Thursday, April 28, 2022

The Lord's Prayer: In Heaven

Why does Jesus teach us to specify that we’re praying to our Father in heaven?

In yesterday’s post, we considered how we are all brothers and sisters in that we have one Father. And yet, we tend to make distinctions. You have your father and I have mine. Or, we have our father and they have theirs. We push back against these distinctions when we specify that we’re praying to our Father in heaven.

All the divisions we make among ourselves stem from earthly fatherhood, whether in a literal sense, or regarding our commitments to different ideas—different politics, theology, etc. Our Father in heaven is undivided. Jesus emphasizes the singular status of the Father later in Matthew’s Gospel.

And call no man your father on earth, for you have one Father, who is in heaven. (Matt. 23:9)

That’s the Father to whom Jesus teaches us to pray—our one Father in heaven. His being in heaven, however, doesn’t mean he’s too far off to hear us. He’s close enough to know every sparrow that falls and every hair on our heads (Matt. 10:29–30).

So, even when we pray alone, we pray together, to our one Father—in heaven, yet close enough to hear your prayer and mine.

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