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Dear Daddy or Our Father? (Matthew 6:9)

I am going to begin a new sermon series on the prayers of Jesus and so I am researching and studying what is commonly called The Model Prayer today. I am amazed that Jesus taught his disciples to call God, “Father.” We do not have to call him the high holy one. We do not have to address God in flowery language. We can just call him “Father.” What a special relationship we have.

It is odd that Jesus taught us that we can just call God our Father, yet humans seem to require longer, pious designations. They require people to call them various titles like “high holy father,” “reverend,” “pontiff,” etc. Since God does not need these titles, it certainly seems that the created should avoid such titles. We are nothing and all the glory must be pointed at God.

Some have argued that Jesus is saying that we should address God as “dear daddy.” The argument is that the word “Abba” means “daddy.” I thought the ESV Study Bible point a very concise argument together for this point:

6:9 Father (Gk. pater, “father”) would have been “Abba” in Aramaic, the everyday language spoken by Jesus (cf. Mark 14:36; Rom. 8:15; Gal. 4:6). It was the word used by Jewish children for their earthly fathers. However, since the term in both Aramaic and Greek was also used by adults to address their fathers, the claim that “Abba” meant “Daddy” is misleading and runs the risk of irreverence. Nevertheless, the idea of praying to God as “Our Father” conveys the authority, warmth, and intimacy of a loving father’s care, while in heaven reminds believers of God’s sovereign rule over all things.

I really could not say it better. Don’t fall into either extreme. We maybe too formal in our prayers and the model prayer teaches against that. We need to talk to God like he is our dad. But we cannot lose our reverence and respect for who we are speaking to when we address him. Speak to him like a Father, but respect him as a humble child.