"OUR FATHER IN HEAVEN"
In giving the "model" prayer Jesus said, "In this manner, therefore, pray: Our Father in heaven, Hallowed be Your name." (Matthew 6:9) God is called Father by Jesus no less than one-hundred and sixty times -- "Our Father in Heaven." From God we learn how to be a father.
From God we learn how to have the heart of a father. "As a father pities his children, So the Lord pities those who fear Him." (Psalm 103:13) God pities His children and will do far more for them than any earthly father ever could or would. God's mercy shines when He is seen as a Father with His children whom He pities.
From God we learn how to have a dwelling place in the Father's house. "In My Father's house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you." (John 14:2) Christians have an abiding place or a mansion in the "Father's House." The blessings waiting in the Father's House are beyond our ability to grasp, but through the eye of faith we see!
From God we learn how to have the love of a father. "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life." (John 3:16) The love of God for sinners caused the greatest gift ever given; God's Son was given as a sacrifice for our sins. God's love touches every moment of our life. His love is that of our Father in Heaven.
From God we learn how to have the tenderness of a father. "Indeed we count them blessed who endure. You have heard of the perseverance of Job and seen the end intended by the Lord - that the Lord is very compassionate and merciful." (James 5:11) God is pictured as full of pity and tender mercies. "Through the tender mercy of our God, With which the Dayspring from on high has visited us." (Luke 1:78)
Because God is Father and has great love for mankind He has provided forgiveness of sins through Christ's death. "In Him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace." (Ephesians 1:7) God is your Father if you are His child through humble obedience. (Hebrews 5:8-9, Mark 16:16) God has the heart of a Father, the house of a Father, the love of a Father and the tenderness of a Father. Can you truthfully say, "Our Father in Heaven"?
By Charles Box, Walnut Street Church of Christ, 306 Walnut Street, Greenville, Alabama 36037 USA