“Our Father in heaven.”
There is a spiritual revolution in those words.
Jesus didn’t teach His disciples to start their prayers, “O God of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Moses,” or “O Maker of Heaven and Earth,” or even “O Great Spirit who sees all and knows all,” but “Father”—and not just “Father” or “My Father,” but “Our Father.”
By instructing us to pray “Our Father,” Jesus told us we had the right to go to God in the very same capacity He did.
Christ the Messiah, Savior of the world, Lord of lords and Kind of kings forever revolutionized how humanity relates to Almighty God.
With the directive that we approach Our Creator with the words, “Our Father which art in heaven” (Luke 11:2 KJV), Jesus not only shed new light on the nature of God, but also on what it means to be a dad.
The divine force of fatherhood is a sacred and precious gift.
Of all the gifts and promises we’ve been given, fatherhood is the most precious.
In fact, explains Peter, it is through all of these “great and precious promises” that we are enabled to tap into the true nature of fatherhood.
“With these gifts you can share in God’s nature.”
1 Peter 1:4 NCV
Think about the nature of God.
Throughout the Psalms, David described God as gracious, kind, compassionate, slow to anger, full of tender mercy and loving-kindness.
Galatians describes His Spirit as being characterized by “love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control” (Galatians 5:22-23).
“God is love.”
1 John 4:8
Think about how that influences our understanding of what it means to be a father—and our understanding of what it means to be a fathered child.
Paul, who received the revelation of this, amplified what Jesus taught in Romans 8:15 explaining: “You received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry, ‘Abba Father’ [or, as we would say, “Daddy”].”
“We know who he is, and we know who we are: Father and children.”
Romans 8:15 MSG
You are God’s child and He wants to have a relationship with you like a father to a son, a daddy to a daughter.
Knowing Him as a gracious, kind, compassionate, merciful, caring and loving father should help you relate with Him more authentically and intimately as you converse with Him throughout the day.
Being mindful of God’s presence and turning your heart toward Him is called prayer.
God wants to hear your prayers and see that prayer develop in you the power of an overcomer.
As Pete Greig, one of the founders and leaders of the 24-7 Prayer movement, described it:
Prayer is about power. Prayer is about miracles. Prayer is about breakthrough. Prayer is about the extension of the Kingdom. But more than any of that, prayer is about being intimate with God. It is about the lap of the Father, and being chosen by Jesus.
The beginning of confidence in prayer is realizing that there is Someone on the other end who not only wants the best for you, but also wants the same relationship with you that a parent has with a child.
He wants to see you born whole, admiring your every little finger and toe, see you grow, see you learn to walk, see you learn to fend for yourself, and never be farther away then a phone call or a text message as you mature and go out to fulfill your purpose in the “family business.”
He wants to hear what you have to say, He wants to see your needs met, He wants to answer your questions, He wants to give you understanding, wisdom, and revelation, and He wants to meet your friends.
He always has your back, He always has wise advice for you, He has words of encouragement and edification, and He has the power of the universe to use on your behalf when He sees fit—all you have to do is make the connection with Him.
“If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him!”
Now I know this is a hard concept for some of us to grasp because our earthly fathers have never exactly been focused on “connection”—let alone approachable.
Many fathers are all together absent—if not physically, then emotionally. I truly believe there has been an attack on fatherhood in our world for exactly this reason.
The enemy doesn’t want us to have a good opinion of fathers as that might put us one step closer to God the Father.
Satan wants us to think of fathers as guys who leave when we are too young to remember them, who use their hands to beat us rather than train or comfort us, who are selfish and lazy, aimless and thieving, reckless, uncaring, destructive, and flawed.
As author of The Shack, William P. Young, described this feeling: “I spent most of my life trying to wipe the face of my father off the face of God.”
If that is what your father was like, I want you to lay that aside. I want you to let that mindset be broken off of your life, because it is a curse that doesn’t belong to you. Your Heavenly Father has none of those negative characteristics.
Instead, imagine what the best father on earth would be like.
Your heart knows more about real fatherhood than you may realize—it is a bit of that something of Himself God put into each of us.
Think of the good fathers you have read about in books and seen in the movies or experienced in the homes of your friends. What were the things about those dads that gave you a clue as to what a good father is like?
Take some time and imagine how the best possible father would be. And then think again, because God is a Father above what we can ask for or imagine.
Meditate on the aspects of the goodness of God the Father and let Him fill your thoughts with Himself.
That is “Our Father”—that is “Your Father” and “My Father.”
That is the Father who created all of heaven and earth—the entire cosmos—just so we would have a place to play and spend eternity.
That is the Father who planned out the best for you before you were ever conceived in your mother’s womb.
Even if you didn’t have a good father, you still know on the inside what a good father would be like.
While it may take a while for these truths to become deeply real to you, the beginning is in going to “Our Father” in prayer.
Go and sit in His presence and let Him teach you who He really is. Spend time sitting in His lap. He won’t mind—in fact, it is what He has always hoped you would do!
Learn more about how to activate this kind of relationship in your life—and how to tap into the true force of fatherhood—in Prayer Warrior’s Way. This might be the perfect gift for those you know striving to become better fathers.