There is one part of the Lord’s Prayer that I never really understood. Not that I fully understand every part of what is the most glorious blueprint for prayer, mind you, but I never quite followed why Jesus wanted his disciples to pray, “…Who art in heaven.”
“Our Father…” I get the importance of that. As J.I. Packer once said, “The revelation to the believer that God is his Father is in a sense the climax of the Bible.” Amen.
“Hallowed be Thy Name…” I get that too. Oh, that I might live and die for this Name and the honor of it.
And so on…
But, “Who art in heaven,” this I didn’t understand. What is the importance of this thought? I know God is in heaven, but I also remember my Sunday school lessons from Kindergarten: God is everywhere. Theology for 5-year-olds or not, it’s still top-notch truth.
I had a clue, though. I had heard Tim Keller talk about this thought in conjunction with God’s power. I don’t remember what he said, exactly, but I started thinking that Keller was on to something, yet I didn’t know why.
So this past February, while on vacation in sunny and warm Texas, one morning I was sipping ice tea while sitting in this delightful hole-in-the-wall restaurant called Granny D’s. Anyway, I was journaling out my prayers as I sat at my booth, and when I got to “Who art in heaven,” I wrote spontaneously in praise, “You see all. You know all. He does whatever pleases Him!”
I was quoting a verse from the Psalms, but I didn’t know where. When I looked it up…I wrote it out, “Our God is in the heavens; he does all that He pleases.” Psalm 115:1 (ESV)
And here’s what I saw…when we speak of God as Father, we are to think of His love – that, I believe, is the great truth emanating from that name – He loves me. Yes, He is my God, but not only that – He is my Father! Hallelujah!!
But if God is only loving toward me, and not able to help me, then He is no more than a benevolent grandfather in the sky. So, in the next breath, Jesus is recalling glorious Psalm 115:3, moving us to remember that He is not only loving toward us, but also able to do all that pleases Him. He is able!
This happy truth is bringing joy to my daily time in the Lord’s Prayer. I now start my prayers remembering that God is my loving Father: “This I know, that God is for me.” Psalm 56:9 (ESV) Like a loving Father, He longs to do good to me.
But then, when I pray, “who art in heaven,” I also now remember His power. So not only does God desire to do good to me…He is gloriously able. Hallelujah! For my God is in heaven; He does whatever He pleases.