Our Father in Heaven

Posted on · Posted in Prayer

What does the opening line of the Lord’s Prayer teach us?

When working with children, truth that is clearly and simply stated is essential.  This is why this prayer in Matthew 6 is a model not only for how to pray, but for how to speak.  Jesus says earlier in chapter that the prayers of his people should not be like the babbling prayers of the pagans that overflow with many words. Many words offer no guarantee that your prayers will be heard. Trust that your Father in heaven knows exactly what you need before you ask him. While it is important to come to God in faith with specific requests, it is also important to realize that informing God of how much you need something with numerous words will not improve the quality of your prayer.

This is an important lesson for your children to learn. God knows exactly what you need before you ask. He is committed to helping you according to his will. He is not impressed with many fine-sounding words. What Jesus is teaching you about prayer in this chapter is that prayers should be made with simple, direct words.

So, we read the words of Christ, “Our father in heaven.”  From this we learn that God is our father. He is not our mother or best buddy, He is our father! And he lives in heaven. So, he does not reside here even though he is always here.

When you pray you pray to your father. He is in heaven but he is also here.  He is in heaven but he hears your prayers. You have an earthly father, but you also have a heavenly father. He is in heaven so there is more to life than what we see on earth.

Wow! You are praying to someone who is not like you and is not limited as you are. You are praying to someone who is wondrously great. You are praying to someone who can actually answer your prayers. When you pray to God you and your children are on hallowed ground.

While these thoughts are not exhaustive; they are stunning.  Prayer is no ordinary thing. This is just a small portion of what we can learn from the first line of this prayer.  Be amazed and show that amazement to your children!

Jay Younts
John A. (Jay) Younts is the Shepherd Press blogger, and is a ruling elder serving at Redeemer Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church in Moore, South Carolina. He has written Everyday Talk, Everyday Talk About Sex & Marriage, Finding the Right Track, the In Touch With Paul stewardship series, and What About War. He has studied and taught about biblical childrearing for 30 years. He and his late wife Ruth have five adult children.