A Father’s Day Perspective of the “Our Father”

In studying to learn The Ten Commandments and in striving to live them, I have learned many astounding “coincidences” that God has hidden from us in plain sight. During the week of Father’s Day, I am reminded of one of those “coincidences.”
Hidden in Jesus’ response to the apostle’s plea for Him to teach them to pray, Jesus teaches them a prayer that reflects the Ten Commandments. Too often we rush through the Our Father, but let’s slow it down a bit and consider how, when we pray the Lord’s Prayer we are asking God our Father to helps us remember the Ten Commandments and integrate them into our character and into our daily lives.
Jesus begins His prayer with “Our Father, who art in heaven.” In this opening, Jesus is directing our attention to the God who created us, who loves us and to whom we owe everything. It is the same with the first commandment, “I am the Lord your God you shall not have any strange gods before me,” This Commandment directs our attention to the one and only God and warns of the false gods that draw our attention elsewhere. Furthermore, the opening sentence of the Our Father and the Ten Commandments invite us into relationship with God. Not a distant relationship, but an intimate and paternal relationship. So intimate that we are invited to refer to God as our Father. 
In the 2nd Commandment, we are warned to never use God’s name, which is holy and sacred, in vain. This is emphasized when we pray in the Our Father, “Hallowed be thy Name,” Given that God’s name is a reflection of God Himself, any misuse or desecration of His name reflects negatively on the Person of God. Again, here in the 2nd Commandment, and through the Our Father, we are invited into relationship with God our Father.
For a third time, Jesus invites us into relationship with Him as we pray, “Thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” Similarly, in the third Commandment God calls us into an intimate relationship with Him by reminding us to keep holy the Lord’s Day. Through the Sunday liturgy, Jesus is brought to us on earth in the re-creation of the last supper, in His giving of His life according to ‘thy will’ so that we could, one day, be with Him in heaven.
Having invited us into relationship with God, both in the opening of the Our Father and in the first three Commandments, our attention is then directed to our relationships with one another.

The Lord’s Prayer continues with, “Give us this day our daily bread,” Here, Jesus is teaching that we can trust God to give us all we need. Not just our daily bread, but everything we truly need. With our trust in God and with all our needs satisfied by Him, the temptations we are warned about in the Commandments, (killing, committing adultery, stealing, and lying) to satisfy our disordered worldly desires, lose their appeal, become unnecessary and even become undesirable.

Next, Jesus teaches us how to forgive when others harm us through killing, adultery, stealing or lying.  In the Our Father we pray, forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.” Jesus knows that it is through forgiveness that we mend the relationships that have been harmed and it is through forgiveness that we are reunited in the friendships our hearts desire. 
The last two Commandments, which warn us to not covet, may seem to be less important than the others. Don’t be fooled and miss out on the wise advice of these two Commandments. God’s advice becomes clear in light of the closing words of the Our Father, “Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.” Coveting is the temptation that sets into motion the evil consequences of breaking all the other eight Commandments. Therefore, to avoid evil, be attentive to quickly recognize when coveting enters your heart and promptly redirect your attention back to the 1st Commandment, to God our Father, His love and His mercy. 
All throughout scripture we find references about how we are made for relationship—relationship with God and with one another.  In His love, God gave us both the Our Father and the Ten Commandments to help us foster and experience the relationships God desires us to enjoy.
This Father’s Day, reflect on the relationship you have with your earthly father. If you are a father, reflect on the relationships you have with your children. Also, reflect on the relationship you have with the first person of the Blessed Trinity, God the Father. Hopefully these are relationships of joy and friendship. Unfortunately for some, there are disappointments and distance. In light of God’s words of wisdom in the Our Father and in the Ten Commandments, pray to Jesus and ask for His grace. With HIs grace, ask for His guidance and strength to begin taking small steps toward mending any hurt and bridge any distance, and thereby, set your heart on the path to the relationship you desire. 

I encourage you to revisit The Ten Commandments to rediscover how God is calling you to more closely integrate them into your thoughts and prayers. To help you rediscover them here are a variety of free resources available at GodsRecipe.org.

Image by Renata Sedmakova on Shutterstock

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Ed Van Buskirk is Founder and President of If U Love Me (GodsRecipe.org), a catholic apostolate dedicated to help restore truth in this world of confusion by teaching the time-tested wisdom and truth of the Ten Commandments. He’s author of the “God’s Recipe for a Wonderful Life” book and video course, given an Imprimatur by James V. Johnston Jr. Bishop of Kansas City-St. Joseph, Missouri. He recently founded the “God’s Recipe for School and Family” program for Catholic schools, to teach school children and their families how to learn and live the Ten Commandments. Ed speaks across the country and was recently a speaker at the Kansas City-St. Joseph diocesan Eucharistic Congress.

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