Key Verse: “This, then, is how you should pray: “‘Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name.” Matthew 6:9
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.
“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: (1) our attitude toward God as one of honour, respect, and trust, and (2) 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.
What does this mean to our prayer life? 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 a 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.
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.