“This then is how you should pray, ‘Our Father . . .’”
Did you know there’s a difference between the Old Testament and the New Testament understandings of God as Father? The Hebrews (in the Old Testament) thought of God as like a father. The New Testament teaches that God is our Father.
The Hebrew Scriptures use many images depicting God’s love and care for his people. Among them, these images include “father,” “shepherd,” “mother,” “rock,” and “fortress.” In the New Testament, though, Jesus tells his followers that God is their Father.
“But wait a minute,” you might say; “don’t we confess that Jesus alone is the Son of God?” Yes, but by God’s grace and through Jesus’ sacrifice for us, we have been adopted as God’s children, with all of the rights and privileges of belonging to God’s family. Being children of God provides us with abundant comfort in our daily lives.
Jesus shows us that being God’s children has tremendous implications for our prayers too. When we begin to pray, we should say, “Our Father,” because remembering that God is our Father awakens in us a childlike awe and trust—and this assures us that he hears and answers our prayers and provides just what we need.
Our Father, we come as your children, believing and trusting that you will provide for our every need. We do this through Jesus Christ, our Lord, who gave us the right to become your children. Amen.
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