly parent meet every want in the time and way their child demands? Of course not, no good parent would. Neither does our heavenly Father. He cares, and He is able. If He doesn’t seem to meet that need we must trust His Father’s heart that He knows best.
Is there anything you are dealing with that is causing you to doubt His love or power? Think about these things and turn them over to “Our Father, Who is in heaven.”
(Written by Jerry Schmoyer, 2014. You can find more of his writings at http://www.christiantrainingonline.org/. If you have questions or suggestions feel free to contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org)