29th November 2016

‘Our Father’ 

“In this manner, therefore, pray: Our Father in heaven…”
Matthew 6:9 (NKJV)

Have you seen the film Ben Hur? The story is about a Jewish prince, Ben Hur, who was taken into captivity by the Romans and made a galley slave. During one voyage his ship was attacked and he was the only slave who survived. Ben Hur saved a Roman centurion from drowning and together they made it to land. The centurion was so grateful that he adopted Ben Hur, who became part of the centurion’s family and thus entitled to all the benefits that a natural-born child would inherit.

The words, ‘Our Father’ begin ‘The Lord’s Prayer’. Many recite it at some point in their worship meetings. But what do we know about the ‘Father’ to whom this is referring?

Our Father is ‘Dad.’ Jesus often talked of God as being His Father. When He prayed to the Father in Gethsemane just before He was arrested, Jesus used the familiar term, Abba (Mark 14:36). This is the Aramaic version of the family word we would use when we address our Father. Its English equivalent is ‘Dad.’ Paul told the church in Rome that they should address God as Abba because they (and we) are His adopted children (Romans 8:15-17). Just as Ben Hur was adopted by the centurion and brought into his family, so we are adopted by God and brought into His family.

Our Father is the source of glorious power. In his letter to the Colossians, the same Paul referred to God as ‘our Father,’ but this time He is filled with all strength which comes from His glorious power. He is someone who should be approached with great reverence and awe. Yet Paul tells us that He has enabled us to share in the inheritance of the saints in the light (Colossians 1:11-12). This understanding helps us in our Christian walk. There are times when we need the comfort that only a close and loving Father can provide. Someone who tends us, who knows our weakness and frailty because He’s been there in His Son. But there are also times when we need someone who has far more strength that we have. We cry out to God, ‘Father, this situation is far more than I can cope with. I put myself into Your hands and trust in Your powerful intervention’.

The centurion in Ben Hur had considerable power and authority, yet he adopted Ben Hur into his own family. As Creator and Sustainer of the entire universe, God has immeasurably more power and authority at His disposal, yet to us He is also a loving, caring Father. We are encouraged to tap into both of these qualities.

Prayer
Father, there are times when I look to You as my strong support and strength. There are other times when I need You as the One who comforts me when all else fails. May I always be close to You whatever the situation may be. In Jesus Christ’s name.
Amen
 

Study by Cristopher Reeve

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Chris ReeveAbout the Author:
Chris Reeve is assistant pastor of the Invicta (Blean) Congregation, which is part of Grace Communion International/Worldwide Church of God UK, where his wife, Hilary accompanies him.

Local Congregation:
Invicta Fellowship
Blean Village Hall
School Lane
Blean
CANTERBURY CT2 9JA

Meeting Time:
Saturday 11.30 a.m.

Local Congregational Contact:
Mrs Annette Woods
Phone: 07473 188326
Email: annettewoods2@nhs.net

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