Sep 05

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The two words under which this is written, uses the definite article “the” and is followed with the word “Father.” It is to call attention to “God, the Father,” and he is one! It occurred to me that we may not have given enough attention to this subject of correctly using the pronoun 1) “My” or 2) “Our,” when addressing “God? Both are personal pronouns, but one is more “personal” than the other one. You see “Our” is you and me and “My” is only me. So, is it proper to say, “my God,” or “Our God?”
The first thing that comes to my mind is when Jesus was asked by the disciples to teach them how to pray. Please notice the words with which Jesus starts the prayer: “Our Father which art in heaven.” It is the pronoun “our” that attention is called, just here. When you pray, with which pronoun do you start to prayer: 1) “My Father” or 2) “Our Father?” It is understood that it was the disciples who asked Jesus; therefore, the plural pronoun is used. Nevertheless, the question is for Jesus to teach each one, as in the singular, how to pray. Each one would be praying to “the Father,” as they might pray as a group at times but individuals at other times. Therefore, the question, was Jesus teaching them to use the plural pronoun when addressing God, the Father, in prayer both individually and as a group?
Of course, when leading the congregation in prayer, it is only right to use the plural pronoun, “Our,” as in “Our Father,” and not the personal “My Father.” As a starter, it is only right to look at the times people are praying in the New Testament and see how they started their prayers, if such can be found.
Jesus expressed his personal relationship with “God the Father,” by using the personal “My Father” but he was showing his close relationship as “The Father and The Son,” which no one else has. Nevertheless, we do have a relationship with “God the Father” as “Father and son;” thus, it may be harder for us to understand, when we use the same personal pronoun when we are addressing “The Father” in prayer. It may be the case, that you have never even thought about the subject! Nevertheless, read Jesus’ words when he prayed: “O my Father, if this cup may not pass away from me, except I drink it, thy will be done” (Matt. 26:42). The words, “O my Father,” can never be used as Jesus did, as his relationship to “the Father” come from the lips of one whose relationship “to the Father,” was like none other! To help with this, let us turn to these words of Jesus, as he answered a question from Philip: “Lord, shew us the Father, and it sufficeth us” (John 14:8). Jesus replied, “Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? he that hath seen me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou then, Shew us the Father?” (verse 9). Then, Jesus continued: “Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? the words that I speak unto you I speak not of myself: but the Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works” (verse 10). These words are here given to help us understand that the relationship between Jesus and God the Father, was different from any other! Nevertheless, if we are saved by the blood of Jesus, we may address God in prayer, with the words, “my Father.” One more verse just here: “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me” (Johm 14:6). No one else can in truth utter such words!
It was common for Paul to use several phrases when praying, such as:
1) “May God himself, the God of peace …” (1 Thess. 5:23);
2) “For what thanks can we render to God again for you …” (1Thess. 3:9);
3) “I thank my God upon every remembrance of you, … “ (Phil. 1:3);
4) “That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, …” (Eph. 1:17);
5) “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, …” (Eph. 1:3);
6) “First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for you all, …” (Rom. 1:8)
7) “Wherefore also we pray always for you, that our God would count you worthy of this calling, …” (2 Thess. 1:11);
8) “May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father,…” (2 Thess. 2:16); and
9) “I always thank my” God as I remember you in my prayers,…” ( Philemon 1:4).
Truly it is a blessed privilege to use any of the phrases, that Paul used when praying! However, we must notice, that these are Paul’s personal and private prayers; private as in he was not leading others in prayer.
By way of concluding this article, even when Paul was not leading others in prayer, we are blessed in that we can use any of the phrases Paul used. It should be noted that to use the words, “my God,” while leading the congregation in prayer, is not a place to use such words, “my God,” as “my” is a personal pronoun and would not include others who are present!
If you have never thought about this subject, when is the proper place to use the personal pronoun “my,” and when to use a plural pronoun “our,” I trust that this article will be helpful.

Frank R. Williams

Permanent link to this article: https://okcsbs.com/the-father/