On the Lord’s Prayer: “Our Father Who art in heaven”

The Lord’s Prayer begins, “Our Father…”  From the very beginning of the prayer, we see that we are speaking with Someone Who loves us: our Father. We see that we are speaking to Someone Whom we respect: our Father. We see that we are approaching Someone Who is bigger and stronger than we are: our Father. And although Christ could have taught us to pray, “My Father…,” He does not keep us from His Father, but rather includes us in His Family by teaching us to pray, “OUR Father…”

12764374_10207635463196413_7578815087839980207_oIt continues, “Who art in heaven.” The ‘heavens’ completely surround our planet. This phrase reminds us that God is over us all and everywhere around us! We say that He is omnipresent. (Does “Who art everywhere present and fillest all things” sound familiar?) Just as the sky is great, beautiful, and infinite, so is God. He’s actually infinitely more great, beautiful, and deep!

And this infinitely great, beautiful, deep God who is everywhere present knows and loves each of us, and invites us to call Him ‘Our Father.’

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“The first thing Christ offers to those who ask him to teach them to pray, the very first thing he leaves them as a priceless gift and consolation, as joy and inspiration, is the possibility of calling God, “Father…” ~ Schmemann, p. 19, http://www.svspress.com/our-father/

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“There was no such prayer before this teaching of Christ. The Old Testament people did not address God as ‘Abba: Father.’ (Romans 8:15, Galatians 4:6) This name of ‘Father’ for God is given by Christ, the divine Son of God. Men can dare, ‘with boldness and without condemnation’ to call upon the ‘heavenly God’ with the name of ‘Father’ only when they are made worthy to do so by Christ.” From http://oca.org/orthodoxy/the-orthodox-faith/spirituality/prayer-fasting-and-alms-giving/the-lords-prayer

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“‘Our Father’ — here we find the meaning of love, and the answer to love, here lies the experience of intimacy and the joy of this experience, here faith opens into trust, and independence yields to freedom, intimacy, and ultimately unfolds as joy. This is no longer an idea about God, but already knowledge of God, this is already communion with him in love, in unity, and trust.” ~ Schmemann, p. 20, http://www.svspress.com/our-father/

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“The words ‘Who art in heaven’ do not mean that God is far away. When we think of God, we think of his greatness, goodness, and glory. God is so great that space cannot contain Him. Heaven reminds us that besides the world we see and can touch and taste there is another world. We call this other world or new kind of life — Heaven. We get a glimpse of it in the Divine Liturgy. We cannot see it now but it is just as real.” From “The Lord’s Prayer,” Little Falcons #39, Prayer, p. 12. (http://www.littlefalcons.net/pdf/2014_Backissues.pdf)

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“… And here the whole prayer (and with it our whole life) is lifted up, is raised to heaven, for heaven is, after all, that vertical dimension of life, that reference of man to the higher and spiritual…” ~ Schmemann, p. 21, http://www.svspress.com/our-father/

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Idea: Find simple experiments that can help you explain “omnipresence” to children in this science-focused lesson plan that teaches us about God’s presence everywhere, here: http://storage.cloversites.com/waipunachapel/documents/Kaboom%20Week%205%20Omnipresent.pdf

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