Q. 100. What doth the preface of the Lord’s Prayer teach us?
A. The preface of the Lord’s Prayer, which is, “Our Father which art in heaven,” teaches us to draw near to God with all holy reverence and confidence, as children to a father, able and ready to help us; and that we should pray with and for others.
“If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!” (Luke 11:13)
“The difference with this prayer is that its ending tells us more about God than it does about us. It's a conclusion that voices confidence in the present and the future because it understands who is in charge and in whose presence we live all our lives.” - William J. Carl III, The Lord's Prayer for Today, President of Pittsburgh Theological Seminary
Dr. Kenneth Bailey is a marvelous Middle Eastern scholar who lives in New Wilmington, PA and lived in the Middle East for many years to better understand the cultural background from which the New Testament was written. Dr. Bailey who had the brilliant idea of going around in these remote villages, and there he would tell them the parables of Jesus and get their reactions.
One day Kenneth Bailey was sitting around with some sheep herders and farmers and he spun the tale of the prodigal son. He got to the part where the son goes to the father to ask for his share of the inheritance, and these men who were sitting around just doubled over with laughter. They thought that was the funniest thing they ever heard. They said, "In our village, that would never happen. The father would conk that boy on the head." Then the son goes away, sows his wild oats and comes back, and Kenneth Bailey told how the father, seeing him at a distance, ran to his son. The sense of the Scripture here is that the father sprinted to his son. It was here that the men became furious and even disgusted. They said, "This man had no dignity! For a man to run through the streets, his robe would kick up around his thighs; his legs would be exposed to the children. That would be shameful. He would be the laughingstock of his village. No father would run to his son. It would never happen." But, my friend, I'm here to tell you it happens every day whenever we pray, "Our Father who art in heaven." God comes running. God, the Father as described to us by Jesus does what no earthly father would do for us. God was willing to come in the flesh to reach out to us and tell how much he loves us, so we might have a restored relationship and enter into the Kingdom of God.
What we call The Lord's Prayer is more properly called The Disciples' Prayer. Have you ever noticed that the perpendicular pronoun is missing from The Disciples' Prayer?
You cannot pray the Lord's Prayer and even once say "I."
You cannot pray the Lord's Prayer and even once say "My."
Nor can you pray the Lord's Prayer and not pray for one another,
And when you ask for daily bread, you must include your brother.
For others are included ... in each and every plea,
From the beginning to the end of it, it does not once say "Me."