(This week’s devotions are based Week 1 of a Sermon Series on the Lord’s Prayer. LISTEN TO IT HERE)
“Let my prayers rise before you as incense, the lifting of my hands as the evening sacrifice.” (Psalm 141:2)
We begin the Lord’s prayer with the words, “Our Father in heaven.” Each of these words or phrases is so significant. “Our” implies a personal relationship we have. “Father” implies the role God plays in our life. “In heaven”…why is that so important?
This short phrase distinguishes our requests we present to our earthly fathers from our heavenly father. It does not diminish the importance of our earthly fathers, but rather heightens the blessing of having a heavenly father. Jesus highlighted one:
Jesus said 9 “Which of you, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? 10 Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? 11 If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him! (Matthew 7:9-11)
Our heavenly Father has perspective.
Earthly dads desire the best and want to give their best to their children. Magnify that exponentially and one realizes they have a heavenly father who perfectly knows what is best for his children…and welcomes your request.
Our heavenly Father has an even larger and bigger perspective than our earthly fathers. Sometimes our dads have or do withhold giving something because they know that it is not the best for their child. As a child this can be frustrating, and perhaps only the perspective of time will allow us to see that dad really did know and do what was best. How much more our relationship with our heavenly Father. We can always trust that he knows and gives what is best…even if it doesn’t match what WE think is best.
Our heavenly Father is perfect.
This means a lot to me as an earthly dad. I am not perfect. My girls know that well. I am grateful that I have a heavenly Father who is willing to forgive and restore when I fail. I treasure that my girls always have a perfect heavenly Father to whom to look up when they see shortcomings in their earthly dad.
Our heavenly Father portrays pure justice and unconditional love.
No better example have I found to understand the balance God has of justice and love than to be in the role of a dad. The two, justice and love, are perfectly compatible and one should not be overlooked for the sake of the other. Justice can not exist without love and love without justice. What do I mean? It is loving to have boundaries and limits to life. Justice from God is real because he gives us those boundaries in which to live so that we experience the greatest blessings on this earth and in heaven. Just like a father tells his child, “Don’t run in the street” because he desires his child to not experience getting hit by a car. In fact, if the child runs in the street, he may be disciplined to know the seriousness of the infraction and how much dad loves his child to ensure it doesn’t happen again. Love from God is real because he desires the eternal blessing of his children. Love is not a boundary-less grant to a child to do whatever they want. Love desires to guide a child in the way of righteousness and to the eternal blessings of heaven. I treasure that my heavenly Father is perfectly both and as an earthly dad can learn from his examples of justice and love.
Our heavenly Father is present…always.
Earthly dads get busy with work, hobbies, chores, and just life in general. Sometimes we are not as present for our children as we would like. Our heavenly Father is available 24/7…every day to listen to our prayers, remind us of his promises and guide us with his Word.
Earthly dads are great and a blessing from the Lord. How much greater a blessing we have to be able to call God, “Our Father IN HEAVEN.”
Apply: What other blessings do you receive from your Father in heaven that is better and more perfect than from your father on earth?
Prayer: Our Father in heaven, thank you Father for your eternal perspective, your perfect love and justice, and your ongoing presence. We treasure that you have thought enough of us to bring us into an eternal relationship with you! AMEN.