Friday, January 22, 2016

The Lord's Prayer, Our Father...

The Lord's Prayer

Our Father who art in heaven.
hollowed be thy name,
thy kingdom come,
thy will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.

Give us this day our daily bread,
and forgive us our trespasses
as we forgive those who trespass against us.
Lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.

For thine is the kingdom, the power,
and the glory, forever and ever.

Jesus in response to the disciples asking “teach us to pray” gave us this prayer. It is short and concise but it is pregnant with power, awe, and wonder. It has been broken down into 6 or 7 petitions depending on which tradition you study. I want to just simply comment on each phrase.

Our Father”

When you pray Jesus instructs us to address God as Father. I get that. He created me, He redeemed me, He filled me with His Spirit. Explaining the blessedness of each one of these could fill volumes. But when I pray this phrase I hear in my imagination Jesus praying it along with me. We pray together “Our Father”. I can call God “Father” because Jesus told me to, yes, but also because Jesus as the perfect man is showing me that I can. Why? I think it is because Jesus is restoring to His followers the image of God. God from all eternity has been in a loving Father Son relationship within the trinity. As His image bearers we are in fellowship with Him in the same way as Jesus is. When I pray this prayer I pray it with Jesus. “Our Father”.

Tom Wright adds another idea pregnant within this prayer; Israel as God's son. "The first occurrence in the Hebrew Bible of the idea of God as the Father comes when Moses marches in boldly to stand before Pharaoh, and says: Thus says YHWH: Israel is my son, my firstborn; let my people go, that they may serve me (Exodus 4:22–3). For Israel to call God ‘Father’, then, was to hold on to the hope of liberty. The slaves were called to be sons."

Tom Wright, The Lord and His Prayer (London: Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge, 1996), 14–15.