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Father (3962) (pater) is the genitor (a begetter), by whom another is begotten. Stated more simply this is a man who has begotten a child. Father is the progenitor, the ancestor in the direct line (a forefather -- thus Adam was the "progenitor" of the Human Race). Thayer's full Greek Definition of patér -- a father Dictionary Articles on "Abba" and "Father" HELPS Word Studies father; one who imparts life and is committed to it; a progenitor, bringing into being to pass on the potential for likeness. Vine writes that pater is from a root signifying “a nourisher, protector, upholder” (Lat., pater, Eng., “father,” are akin)." (Note: Not all lexicons agree with this origin)....Whereas the everlasting power and divinity of God are manifest in creation, His “Fatherhood” in spiritual relationship through faith is the subject of NT revelation, and waited for the presence on earth of the Son, Matt. 11:27; John 17:25. The spiritual relationship is not universal, John 8:42, 44 (cf. John 8:12 and Gal. 3:26). Summary of Pater (from Louw-Nida, Vine, BDAG, Friberg) which is translated father(348), father's(13), fathers(53), parents(1). (1) A male parent, immediate male ancestor (Mt 2:22, 4:21, Lk 2:48, Heb 12:9) (2) Parents, both mother and father (Heb 11:23) (3) Ancestor, forefather - a more remote ancestor, such as one from whom one is descended and generally at least several generations removed, (Acts 3:13, Mt 3:9 ) BDAG on 2Pe 3:4: in some places the pateres are to be understood as the generation(s) of deceased Christians Physical but not spiritual father - Abraham - Mt 3:9, Lk 3:8, Jn 8:39 (Cf Jn 8:40), Jn 8:53, 56, Acts 7:2 - Abraham was referred to as "father" in this sense by the unregenerate Jews who called Abraham their father (which he was by physical lineage). Because of this association they felt they were guaranteed entry into heaven. Physical and spiritual father (Father of those who are born again by faith even as Abraham was justified by faith - Ge 15:6) - 16.24" class="scriptRef">Lk 16:24, 30, Ro 4:12, 16, James 2:21 (4) Father (title for God), (Jn 10:15; Lk 23:34.) God the Father (15x in NAS, Not once in the OT): 1 Cor 8:6; Gal 1:1; Eph 6:23; Phil 2:11; Col 1:3; 3:17; 1Th 1:1; 2Th 1:2; 1Ti 1:2; 2Ti 1:2; Titus 1:4; 1Pet 1:2; 2Pet 1:17; 2 John 1:3; Jude 1:1 God and Father (14x NAS, Not once in the OT): Rom 15:6; 1 Cor 15:24; 2 Cor 1:3; 11:31; Gal 1:4; Eph 1:3; 4:6; Phil 4:20; 1Th 1:3; 3:11, 13; Jas 1:27; 1Pet 1:3; Rev 1:6 HELPS Word Studies: is used of our heavenly Father. He imparts life, from physical birth to the gift of eternal life through the second birth (regeneration, being born again). Through ongoing sanctification, the believer more and more resembles their heavenly Father. Vine: of God in relation to those who have been born anew (John 1:12, 13), and so are believers, Eph. 2:18; 6.4" class="scriptRef">4.6" class="scriptRef">4:6 (cf. 2 Cor. 6:18), and imitators of their “Father,” Matt. 5:45, 48; 6:1, 4, 6, 8, 9, etc. Christ never associated Himself with them by using the personal pronoun “our”; He always used the singular, “My Father,” His relationship being unoriginated and essential, whereas theirs is by grace and regeneration, e.g., Matt. 11:27; 25:34; John 20:17; Rev. 2:27; 3:5, 21; so the apostles spoke of God as the “Father” of the Lord Jesus Christ, e.g., Rom. 15:6; 2 Cor. 1:3; 11:31; Eph. 1:3; Heb. 1:5; 1 Pet. 1:3; Rev. 1:6; of God, as the “Father” of lights, i.e., the Source or Giver of whatsoever provides illumination, physical and spiritual, Jas. 1:17; of mercies, 2 Cor. 1:3; of glory, Eph. 1:17; as Creator, Heb. 12:9 (cf. Zech. 12:1). (5) Father (title for a high ranking person), (Mt 23:9) BDAG: as an honorary title or a form of respectful address (Lxx = 2Ki 2:12; 6:21; 13:14) (6) Elder (Acts 7:2; 22:1) Vine: of the members of the Sanhedrin, as of those who exercised religious authority over others (7) An archetype, figurative extension to entry #1 (E.g., "Father" Abraham - Ro 4:11, 12, 16, 17) BDAG: of spiritual fatherhood (Epict. 