Jesus said, "This is how you should pray: "Father, may your name be kept holy. May your Kingdom come soon." Luke 11:2
Recently, I was watching a well-known talk show where sisters Jenna and Barbara Bush were being interviewed. This interview took place when they were quite young and their dad, George W. Bush, was still president of the United States. In this interview, they were asked if they could call the President. The sisters looked at each other as if to say, "Of course; he is our dad!" Next, to prove it, they called him on national television. Jenna and Barbara had access to the President that the majority of the population of the United States did not have because they were his daughters. Similarly, yet on a much, much grander scale, children of God have special access to God because of their relationship with Him as Father.
This week, we are talking about a very special name for God, "Abba." More than just "Father," "Abba" is a term of endearment, similar to "Daddy." Many of us may be used to the idea that God is our Heavenly Father, but when Jesus taught believers in the New Testament to refer to God as Father, the idea was revolutionary. You see, the father-child relationship is one of the most personal relationships, and it carries with it certain rights and privileges, as well as responsibilities.
Jesus called believers to refer to God as Father in Luke 11. In this chapter of Luke, one of Jesus' disciples asked Him to teach the disciples how to pray. Granting their request, in verse 2 of Luke 11, Jesus said, "This is how you should pray: Father…" By instructing His disciples to refer to God as "Father," Jesus was teaching them something about their relationship with God. They had access to God in the same way that a child has access to their father, even if their father is the President of the United States. Jesus wanted His disciples to know that they could approach God, pray to Him, and ask Him for things. They had access to God.
In the same way, just like Jesus' disciples, if we place our faith in Christ, we, too, have access to Him as our Heavenly Father. We do not have to receive permission to pray to Him. We do not have to have it all together before we go to Him. We get to come to Him as His children.
How does this idea that God is your Heavenly Father land with you? For some of you, you may have a wonderful earthly father, so thinking of God as Father is not difficult for you. For others of you, it is hard to relate to God as Father because you have been let down or hurt by your earthly father. The good news is that, unlike our earthly fathers, God is a perfect Heavenly Father, and in areas where our earthly fathers failed us, God has not and will never fail us. Take time today to consider that God is your perfect Heavenly Father. Spend time in prayer, specifically praying to Him as Father.
Read Luke 11:1-12 (NLT)
Once Jesus was in a certain place praying. As he finished, one of his disciples came to him and said, “Lord, teach us to pray, just as John taught his disciples.”
Jesus said, “This is how you should pray:
“Father, may your name be kept holy.
May your Kingdom come soon.
Give us each day the food we need,
and forgive us our sins,
as we forgive those who sin against us.
And don’t let us yield to temptation.”
Then, teaching them more about prayer, he used this story: “Suppose you went to a friend’s house at midnight, wanting to borrow three loaves of bread. You say to him, ‘A friend of mine has just arrived for a visit, and I have nothing for him to eat.’ And suppose he calls out from his bedroom, ‘Don’t bother me. The door is locked for the night, and my family and I are all in bed. I can’t help you.’ But I tell you this—though he won’t do it for friendship’s sake, if you keep knocking long enough, he will get up and give you whatever you need because of your shameless persistence.
“And so I tell you, keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks, receives. Everyone who seeks, finds. And to everyone who knocks, the door will be opened.
“You fathers—if your children ask for a fish, do you give them a snake instead? Or if they ask for an egg, do you give them a scorpion? Of course not!