The key to understanding the Lord’s Prayer is understanding the word “father.” Jesus says we are to talk to God in a father-child way. That is special and unique. In the Old Testament God didn’t invite His people to call Him ‘Father.’ Hardly anyone addressed Him in that way. Then came Jesus and He called god ‘Father’ all the time. Jesus says that He is our Father, too, for we are brothers and sisters with Jesus and each other. In Jesus God is revealing Himself in a new way, in a family way, as a loving father. There are several implications in calling God “Father.”
“Father” implies origin. It refers to paternity, source of all. God our Father is our source. In the Doxology we sing, “Praise God from Whom all blessings flow.” Acts 17:25 asserts that “In Him we live and move and have our being.” When we call God “Father” we are recognizing that He is the ultimate source of all things good and wonderful.
Also, “Father” speaks of parental authority. “You are the parent and we are not!” How often must we remind our children who is the parent and who isn’t? He is God and we are not. He has the right to do as He pleases, and fortunately for us what pleases Him is for ultimate good as well. Even in pain and difficult circumstances we are not to throw a tantrum and say He doesn’t love us. We are not to act like spoiled children. He is God and we are not!
Another aspect of the term “Father” is that of tender, loving care. In the Old Testament the unique Hebrew word “hesed” expresses this well. It speaks of a deep, tender, loyal love that is shown by all God’s actions and deeds. No matter what we do God can’t love us any more. No matter what we do He can’t love us any less. His love is loyal, unconditional, always there. He is our greatest fan, our biggest supporter, our most loyal cheerleader. He isn’t sitting at a distance watching us with a frown on His face. He is right here with us, heart wrapped up in all we do, pulling for us (but allowing us our own free will) and celebrating very victory, no matter how slight. Take a few moments to meditate on this. Reread this last paragraph if necessary and picture God and His ‘hesed’ for you. Soak it in. Enjoy it, and His eternal love.
by Rev. Dr. Jerry Schmoyer, Christian Training Organization