3, 22, 81f: the Cynic superintends the upbringing of all men as their pater (8) Leader, spiritual father in the faith (Devil = Jn 8:44; 1Co 4:15) Vine: metaphorically, of the originator of a family or company of persons animated by the same spirit as himself, as of Abraham, Ro 4:11, 12, 16, 17, 18, or of Satan, John 8:38, 41, 44 Vine: of one who , as a preacher of the gospel and a teacher, stands in a “father’s” place, caring for his spiritual children, 1Cor. 4:15 (not the same as a mere title of honor, which the Lord prohibited, Matt. 23:9); (9) Take care of parents until death (Mt 8:21; Lk 9:59), (10) One advanced in the knowledge of Christ, (1John 2:13 according to W E Vine) BDAG: (Father in 1Jn 2:13) as a designation of the older male members of a church (as respectful address by younger people to their elders By drawing attention to God as our Father, Jesus first calls us to recognize the God-centeredness of prayer and indeed of all of life. 1828 Webster's has multiple definitions of Father... 1. He who begets a child; in L. genitor or generator. The father of a fool haih no joy. Pr. 17. A wise son maketh a glad father. Pr 10. 2. The first ancestor; the progenitor of a race or family. Adam was the father of the human race. Abraham was the father of the Israelites. 3. The appellation of an old man, and a term of respect. The king of Israel said to Elisha, my father shall I smite them? 2 Kings 6. The servants of Naaman call him father. Ibm. v. Elderly men are called fathers; as the fathers of a town or city. In the church, men venerable for age, learning and piety are called fathers, or reverend fathers. 4. The grandfather, or more remote ancestor. Nebuchadnezzar is called the father of Belshazzar, though he was his grandfather. Dan. 5. 5. One who feeds and supports, or exercises paternal care over another. God is called the father of the fatherless. Ps. 68. I was a father to the poor. Job 29. 6. He who creates, invents, makes or composes any thing; the author, former or contriver; a founder, director or instructor. God as creator is the father of all men. John 8. Jabal was the father of such as dwell in tents; and Jubal of musicians. Gen. 4. God is the father of spirits and of lights. Homer is considered as the father of epic poetry. Washington, as a defender and an affectionate and Wise counselor, is called the father of his country. And see 1 Chron. 2:51–4:149:35. Satan is called the father of lies; he introduced sin, and instigates men to sin. John 8. Abraham is called the father of believers. He was an early believer, and a pattern of faith and obedience. Rom. 4 7. Fathers, in the plural, ancestors. David slept with his fathers. 1 Kings 2. 8. A father in law. So Heli is called the father of Joseph. Luke 3. 9. The appellation of the first person in the adorable Trinity. Go ye, therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Matt. 28. 10. The title given to dignitaries of the church, superiors of convents, and to popish confessors. 11. The appellation of the ecclesiastical writers of the first centuries, as Polycarp, Jerome, &c. 12. The title of a senator in ancient Rome; as conscript fathers. Adoptive father, he who adopts the children of another, and acknowledges them as his own. Natural father, the father of illegitimate children. Putative father, one who is only reputed to be the father; the supposed father Pater - 4.6" class="scriptRef">6.6" class="scriptRef">6.4" class="scriptRef">47.5" class="scriptRef">5" class="scriptRef">15.17" class="scriptRef">17.11" class="scriptRef">11.13" class="scriptRef">3.3" class="scriptRef">3" class="scriptRef">13" class="scriptRef">13x in 36" class="scriptRef">366v in the NAS - 22" class="scriptRef">Matt 2:22; 9" class="scriptRef">9" class="scriptRef">3:9; 21" class="scriptRef">21" class="scriptRef">21" class="scriptRef">21" class="scriptRef">21-Matt.4.11.10" class="scriptRef">10.8.25" class="scriptRef">25" class="scriptRef">25" class="scriptRef">25" class="scriptRef">25" class="scriptRef">4:21f; 14.16" class="scriptRef">16" class="scriptRef">5:16, 45" class="scriptRef">45, 48; 6:1, 4, 6, 8f, 18.14" class="scriptRef">14-Matt.6.34" class="scriptRef">14f, 18, 26" class="scriptRef">26" class="scriptRef">26" class="scriptRef">26" class="scriptRef">26, 23" class="scriptRef">23" class="scriptRef">23.12.32" class="scriptRef">32" class="scriptRef">32" class="scriptRef">32" class="scriptRef">32" class="scriptRef">32" class="scriptRef">32" class="scriptRef">32" class="scriptRef">32; 7:11, 21; 8:21; 42" class="scriptRef">42" class="scriptRef">42" class="scriptRef">42" class="scriptRef">10:31" class="scriptRef">20f, 19.29" class="scriptRef">29" class="scriptRef">29, 32f, 35" class="scriptRef">35, 37" class="scriptRef">37; 30" class="scriptRef">30" class="scriptRef">11:25ff; 12:50; 43" class="scriptRef">13:43; 39" class="scriptRef">15:4ff, 13; 17" class="scriptRef">16:17, 27" class="scriptRef">27" class="scriptRef">27; 18:10, 14, 19" class="scriptRef">19, 35; 19:5, 19, 29; 20:23; 21:31; 23:9, 30, 32; 24.36" class="scriptRef">24:36; 25:34; 26:29, 