Discover more from Read-Aloud Theology
The Lord's Prayer (Lesson 1)
Learning to Pray Like a Child | Matthew 6:9
“This, then, is how you should pray: ‘Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name.’”
— Jesus, in Matthew 6:9
Of all the terms that could be used as the primary form of address between a believer and God, Jesus chose Father.
The Greek word Jesus uses for Father in the Lord’s Prayer is pater. In Romans 8 and Galatians 4, the apostle Paul applies the Aramaic term, abba, as the primary form of address.
As you may know, abba is still used in the Middle Eastern world as the first word a child calls a father. Conversely, imma is what an infant first calls their mother. Essentially, abba and imma translate as dada and mama.
If the father-child relationship is the primary disposition of the Christian’s relationship with God, it would serve us well to meditate on the implications.
Since are plenty of poor examples of human fathers that we may be inclined to project upon God as Father, it is important for us to consider what a perfect human father would be.
I can imagine him being perfectly wise. Perfectly good. Perfectly caring. Perfectly loving.
Ultimately, he would be perfectly trustworthy.
When an infant looks into the eyes of a father and says Abba, they express complete dependency. Their entire life is in Abba's hands, the one who provides, protects, and guides. The father who gives the child a name, a hope, and a future.
This is the one in whom they put their trust. Completely.
And that is the question for you and me. Can I trust God as father in the way a small child trusts their father?
When Jesus teaches us to pray “our Father in heaven,” it is not only a call to spiritual intimacy and dependency. It is an invitation to rest through trust.
I wonder what it would mean for me to find rest by trusting my Abba today. How about you?
What is on your plate that is too heavy for you to carry? What are you facing that is causing anxiety, worry, and stress? What decision do you have to make that requires greater wisdom than you possess? What sin is clouding your heart with such guilt and self-loathing that you’re inclined to run from rather than run to your Abba?
If we will allow ourselves to look upon the cross of Jesus, beholding his scars with faith, we’ll see an open door into the heart of God, where we are offered all the mercy, grace, forgiveness, wisdom, and help that we’ll ever need.
Even for today.
The process of praying to God as Father is not complicated.
Just follow the analogy. How does a small child speak to a father?
Does he use complicated words? Is it a formal address?
No, children just speak. They don’t worry about using the right words. Sometimes they cry.
That is what prayer can look like. Just talking to God like a child with a strong, tender, loving father.
Does this sound too easy? Too simple? Too informal?
Maybe that shows how much we have to unlearn and relearn about prayer.
Why do you think Jesus chose to address God as "Father" in the Lord's Prayer?
How does the concept of God as a loving and caring Father change your view of prayer?
What are some of the challenges in trusting God as your Father?
How does the analogy of a child speaking to a father help you understand the simplicity of prayer?
How can the idea of complete dependency on God as a father bring comfort to you in difficult times?
How does the cross help us in praying to God as our Abba?
You are our loving and perfect Father. We acknowledge that we are in need of your wisdom, guidance, and protection. We trust in your love and goodness, and we lay all our fears, anxieties, and worries at your feet.
We pray for the strength to trust you completely, as a child trusts a strong, wise, loving father. May we learn to approach you with the simplicity and trust of a child, knowing that you will always be there to listen and to provide for us.
We give you all the praise and glory for your faithfulness.
For we pray in Jesus’ name, Amen.