Indeed, it is an amazing thing that we can call God our Father! A few years ago, I had the privilege of hearing an old pastor pray. I don’t think I can ever forget how he began that prayer: “Father–How you love that name ‘Father’!” It seemed as if those words were engraved on my heart at that moment.
The old man’s spontaneous adoration of his God opened an old idea to me in a new way. Though I had long known and believed that God loves me personally as Father, I confess that the idea had not occurred to me so plainly that God loves to be called Father. From an early age, I was assured that God was my heavenly Father who took care of me–most especially when my earthly father was unable to be with me and to do so. Yet, even though the Bible is laced through and through with the idea that God is the Father of those who fear and love him, somehow it hadn’t fully sunk into my thick skull yet that God loves being called Father. I hadn’t seen that angle of the thing before.
“You have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by which we cry, ‘Abba, Father!'” ~Romans 8:15
But how true it is that not only does God love us, he loves us to love him. And what better way is there for us to demonstrate love and trust in our transcendent, personal, invisible God and Savior any better than by obediently using his name “Father” in our thoughts and prayers?
“You, O LORD, are our Father, our Redeemer from of old is your name.” ~Isaiah 63:16
By calling upon God by this name, we are simultaneously demonstrating our dependence on him and claiming to be his sons and daughters. We take upon ourselves to rely upon him and to submit to him as to a father when we use his name, “Father”. It is a high privilege to come before the King of the Universe with all the familiarity of his own little children. By calling God “our Father”, we are laying hold of the mediatorial intercession of Christ on our behalf, as well as presenting ourselves before him as a member of the whole body of the saints. In essence, we take the promises of the covenant of grace in hand when we cry out to God as our Father.
“I thought you would call me, My Father, and would not turn from following me.” ~Jeremiah 3:19
And he loves this. It is evident in the Scriptures that God delights in it when his children repeat back his teaching to him–when they call upon his name–when they speak according to his word–when they imitate him–when they, in faith, believe him, wait for him, and claim his promises.
“Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children.” ~Ephesians 5:1
Indeed, in considering the fearsome holiness of God some may ask, “Who among us can dwell with the consuming fire? Who among us can dwell with the everlasting burnings?” (Isaiah 33:14). We are given the answer very clearly elsewhere: “The one who conquers will have this heritage, and I will be his God and he will be my son.” (Revelation 21:7).
“In that day you will ask in my name, and I do not say to you that I will ask the Father on your behalf; for the Father himself loves you, because you have loved me and have believed that I came from God.” ~John 16:26-27
My words fail from sheer wonder of the thing…that the everlasting God is our Father through Christ Jesus…