39, 42, 53" class="scriptRef">53" class="scriptRef">53; 28.19" class="scriptRef">28:19; Mark 1:20; 40" class="scriptRef">5:40; 7:10ff; 8:38; 9:21, 24; 10:7, 19, 29; 11:10, 25; 13:12, 32; 14:36; 15:21; Luke 1:17, 32, 55, 59" class="scriptRef">59, 62, 67, 72f; 2:33, 48f; 3:8; 6:23, 26, 36; 8:51; 9:26, 42, 59; 10:21f; 11:2, 11, 13, 47f; 12:30, 32, 53; 14:26; 15:12, 17f, 20ff, 27ff; 16:24, 27, 30; 18:20; 22:29, 42; 23:34, 46; 49" class="scriptRef">49" class="scriptRef">24:49; John 1:14, 18; 2:16; 3:35; 4:12, 20f, 23, 53; 5:17ff, 26, 36f, 43, 45; 6:27, 31f, 37, 40, 42, 44-John.6.71" class="scriptRef">44ff, 49, 57f, 65; 7:22; 8:16, 18f, 27f, 38f, 41f, 44, 49, 53f, 56; 10:15, 17f, 25, 29f, 32, 36ff; 11:41; 12:26ff, 49f; 13:1, 3; 14:2, 6ff, 16, 20f, 23f, 26, 28, 31; 15:1, 8ff, 15f, 23f, 26; 16:3, 10, 15, 17, 23, 25ff, 32; 17:1, 5, 11, 21, 24f; 18:11; 20:17, 21; Acts 1:4, 7; 2:33; 3:13, 25; 4:25; 5:30; 7:2, 4, 11f, 14f, 19f, 32, 38f, 44f, 51f; 13:17, 32, 36; 15:10; 16:1, 3; 22:1, 14; 26:6; 28:8, 25; Rom 1:7; 4:11f, 16ff; 6:4; 8:15; 9:5, 10; 11:28; 15:6, 8; 1 Cor 1:3; 4:15; 5:1; 8:6; 10:1; 15:24; 2 Cor 1:2f; 6:18; 11:31; Gal 1:1, 3f; 4:2, 6; Eph 1:2f, 17; 2:18; 3:14; 4:6; 5:20, 31; 6:2, 4, 23; Phil 1:2; 2:11, 22; 4:20; Col 1:2f, 12; 3:17, 21; 1Th 1:1, 3; 2:11; 3:11, 13; 2Th 1:1f; 2:16; 1 Tim 1:2; 5:1; 2 Tim 1:2; Titus 1:4; Philemon 1:3; Heb 1:1, 5; 3:9; 7:10; 8:9; 11:23; 12:7, 9; Jas 1:17, 27; 2:21; 3:9; 1 Pet 1:2f, 17; 2 Pet 1:17; 3:4; 1 John 1:2f; 2:1, 13ff, 22ff; 3:1; 4:14; 2 John 1:3f, 9; Jude 1:1; Rev 1:6; 2:28; 3:5, 21; 14:1 Pater is found in 941 verses of the Septuagint (Lxx) and therefore will not be listed except for the uses in Genesis... 46.3" class="scriptRef">37.35" class="scriptRef">35.27" class="scriptRef">27" class="scriptRef">27.24.6" class="scriptRef">6" class="scriptRef">26.28.4" class="scriptRef">4" class="scriptRef">24" class="scriptRef">24" class="scriptRef">Gen 2:24; 4:20; 31.9" class="scriptRef">9" class="scriptRef">9.18" class="scriptRef">9:18, 22" class="scriptRef">22" class="scriptRef">22" class="scriptRef">22" class="scriptRef">22-Gen.9.29" class="scriptRef">29" class="scriptRef">22f; 10.21" class="scriptRef">21" class="scriptRef">21" class="scriptRef">10:21; 34.11" class="scriptRef">11.28-Gen.12" class="scriptRef">12.1" class="scriptRef">11:28f; 12:1; 5.15" class="scriptRef">15:15; 17:4f; 19.31-Gen.19.38" class="scriptRef">19:31ff; 20:12f; 22:7, 21; 24:7, 23" class="scriptRef">23" class="scriptRef">23, 38, 40; 26:3, 5, 15, 18, 24; 27:5f, 9f, 12, 14" class="scriptRef">14, 18f, 22, 26, 29ff, 34, 36, 38f, 41; 28:2, 4, 7f, 13" class="scriptRef">13" class="scriptRef">13, 21; 29:9, 12; 31:1, 3, 5ff, 9, 14, 16, 18f, 29f, 35, 42, 53; 32" class="scriptRef">32.10" class="scriptRef">32:10; 33:19; 34:4, 6, 11, 13, 19; 35:18, 22, 27; 36:9, 24, 43; 37:1f, 4, 9ff, 22, 32, 35; 38:11; 41:51; 42:13, 29, 32, 35ff; 43:2, 7f, 11, 23, 27f; 44:17, 19f, 22, 24f, 27, 30-Gen.44.34" class="scriptRef">30ff, 34; 45:3, 8f, 13, 18f, 23, 25, 27; 46:1, 3, 5, 29, 31, 34; 47:1, 3, 5ff, 9, 11f, 30; 48:1, 9, 15ff, 21; 49:2, 4, 8, 25f, 28f; 50:1f, 5ff, 10, 14ff, 22, 24; The writer of Hebrews encourages us to enter through the rent veil into the very throne room of God our Father, a glorious journey made possible by Jesus' finished work on the Cross and His present intercession as our Great High Priest, Since then we have a Great High Priest Who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One Who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and may find grace to help in time of need. (Heb 4:24-16) Since therefore, brethren, we have confidence to enter the holy place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living Way which He inaugurated for us through the veil, that is, His flesh, and since we have a Great Priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He Who promised is faithful; (Hebrews 10:19-23) In Matthew 6:1-18, "Father" is a keyword occurring some 10 times. Clearly, the practice of righteousness is to be for the Father's eyes. We are not to pray to saints and angels, but to the everlasting Father, the Father of spirits, the Lord of heaven and earth. The fatherhood of God forms the foundation for this model prayer, and we as children are called to seek His face using the six (or seven) topical sentences Jesus presents in Mt 6:9-13. “Father” as a title for God was rarely used in the Old Testament (only 14 times) and always used with reference to the nation, not to individuals. Thus where "father" does occur with respect to God, it is commonly by way of analogy, and not used to