Including Your Own Father in the “Our Father”

Regardless of what kids do, dad’s love is unconditional.

King David’s kids had issues.   The oldest son, Ammon was a rapist.   The next in line, Absalom had a thing for stepmothers and led a coup against dad.  The most famous sinner, Solomon broke every commandment.   If God said, “don’t accumulate horses, Solomon did the opposite.”  If God said, “Don’t marry foreign wives, Solomons married hundreds.”

However, when Absalom died, David cried:  “My son Absalom!  My son, my son Absalom! If only I had died instead of you,  Absalom, my son, my son!”    Regardless of Absalom’s sins, the dad in David loved him.

Dads across the centuries identify with King David.   He was a great king, a man after God’s own heart and a lousy dad.  That’s how most of us feel.  Loving God and our kids are always a given even though we fail.  In Matthew 7, Jesus asks “Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone?”   Because fathers love giving good gifts to their kids,  Jesus begins His teaching on prayer, with the phrase, “Our Father.”

Our Father

Imagine if King David and his sons were in the original audience of the Lord’s prayer.   King David mastered the art of prayer.  The Psalms was Israel’s prayer/hymn book.   Jesus quoted the Psalms more than any other book.

Jesus launches his teaching on prayer by inviting the world to call God “father.”    Can’t you imagine David composing an original Psalm on the grassy knoll?

What about David’s three kids?

Not so much.  Manasseh looks at dad thinking, “What a hypocrite.”     Jesus understands sons.   He knows how hard it is to forgive your father, regardless if he was a sinner or saint.   Because of our shared penchant to hold grudges, Jesus asks us to “forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.”

Including Your Own Father in the “Our Father”

Feel like holding grudges against dad?

Do so at your own risk.   Jesus commands us, “Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother or sister has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First, go and be reconciled to them; then come and offer your gift. (Mt 5:23,24) “And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive them, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins.”  (Mk 11:25)

The next time you pray “Our Father,”  remember you and your dad have the same Father in heaven.

Who were the Twelve Apostle’s dads?     In the Old Testament,  genealogies played a central role.   With the birth of Jesus,  the listing of “dads” ends.   While we are called to “honor” them,  their role changes.    Because of the new birth, we share “Our Father”  with every child of God.

Jesus cautions fathers and sons to realign their first love to the first family, “‘He who is loving father or mother above me, is not worthy of me, and he who is loving son or daughter above me is not worthy of me.” (Matthew 10:37).

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Author: gbradepp

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