R.C. Sproul: In almost every prayer that Jesus utters in the New Testament, He addresses God as Father… This represents a radical departure from Jewish custom and tradition. Though Jewish people were given a lengthy number of appropriate titles for God in personal prayer, significantly absent from the approved list was the title “Father”… The serious reaction against Jesus by His contemporaries indicated that they heard in His addressing God as Father a blasphemous utterance by which Jesus was presuming, by this term of address, a certain equality that He enjoyed with the Father.
We seen some days ago that an important part of prayer is building our relationship with God. But prayer also starts with relationship. In Luke 11, when Jesus is teaching his disciples how to pray, he says ‘Our Father’, this command demonstrates the need of the new birth or spiritual regeneration. Scripture teaches us that prayer, other than the call to know God or for salvation, is really only applicable to believers in Jesus Christ who are brought into a relationship with God as His children through faith in Jesus Christ. This is accomplished by the new birth, the regenerating work of the Spirit of God (John 1:12; 3:3-7; 14:6). Our prayer is to be addressed to God using the term, “Father.” ( John 14:6; 16:23-24; Eph. 2:18; 3:14; 1:17; 6:18; Jude 20; Col. 1:13; Heb. 7:25).
“Father” is a term of honour or reverence and relationship. Someone once said ‘
Many who say “Our Father” on Sunday spend the rest of the week acting like orphans’. Coming to God in prayer as “Father” is designed to demonstrate: (a) our attitude toward God as one of honour, respect, and trust, and (b) our understanding of the relationship we have with Him as a child; God is a father kind of God who cares for us as only a parent can care for a child.
How should this affect our prayer life?
(1) When we pray as New Testament believers, we are to talk with God as our Father, not simply about God in a theological monologue. It is astounding that God wants us to call Him “Father.” The implications are staggering. Having God as our Father means that He is a living, personal being, and not an impersonal force.we to come to God as a child and talk with Him as our Father (Ps. 103:13).
(2) It means we are to talk with Him as a Father who loves and cares for us as His children. Hudson Taylor once said ‘I am taking my children with me, and I notice that it is not difficult for me to remember that the little ones need breakfast in the morning, dinner at midday, and something before they go to bed at night. Indeed I could not forget it. And I find it impossible to suppose that our heavenly Father is less tender or mindful than I… I do not believe that our heavenly Father will ever forget His children. I am as very poor father, but it is not my habit to forget my children. God is a very, very good Father. It is not His habit to forget His children.’ To pray to God as our Father means recognizing that He is a person who is intimately concerned about us more than we could possibly be concerned about ourselves. He is not a blind or impersonal force.
How easy would it be to pray or how confident would we be if we could only approach God as an impersonal deity or as “the great and terrible one?” The word “Father” draws our attention to the nature of our relationship with God as a result of the new birth and our access to God through the person and work of the Lord Jesus Christ.
It emphasizes the ease and willingness with which we should come into His presence, boldly, with the confidence of a child who knows he or she is loved with an unconditional love (Heb. 4:16). By ease, however, I do not mean disrespectfully and without regard to His holiness and majesty or without concern about sin in our lives. We dare not ignore our responsibility to deal with our sin by confession (Ps. 66:18). Rather, by ease, I mean an awareness of this fatherly kind of care, the love of God, and our provision and access through the finished work of Christ.