directly address Him (Deut 32:6; Ps 103:13; Isa 63:16; Mal 2:10). Thus Jesus' teaching that kingdom citizens were to address God as Father must have surprised most of His audience. Jesus Himself addressed God only as Father (some 60 times in the Gospels), never referring to Him by any other name! Virtually all of Jesus' prayers were addressed to God as Father (exception in Mt 27:46) And thus the New Testament believer knows God as his Father, with even greater clarity than anything his Old Testament counterpart could have enjoyed. Thus it follows that his praying proceeds from a childlike trust, as expressed in the addressing of God as "Our Father". C H Spurgeon writes... A Father! There is music in that word, but not to a fatherless child—to him it is full of sorrowful memories. Those who have never lost a father can scarcely know how precious a relation a father is. A father who is a father indeed, is very dear! Do we not remember how we climbed his knee? Do we not recollect the kisses we imprinted on his cheeks? Do we not recall to-day with gratitude the chidings of his wisdom and the gentle encouragements of his affection? We owe all! Who shall tell how much we owe to our fathers according to the flesh, and when they are taken from us we lament their loss, and feel that a great gap is made in our family circle. Listen, then, to these words, "Our Father, Who is in heaven." Consider the grace contained in the Lord's deigning to take us into the relationship of children, and giving us with the relationship the nature and the spirit of children, so that we say, "Abba, Father." Did you ever lie in bed with your limbs vexed with sore pains, and cry, "Father, pity thy child"? Did you ever look into the face of death, and as you thought you were about to depart, cry, "My Father, help me; uphold me with thy gracious hand, and bear me through the stream of death"? It is at such times that we realize the glory of the Fatherhood of God, and in our feebleness learn to cling to the divine strength, and catch at the divine love. (Flashes of Thought) Does the truth of God as your Father undergird your life with Father, as well as your prayer life? J. I. Packer (originally writing in Evangelical Magazine) considers one's grasp of God's Fatherhood and adoption as His child as of essential importance in one's spiritual life explaining that... If you want to judge how well a person understands Christianity, find out how much he makes of the thought of being God's child, and having God as his Father. If this is not the thought that prompts and controls his worship and prayers and his whole outlook on life, it means that he does not understand Christianity very well at all. For everything that Christ taught, everything that makes the New Testament new, and better than the Old, everything that is distinctively Christian as opposed to merely Jewish, is summed up in the knowledge of the Fatherhood of God. "Father" is the Christian name for God. (Packer, J: Knowing God) Joachim Jeremias, a respected German NT scholar wrote that the Aramaic word "Abba" was most likely the word Jesus used here when He spoke the words written in Greek in Mt 6:9. And from this premise, Jeremias argues that... in the Lord’s Prayer Jesus authorizes His disciples to repeat the word Abba after Him. He gives them a share in His sonship and empowers them, as His disciples, to speak with their heavenly Father in just such a familiar, trusting way as a child would with his father. (Joachim Jeremias, The Lord’s Prayer. Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 1980), Jesus Himself used Abba (Aramaic for "Father") in addressing God, a use without parallel in the whole of Jewish literature. The explanation by some of the early Church fathers (Chrysostom, Theodore, Theodoret) was that Abba was the word used by a young child addressing his or her father. It was an everyday family word, which no one had ventured to use in addressing God. And so Jesus uses it quite naturally to address His heavenly Father in as childlike, trustful, and intimate a way as a little child to its father. And He was saying, "Abba! Father! All things are possible for Thee; remove this cup from Me; yet not what I will, but what Thou wilt." (Mark 14:36) Paul likewise mentions that because of our redemption and adoption into God's family, NT believers can address God as "Abba". For all who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God. For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again, but you have received a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, "Abba! Father!" (Romans 