“Our Father in Heaven”
There is a great truth that we need to bear in mind at all times – God is in heaven and we are on earth!
There is a difference both between heaven and earth and between God and ourselves.
- “Do not be quick with your mouth, do not be hasty in your heart to utter anything before God. God is in heaven and you are on earth, so let your words be few.” (Ecclesiastes 5:2)
- “Our God is in heaven; he does whatever pleases him.” (Psalm 115:3)
In heaven He is worshipped, honoured and obeyed as He should be – on earth He is not. In heaven Jesus is enthroned in glory at the right hand of the Father. On earth He was crucified, and is still ignored or rejected by so many today. The words ‘in heaven’ should remind us of the absolute holiness, power and glory of this Almighty God – His awesome and supreme Majesty. The words ‘our Father’ remind us of the wonderful intimacy that He has invited us to enjoy with Him. We should always try to keep the two in balance – majesty and intimacy.
In addition, the words ‘in heaven’ tell us that God is totally independent of us. If He closed His eyes to the world it would cease to exist, and so would we. God however would continue. He was ‘in heaven’ before the creation of the world, which only came into existence because He willed it and created it through the breath-taking power of His word. He has the freedom and the ability to move between the two, whilst we are confined to the earth, and have only just managed to send a few people as far as the moon. The outer reaches of the Milky Way are totally beyond us, not to mention the far flung regions of space millions of light years away. God, on the other hand, is able to be everywhere at the same time.
God also has the power and ability to know every thought that we have, whilst we know only as much about Him as He has chosen to reveal to us,
“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the LORD. “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” (Isaiah 55:8-9)
What is so wonderful about these first four words of the prayer is their order. Jesus chose to have us address God firstly as ‘our Father’. This is the relationship that is so important, and the one that God wants us to enjoy as a first priority. ‘In heaven’ then reminds us of just who our Father really is, so that we may have a better appreciation and understanding of both His majestic greatness and His incredible love for each one of us! We can also begin to taste the first fruits of understanding of the truth that in some wonderful way full of mystery and beauty we have already entered into the heavenlies. In Jesus Christ we are already in the presence of the Father. And in the Holy Spirit the wonder of God has already entered into and touched our spirits.
God is not just ‘any old father’ – He is “our Father in heaven!”
Remind yourself of how special God is – and how amazing that He should be your Father.
Please help me Holy Spirit to grasp the wonder of these very special words, and to embrace them with joy and awe. Amen