This is the second blog in a series on The Lord’s Prayer. In the first blog -- Rediscovering the Power of The Lord’s Prayer – the focus was on understanding prayer in Yeshua’s (the Jewish Jesus) culture. A key point we learned about the way Jesus and his disciples prayed is that the ultimate purpose of prayer is to “bring people closer to God so they may more faithfully perform his will.”1 Now let’s consider the first line of The Lord’s Prayer:
“Our Father in heaven.”
Comments & Cultural Insights
1. We all pray to “Our Father.”
2. In the Jewish culture the father’s role in the family included providing for the needs of and protecting the family – and teaching his children.
3. “Our Father” is the “Creator of the Heavens and Earth.” In the First Creation Account in Genesis He provided for the needs of all the creatures He created, created barriers to protect those creatures, revealed basic instructions for all humans to follow in their lives and teach their children, and created a specific mystical period of time for all humans on earth to hear His wisdom – the Shabbat.
4. Our relationships with each other are defined by our relationship with “Our Father.” We are all members of “Our Father’s family.” You and I have the same “Father in heaven.”
Making the words of The Lord’s Prayer Realities in Our Lives
In my religion and culture, when we said “Amen!” at the end of a prayer – that was it! We had done our part. We had made God aware of something we wanted or needed – now it’s up to Him! In Jesus’s religion and culture, the “Amen!” signaled the beginning of the next phase of prayer – becoming actively involved in making the words they had just prayed a reality! As soon as the disciples said “Amen!” their focus shifted to doing what the words they had just prayed in order to make them realities on the earth. Below are some suggestions.
1. In interactions with people that have different views from yours, take a moment to remember that those people have the same “Father in heaven” as you.
2. Recognize the things that “Our Father” provides for all of us – air, water, earth, rain, food, plants, trees, seasons, sunlight, etc.
3. Learn the instructions “Our Father” gave to all humans.
4. Remember “Our Father’s wisdom” on the Shabbat.
5. Build relationships on the connection we all have to “Our Father.”
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1 The Prayer Book: Weekday, Sabbath and Festival; translated and arranged by Ben Zion Bokser © 1983; Behrman House Publishers, Inc., New York, NY; pp. viii, ix.