8:14-15) But when the fulness of the time came, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the Law, in order that He might redeem those who were under the Law, that we might receive the adoption as sons. And because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, crying, "Abba! Father!" (Galatians 4:4-6) The Net Bible notes explains that... God is addressed in terms of intimacy (Father). The original Semitic term here was probably Abba. The term is a little unusual in a personal prayer, especially as it lacks qualification. It is not the exact equivalent of “daddy” (as is sometimes popularly suggested), but it does suggest a close, familial relationship. (The NET Bible; Bible. Biblical Studies Press) To open this model prayer addressing God as Father, indicates He is personal (not merely "a higher power") and that He cares for His family (as a father would). The fact that He is "our Father" establishes the relationship the family relationship. Without faith in Christ’s blood and union with him, it is useless to talk of trusting in the “Fatherhood” of God. Only believers can call God "Father" because we are His children having received Jesus as Savior and believed in His Name (Jesus means "Jehovah saves") He (Jesus) came to His own, and those who were His own did not receive Him. But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name, who were born not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. (John 1:12-13:) Jesus answered (Nicodemus) and said to him, "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God." Nicodemus said to Him, "How can a man be born when he is old? He cannot enter a second time into his mother's womb and be born, can he?" Jesus answered, "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. (John 3:3-5) The early church actually forbade non-Christians from reciting this prayer as vigorously as they forbade them from joining with believers at the Lord's Table! Kent Hughes writes that... the idea that God is our Father, our Abba, is not only a sign of our spiritual health and of the authenticity of our faith, it is one of the most healing doctrines in all of Scripture. Some grew up only with a mother and no father. Others grew up in conventional homes where the relationship with the father was negative at best. But whatever our background, we need the touch of a father, and our God wants to provide that. Some of us need to bow before God and simply say, "Dearest Father, Abba" and so find the wholeness and healing that he wants to give us... The problem among some evangelical Christians today is the opposite - they have sentimentalized God's fatherhood so much that they have little concept of his holiness. Many Christians are flippantly sentimental about God, as if he is a celestial teddy bear. Such flip familiarity outwardly suggests super-intimacy with God but actually hides a defective knowledge of God. (Hughes, R. K. Sermon on the Mount: The Message of the Kingdom. Crossway Books) The qualifying phrase Father Who is in heaven is used most often by Matthew and reminds us of his transcendent nature (exceeding usual limits; extending or lying beyond the limits of ordinary experience). Transcendence is a theological term referring to the relation of God to creation. And so "our Father Who is in heaven" is “other” or “different” from His creation, independent and different from His creatures (cf Isa 55:8-9), being beyond His creation and not limited by it or to it. This simple understanding of transcendence makes our privilege of approaching Him intimately like a son or daughter would their earthly father, all the more humbling and praiseworthy. Our transcendent God is also the omnipresent God and is never farther than a prayer away! Phil Newton adds a practical note to those who have had "suboptimal" relationships with their earthly fathers writing that... Some of you may have bad memories of your earthly father. I have observed through the years that some people have unfounded fears of God, and grave apprehensions of depending upon Him because they bear deep wounds of their own earthly fathers that disappointed them time and time again. The image of father brings pain to them and not delight. They could never measure up to their father’s expectations or demands. They never felt an intimacy with him because of his self-centered ways. That is why our Lord distinguishes the Heavenly Father from all sinful, earthly fathers. He is not like those bad memories that haunt your understanding of God. He is “Our Father who is in heaven.”