In his book Kneeling with Giants, Gary Neal Hansen explores the methods of prayer practiced by the renowned of Christendom. He devotes an entire chapter to Martin Luther and allows the Reformer to expound the virtues of the Lord’s Prayer. To Luther, the Savior-taught prayer is the trellis on which all his prayers approached heaven. He did more than mumble it by rote to satisfy the order of a service.
Which art in heaven… have we planted the words so deep inside they are firmly there when needed? Or did we learn them by rote so as to only produce babble without thought?
What do the words mean? For some, they form a bridge connecting the declaration of relationship to the acclamation of His holiness. Alone, they distinguish our Father from any earthly father. Is that their true significance?
The concept of God in heaven was not new. In praying to dedicate the temple, Solomon begged God to look upon His children from heaven. That God was given a home on earth was a transformational moment of the past. In Jesus’ day, a time-shattering occurrence was yet to come when the redeemed would become the temple of the Holy Ghost! Jesus’ prayer set the stage for the shock and awe of eternal divinity coming to indwell mortal man!
The words pin-point a position rather than a location. Our Father is above…all. He reigns over all the earth and over the hierarchy of demons in the spirit world. Which art in heaven ascribe to Him absolute authority. No other being in time or space ranks higher than He.
Being supreme, our Father doesn’t humiliate Himself by the usage of deceit and subterfuge to insure His will. He is all powerful. Unlimited in understanding, He depends on neither visual appearances nor man’s judgments. His eyes pierce the depths of human hearts. The Progenitor of all, He can see the end from the beginning.
Our Father operates outside of time where a day can be like a thousand years. He can make time stand still and turn a sundial backwards. In all majesty, holding court in elevated mystery above the clouds, being the only wise God, He is still our Savior, as close as our hearts and as intimate as the Lover of our souls. My lover is mine and I am His. Our Father which art in heaven…