What It Means to Call God Father

In the Lord’s Prayer, Jesus taught his disciples to pray.  He told them to begin with the words, “Our Father.” Have you ever thought about what it means to pray to God as Father? In his book A Method for Prayer, Matthew Henry offers a prayer in the language of Scripture to draw out the reality of calling to God as our Father in heaven.

O Lord our God, doubtless thou art our Father, though Abraham be ignorant of us, and Israel acknowledge us not; thou, O Lord, art our Father, our Redeemer, thy name is from everlasting, and we will from this time cry unto thee, Our Father, thou art the guide of our youth.

Have we not all one Father? has not one God created us? Thou art the Father of our spirits, to whom we ought to be in subjection and live.

Thou art the Father of lights, and the Father of mercies, and the God of all consolation: The eternal Father, of whom, and through whom, and to whom, are all things.

Thou art the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, whose glory was that of the only begotten of the Father, who is in his bosom, by him, as one brought up with him, daily his delight, and rejoicing always before him.

Thou art in Christ, our Father, and the Father of all believers, whom thou hast predestinated to the adoption of children, and into whose hearts thou hast sent the Spirit of the Son, teaching them to cry Abba, Father.  Behold what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the children of God. That the Lord God Almighty should be to us a Father, and we should be to him for sons and daughters; and that as many as receive Christ, to them thou shouldest give power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name, which are born, not of the will of man, but of God, and his grace.

O that we may receive the adoption of sons, and that as obedient and genuine children we may fashion ourselves according to the example of him who hath called us, who is holy; and may be followers of God as dear children, and conformed to the image of his Son, who is the first-born among many brethren. Enable us to come to thee with humble boldness and confidence, as to a Father, a tender Father, who spares us as a man spares his son who serves him; and as having an advocate with the Father, who yet has told us that the Father himself loves us.

Thou art a Father, but where is thine honour? Lord, give us grace to serve thee as becomes children, with reverence and godly fear.

Thou art a Father, and if earthly parents, being evil, yet know how to give good gifts unto their children, how much more shall our heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him. Lord, give us the Spirit of grace and supplication.

We come to thee as prodigal children that have gone from our Father’s house into a far country; but we will arise and go to our Father, for in his house there is bread enough and to spare, and if we continue at a distance from him, we perish with hunger. Father, we have sinned against heaven and before thee and are no more worthy to be called thy children, make us even as thy hired servants.

Thou art our Father in heaven, and therefore unto thee, O Lord, do we lift our souls. Unto thee we lift up our eyes, O thou that dwellest in the heavens: As the eyes of a servant are to the hand of his master and the eyes of a maiden to the hand of her mistress, so do our eyes wait upon thee, O Lord our God; a God whom the heaven of heavens cannot contain, and yet whom we may have access to, having a High Priest that is passed into the heavens as our forerunner.

Thou, O God, dwellest in the high and holy place, and holy and reverend is thy name. God is in heaven, and we are upon earth, therefore should we choose our words to reason with him; and yet through a Mediator, we have boldness to enter into the holiest.

Look down, we pray thee, from heaven and behold from the habitation of thy holiness and of thy glory, and have compassion upon us and help us.

Heaven is the firmament of thy power: O hear us from thy holy heaven, with the saving strength of thy right hand; send us help from thy sanctuary, and strengthen us out of Zion.

And, O that since heaven is our Father’s house, we may have our conversation there, and may seek things that are above.

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