...Gardiner Spring gives us a picture of what it means to call upon God as Father. "Secrets may be committed to God that cannot be committed to another. The world knows not of this relief, to spread before Him the secret wants of the soul; to tell them one by one; to tell them all. The conscience, wounded by a sense of sin, finds healing there. Want there finds supply; distrust finds confidence and depression finds praise. Ignorance is enlightened there; poverty is enriched, and weakness becomes strong. Darkness is there dissipated and trembling hopes encouraged. The bruised reed is not broken there, nor is the smoking flax quenched. Grace there cherishes what it bestows, and completes what it begins…There are no broken cisterns at the mercy seat; it is all a fountain of living water, where streams flow from it, without which this earth were a desert."...It is in the sphere of relationship to God as Father that kingdom citizens find the significance of prayer. It is not a psychological exercise that helps us to cope with the troubles of life, but the heart of children gathering into the bosom of their Father to find peace, comfort, security, and provision for every need. Do you see the Father like that? Are you in relationship to Him through faith in Jesus Christ alone? Then pray, and pray often and boldly, to the Father in heaven. (Sermon) One often hears someone begin a prayer with "Dear Jesus..." Although that is certainly not heretical, in fairness and in a desire to pray as Jesus teaches, it should be emphasized that Scripture does not instruct believers to pray to the Lord Jesus Christ or to the Holy Spirit. The Bible is our only guidebook for Scripturally sound praying and supersedes the experience or traditional practices of men, whether pastors or laymen. What we do observe is that the entire Godhead is integrally involved in the prayers of the saints. The Holy Spirit leads and initiates our prayers. The Father is the One to Whom all of our prayers are directed or addressed. And finally, all of our prayers ascend to the Father's throne only through the Great High Priesthood of our Lord Jesus Christ a truth which explains why we always end our prayer with a phrase like "in the Name of Jesus". In fairness one might argue that petitions to Jesus made while He was on earth set the precedent for prayers to Jesus. For example, Peter cried out "Lord, save me!" as he began to sink into the water (Mt 14:30). The writer of Hebrews emphasizes Jesus' Great High Priesthood role over and over as for example in the following passages... Hence, also, He is able to save forever those who draw near to God (the Father) through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them. (see note Hebrews 7:25) Through Him then, let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God (the Father), that is, the fruit of lips that give thanks to His name. (see note Hebrews 13:15) So when you receive the Lord Jesus Christ as Savior you can boldly, confidently pray "Our Father...". Not only are you in the family, but you are forever in the family (you can't be kicked out of the family) because you are sealed, Paul explaining that... In Him, you also, after listening to the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation-- having also believed, you were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is given as a pledge of our inheritance, with a view to the redemption of God's own possession, to the praise of His glory. (Ephesians 1:13-14, see Wayne Barber's sermons on Ephesians 1:13-15: Marvel of Redemption; Ephesians 1:13-15: Security of Redemption 1:13-15: Security of Redemption Part 2) In summary, when we pray, effective prayer is brought to the Father in the Name of Jesus. We ought to pray through the Son, rather than to Jesus. What does "in Jesus' name" mean? Arno C. Gaebelein explains it this way... "In order to pray in His name it is necessary that the person is in Him and identified with Him. The phrase "in the name" as used in the New Testament generally signifies the representation of the person whose name is used, standing in his stead, fulfilling his purposes, manifesting his will and showing forth his life and glory. To pray, therefore, effectually in His name means realizing our standing in Christ, our union with Him, and seeking His glory. The mere use of the name of our Lord in prayer without the spiritual reality of our oneness with Him and deep desire to glorify Him by having his will done in our lives is unavailing. But knowing Him and bent on doing His will