Read: Psalm 145
A prayer is a means of contact with another, with the intent of presenting petitions to him. It is very specific in its address. It indicates that we know whom we address; we know what we will ask of him; and we believe that he is able to give that for which we ask.
In the case of this model prayer, we must be deeply conscious that we are not addressing a mere creature, but rather the Sovereign God. In addressing earthly royalty, we would not use crude language ("hey, you!"), but use addresses considered appropriate for royalty ("Your Royal Highness"). Much more ought we to address God with names appropriate to Him.
The Bible gives many names of God in Scripture. He is the "Holy One of Israel", "God Almighty" or, "Jehovah". There are many similar names indicating the high standing of our God. It would not be improper to use any of these names when addressing our God. The "Lord's Prayer," however, uses that Name most appropriate for God in light of the petitions presented.
It would be very improper for man to alter this Name of the Lord's Prayer to fit into man's current concept of the male/female relationship. Society would have a gender-free name so that both man and woman are represented. Some address God thus: "Our Father/Mother Who is in heaven." Thus, God is said to be that Being Who not only shows the characteristics of an earthly father, but also the softness, love, and concern of an earthly mother. If we are going to honor the fact that Jesus taught us to pray, how dare we alter the address that Jesus teaches here?
We are to address God properly as "Father," and our Father for Jesus' sake. We must carefully avoid the "politically correct" approach of the moment. Let us pray as Jesus taught us in this prayer.
At the same time, let us be sensitive to the amazing truth involved in the name we use. We are addressing the Creator and Sustainer of the universe. He is the eternal, almighty, Sovereign God. We are but creatures of the dust. We are finite but God is infinite. One might wonder, "How dare we even think that we can address this God?" Will He not strike us down in anger if we even dare to try to approach Him thus? Could one imagine an ant addressing a human being as "father?" It's preposterous.
But Jesus taught us to call this Sovereign One "Father." So we will do. This is not some great self-esteem or pride on our part, but our submission to the instruction of our Master and Lord.
Van Baren, Gise J.
Rev. G. Van Baren (Wife: Clara)
Ordained: October, 1956
Pastorates: Doon, IA - 1956; Randolph, WI - 1962; First, Grand Rapids, MI - 1965; Hudsonville, MI - 1977; Loveland, CO - 1994
Emeritus: 1999Website: www.sermonaudio.com/search.asp?speakeronly=true&currsection=sermonsspeaker&keyword=Rev._Gise_Van_Baren
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