Today I want to talk to you about the “who” that Jesus teaches us to pray to in Matthew 6:9: “Pray, then, in this way: 'Our Father who is in heaven, Hallowed be Your name.” NASB
The very first thing He teaches us is who we are to direct our prayers to.
I was raised Catholic up until I was 9 years old. When we would go to church or mass, we had a choice, to go to confession (which I was to young), take communion or kneel to the statue of Mary when we prayed. I think Jesus taught this “who” we are to pray in Matthew not only for the biblical times of idols and pagans but for the future of knowing that no statue or priest can ever take the place of Almighty God.
So who is this Who we are supposed to be praying to?
Our Father – When we come to God in prayer, it is important to know that He is a Father to all that believe and have confessed Him as Lord over their life. He is not my Father or your Father, He is our Father. Secondly, I think it’s amazing that God asks us to come to Him in such an intimate and personal way. This is what’s amazing to me is that as you read the scriptures from the Old Testament to the New Testament, you see in the Old a compassionate and gracious God yet if people willfully sinned you had some serious consequences come your way. But in the New, Jesus refers to God as Father, His Creator, and His life-giver. No one had ever heard God addressed that way before.
This is what I love, that in Matthew 6:9, Jesus is telling the people to pray in this way…OUR Father. Not pray to MY Father, but OUR Father. Something they were not familiar with. To see God as their Father.
God wants you to see Him in this way.
Maybe you didn’t have the best of relationship with your natural Father. Maybe you’re wondering how am I supposed to see God in this way when all that I know of what a Father is is hurt and disappointment. Then I would say to you look to the Word. Find and understand how God wants you to see Him. Look to the scriptures and see what God says an earthly father is to be and let God fill in those gaps of what was missing.
Who is in heaven – Jesus reminds us that Our Father is not an earthly father but is our Heavenly Father. A Father that resides in Heaven. A place covered in gold and where everything is perfect. A place where God is never burdened or overwhelmed, is never void of compassion or confused on what to do and yet He still never gets tired of hearing our prayers. This brings me hope.
Hallowed be thy name – Webster’s dictionary defines hallowed as “regarded as holy”. Jesus wants us to understand that who we are praying to is somebody that we must treat with reverence. We have to be very careful that we don’t form a habit of unloading or dumping on God as though He doesn’t know our circumstance or our frustration with it. God is holy and his name must flow from our lips with praise. Names like Jehovah Jireh, the First & Last, Almighty, I Am and Everlasting Father. He will never fail you or disappoint you. He will love you as Our Father.
How do you see God when you pray?