we can pray in His name." The question one might ask is "Can everyone pray this prayer?" And the answer is no, not really. In other words, the "Disciple's Prayer" is a "family prayer" and one must be a member of the family of God to be able to address Him as Father. He is Father only to those who are His children, His sons and daughters. Who are His children? Jesus taught that although He went first to the Jews, those who by all rights should have been God's children, they refused to accept Him. John explains that... He came to His own, and those who were His own did not receive (welcome as one would a guest. The aorist tense indicates this was a decisive act of rejection of the Messiah by [most but not all] the Jews) Him. But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name, who were born not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. Only believers can call God "Father" because we are His children having received Jesus as our Lord and Savior and believed in His Name (Jesus' Name means in essence "Jehovah saves") Paul explains how one can know if they are in the family of God For all who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God. For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again, but you have received a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, "Abba! Father!" The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, heirs also, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him in order that we may also be glorified with Him. (see notes Romans 8:14-15, 8:16-17) Paul explains that sons (and daughters) of God are led by God's Spirit. We don't have a spirit of slavery which causes us to fear God but a spirit that says we are adopted into God's family and can call Him "Abba". And His Spirit gives us an inner assurance in our spirit that belong to God. Finally, when we suffer for the sake of His Name, we demonstrate one of the clearest "badges" or marks of a genuine believer. (see discussion of persecution for the sake of Christ Matthew 5:10-12) While "Father" points to God's nearness, "In heaven" reminds us of His transcendence or otherness. Many of the ancient Jews had such lofty views of God’s transcendence that they often had no concept of His personhood, and thus could not think of Him in terms of a personal relationship. On the other hand, our modern evangelicalism puts such emphasis on God’s nearness that sadly His mysterious transcendence and sovereignty have almost disappeared from many of our thoughts of God. God's transcendence is independent of, above, and distinct from this universe. God is outside, above, and before this time-space universe, His name “I Am that I Am” stressing His transcendent independence and existence (Exodus 3:14). "In heaven" reminds us that He is God and we are not as the Scriptures attest... Remember this, and be assured; recall it to mind, you transgressors. Remember the former things long past, for I am God, and there is no other. I am God, and there is no one like Me, declaring the end from the beginning and from ancient times things which have not been done, Saying, ‘My purpose will be established, and I will accomplish all My good pleasure’ (Isaiah 46:8-10) Our God is in the heavens. He does whatever He pleases. (Psalm 115:3) Ray Stedman comments on why Jesus begins with the focus on the Father noting... Jesus invariably puts prayer in this form. He puts the things concerning God first. Surely this exposes a fatal weakness in our own prayers, which so frequently begin with us. Is this not our trouble? We rush almost immediately into a series of pleading petitions that have to do with our problems and our needs and our irritations, and this serves to focus our attention upon what is already troubling us and to increase our awareness of our lack. Perhaps that is the reason we frequently end up more depressed or more frustrated than when we began. But Jesus shows us another way. We must begin with God. We must take a slow, calm, reassuring gaze at him, at his greatness and his eagerness to give, his unwearied patience and untiring love. Then, of course, the first thing we receive in prayer is a calm spirit and there is no need for us to plunge in panic into a flood of words...This is why this pattern prayer begins with a word of relationship, "Father." May I point out that it is "Father," not "Daddy-o"! There is a reverence about the word father that is totally absent in some modern expressions of fatherhood and surely this is the note our Lord intends for us to capture as we begin our study in this