Sermon on the Mount: Lord’s Prayer - Our Father
“Pray, then, in this way: ‘Our Father who is in heaven, Hallowed be Your name.”
Matthew 6:9 NASB1995
I don’t know where Heaven is actually located. I chose this picture because, for me, a beautiful starry sky draws me closer to the inspiration of God’s creation. The Greek word for Heaven, ouranos, actually can refer to the physical heavens we observe in one of its Definitions. We live in a time/space location on a planet in a spiral galaxy in a universe that is estimated to have perhaps trillions of galaxies. But this same universe is finely tuned, with laws of physics, mathematics, biology, chemistry and other sciences that are extremely complex and immutable or must be carefully redefined if the observations don’t make sense. One or two decimal points in a constant in a certain physics equation and we may not not be here observing all of this glory. But I also know that we are not here by accident and all the naturalism in the world can’t explain that innate sense in our inner being that we belong in Heaven, with our Creator. The remarkable C.S. Lewis said it well (found in GoodReads and other quotation sources):
“If we find ourselves with a desire that nothing in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that we were made for another world.”
According to some of the commentaries I read for this first stanza in the Lord’s Prayer, this is probably the first time in biblical history that someone referred in a prayer to God as our Father. The Jewish leaders at the time would have found that to be far too intimate. It is probably also a misnomer that this has been called the “Lord’s Prayer”, even though Jesus delivers it. It is more appropriately a disciple’s prayer. Jesus has an interlude in His own sermon to give us this way to pray that can avoid the hypocrisies of giving, praying (with too many words) and fasting with an eye to the public’s attention rather than honoring God. The right to call God our Father comes because we believe in Him. His name is to be honored and cherished above all other names because He is Holy. One other thing that jumps out is that the language is plural: OUR Father, not my Father. You are joining the community of penitents addressing God in Heaven when you pray in this way in your private prayer space; you are joined together before the throne.
I sometimes try to visualize Heaven and God on His throne, but our temporal minds and imaginations in this fallen world are never adequate. If His creation is so awe-inspiring, what will we see when we meet the Creator?
My next Sermon on the Mount devotional will examine Matthew 6:10 - Your Kingdom come…
Photo by Klemen Vrankar on Unsplash