When Jesus prayed, he addressed God as Father and invited us to do the same.
Father is a term that denotes respect but also speaks to relational intimacy and availability. God welcomes us into his arms like a good father does, always making time to hear us, comfort us, encourage us, and delight in us.
It might be hard for you to picture God like that. Perhaps it’s because you’ve never experienced him that way. Or maybe you never had a healthy relationship with your earthly father to begin with. Perhaps your church never taught you about that kind of God, or you simply aren’t comfortable being that close with anyone, including him.
Whatever the reason, working through the struggle to see God as a good Father is so important. Because when we don’t relate to him this way, it messes everything up and we miss out.
For example, let’s look at the Lord’s Prayer without a Father view of God:
(Our Ruler/Overlord/Task-Master/Tyrant/etc.) in heaven, hallowed be your name When we don’t know God as our good Father, he becomes this distant, absent, unapproachable, even cruel figure.
your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven When we don’t know God as our good Father, we become worker bots for him, consumed with doing but not being; more Martha than Mary.
Give us today our daily bread. When we don’t know God as our good Father, we beg, plead, or try to make deals for him to provide for us instead of trusting that he actually loves us and desires to meet our needs.
And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. When we don’t know God as our good Father, we have a hard time believing he wants to forgive us, and in turn, we have a hard time wanting to forgiving others.
And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one. When we don’t know God as our good Father, we think we have to be strong and fight our battles on our own. We act like orphans instead of sons and daughters. We struggle to discern the difference between his voice and the enemy’s.
Some people imagine God keeping them at arm’s length, but just the opposite is true. When looking at the very city that was about to crucify him, Jesus said,
“O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones God’s messengers! How often I have wanted to gather your children together as a hen protects her chicks beneath her wings, but you wouldn’t let me.” Matthew 23:37
God’s heart for everyone – even his enemies – is love. He wants us to know him as he truly is: a good father who is strong, safe, nurturing, approachable, dependable, capable, and full of love.
Do you know God as your good Father? If so, what has helped you get there? If not, what is stopping you from getting there?