prayer. It is essential to know to whom we are praying. We are not, when we come to prayer, talking about God. We are not engaging in a theological dialogue. We are talking with God. We are going to converse with him directly and so it is very essential that we understand to whom we are speaking. Our Lord gathers it all up in this marvelously expressive word and says true prayer must begin with a concept of God as Father. Immediately that eliminates a number of other concepts. It shows us that prayer, real prayer, is never to be addressed to the Chairman of the Committee for Welfare and Relief. Sometimes our prayers take on that aspect. We come expecting a handout. We want something to be poured into our laps, something that we think we need, and in making an appeal we are but filling out the properly prescribed forms. Nor is prayer addressed to the Chief of the Bureau of Investigation. It is never to be merely a confession of our wrong-doings, with the hope that we may cast ourselves upon the mercy of the court. Nor is it an appeal to the Secretary of the Treasury, some sort of genial international banker whom we hope to interest in financing our projects. Prayer is to be to a Father with a father's heart, a father's love, and a father's strength, and the first and truest note of prayer must be our recognition that we come to this kind of father. We must hear him and come to him as a child, in trust and simplicity and with all the frankness of a child, otherwise it is not prayer. Someone has pointed out that this word father answers all the philosophical questions about the nature of God. A father is a person, therefore God is not a blind force behind the inscrutable machinery of the universe. A father is able to hear, and God is not simply an impersonal being, aloof from all our troubles and our problems. And above all, a father is predisposed by his love and relationship to give a careful, attentive ear to what his child says. God is this way. From a father, a child can surely expect a reply. Our Lord goes on to teach us more of what a father is like in the parable that follows this prayer, and the point of it is surely that God is interested in what we have to say. A father, therefore, may be expected to reply to us. We are not only to address God as Father, that is, simply taking the word upon our lips, but we are to believe that he is a Father, for all that God makes available to mankind must always come to us through faith, must always operate in our lives through belief. Belief invariably involves an actual commitment of the will, a moving of the deepest part of our nature. Therefore when we come to prayer, if we begin by addressing God as "Almighty God," or "Dreadful Creator," or "Ground of all Being," this betrays our fatal ignorance or unbelief. The greatest authority on prayer says that God is a father! Someone has suggested that we can combine the extremes of theological persuasion evident in our country today with this prayer: "May the Ground of Our Being bless you real good." Such a prayer is absurd, of course. When I come home I do not want my children to meet me in awe, and say, "Oh thou great and dreadful Pastor of Peninsula Bible Church, welcome home." It would be an insult to my father-heart. I want my children to greet me as a father. It is never prayer until we recognize that we are coming to a patient and tender father. That is the first note in true prayer. (See his entire message The Pattern Prayer) HALLOWED BE YOUR NAME: Houtos hagiastheto (3SAPM) to onoma sou (Leviticus 10:3; 2Samuel 7:26; 1Kings 8:43; 1Chronicles 17:24; Nehemiah 9:5; Psalm 72:18; 111:9; Isaiah 6:3; 37:20; Ezekiel 36:23; 38:23; Habakkuk 2:14; Zechariah 14:9; Malachi 1:11; Luke 2:14; 11:2; 1Timothy 6:16; Revelation 4:11; 5:12) J C Ryle explains that... By the “name of God we mean all those attributes through which He is revealed to us—His power, wisdom, holiness, justice, mercy and truth. By asking that they may be “hallowed,” we mean that they may be made known and glorified. The glory of God is the first thing that God’s children should desire. It is the object of one of our Lord’s own prayers: “Father, glorify (aorist imperative) your name!” (John 12:28). It is the purpose for which the world was created; it is the end for which the saints are called and convened (Related resource: John Piper's sermon God Created Us For His Glory on Isaiah 43:1-7): it is the chief thing we should seek—“that in all things God may be praised” (see note 1 Peter 4:11).

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