Should we call God our "Father"?

Can we learn from the pattern prayer the Lord taught the disciples about the use of the divine name "Father"?

Teaching His disciples to address the Father, "Our Father Which art in heaven" (Luke 11:2), introduced a profound difference in speaking to God. This elevates prayer to the kind of communication that takes place within the Godhead. When the Lord prayed in John 17, He addressed His Father six times in 26 verses. By doing so, He deliberately expressed intimacy ("Father," vv 1, 21, 24), urgency ("O Father," v 5; "O righteous Father," v 25), and cogency ("holy Father," v 11; "O righteous Father," v 25). He is requesting His Father to act consistent with His holy and righteous character. As a result, those whom the Father had given to Him would be preserved from the world (v 11) and enabled to be "imitators of God" (v 25) because divine love would be "in them" (v 26). Accompanying that, the Son Himself would be in them as their source of grace (1:16) flowing from His fulness (see Col 2:9, 10). Since Christ is all and in all (Col 3:11b) to believers in this age, therefore, grace characterizes them personally and in the assembly (vv 12-17).

This relationship with the Father is New Testament truth. That is a unique feature of the Lord’s "model prayer" (Luke 11:2-4). This is consistent with the subject of prayer in the New Testament. Prayer, with perhaps only one exception (1 Timothy 1:12), is addressed to the Godhead, particularly the Father (Ephesians 5:20). Any other prayers directed to the Lord Jesus are connected with visions of Him. Primarily, then, we speak to the Father in prayer, but that certainly is not a limitation.

The fulness of what this title means to us is beyond our finite grasp. The Lord teaches us that we can expect only good from our Father (Matthew 7:11). He assures us that the Father loves us (John 16:27). We learn from Ephesians 1 of the riches and glory of all that our Father has provided for us in Christ, purchased at the infinite cost of precious blood (Ephesians 1:3-7, 11-14). With such a liberal and mighty Father, we should have great confidence in His ability and wisdom in answering our prayers. John’s gospel highlights the relationship between the Father and the Son. There, we learn the constancy and intimacy of the Father’s care for His Son. This is the model for our relationship with our Father. An appreciation of this relationship will become evident in our prayers.

D. Oliver