FAITHFUL WORDS Dr. Kenneth L. Faught A Heavenly Father “Pray then like this: Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name” (Matthew 6:9). This prayer is known by various names: “The Lord’s Prayer,” “The Model Prayer,” the “Our Father,” and even “The Disciple’s Prayer.” In many churches the prayer is used as a part of the liturgy on Sundays. The Lord’s Prayer offers a powerful reminder that we are God’s children. We are instructed to address him as Father. We are not just creatures of a Creator, but children of a Father. We enter his family by the new birth and are given all the rights and privileges of sons and daughters. The prayer is intended for all God’s children. We are taught to pray “give us” and “forgive us” and “lead and deliver us.” This keeps us from the error of the man who prayed, “Lord, bless me, my wife, our son and his wife, us four, no more!” The Lord’s Prayer is not just for personal, private, individual use. The Lord’s Prayer is a reminder that we are to respect God’s character. Yes, he is our Father. A good father loves his children, exercises benevolent authority and discipline, provides responsibly for needs, and sets the proper example. God does all this, and more, for us. He is also the heavenly Father – one who is holy. He does not suffer the limitations or restrictions of earthly fathers. Where do our prayers go? They go to heaven – and a heavenly Father who is almighty. The Lord’s Prayer is also a reminder that we are to remember God’s commandment. We are not to “take his name in vain” (Exodus 20:7). His name is “hallowed.” Getting the name right is the first sign of respect. Who is your god? What is his name? How is God’s name connected to your life? Not taking his name in vain means taking his name in earnest – doing the things which honor him. To pray The Lord’s Prayer is to recognize God’s claim upon us and our responsibility to live in accordance with his will. Dr. Faught is Pastor of The LaFollette United Methodist Church.