First and most importantly, our prayers must be directed to our Heavenly Father.
It is interesting to note that the Israelites generally addressed God formally, using words such as these: “Ali” (my Father), or “Abinue” (our Father). In contrast, Jesus used “abba”, which is the ordinary, intimate form of the Aramaic word for father. The English equivalent to this word would be “Daddy” or “Papa”. It’s like saying: “Our Heavenly Papa …” or “Our Heavenly Daddy …”
In Matt. 7:7-11, Jesus promises the following:
“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened. Which of you, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!”
Jesus wanted us to know that our relationship with God through prayer is not with a distant being who doesn’t understand us, but with a loving papa that cares for us; who allows us to run into His arms and cry, “Daddy! Papa!” Our God is a loving father who considers us His own sons and daughters.
But let’s consider for a moment the rest of the phrase: Hallowed be your name. These words are put here to remind us that though we are to address God as someone who loves us and cares for us as a Papa or a Daddy, he is still our Creator, and He must be approached in an attitude of worship. His Holy name is above any other in the universe. We should never approach Him boastfully and without respect; but humbly, acknowledging Him as being the all-powerful, all-present, eternal, unchangeable, loving God.
We live in a society where children often don’t respect their parents. They address them rudely, refuse to obey, and only come to them when they need something. All too often, when parents get too old to care for themselves, they are put into nursing homes; for their children are just too busy to take care of them.
In this light, it would seem that approaching God reverently and humbly stands in direct contrast to the idea of God as our Papa. But does it? The fifth commandment says: “Honor your father and your mother” (Exodus 20:12). If we are counseled to respect our parents on earth, even when sometimes they may not deserve it, then how much more honor and respect does our Heavenly Daddy merit?
“Heavenly Papa, holy is your name. I love You, Daddy, and I humbly come into Your presence to talk to You. Guide me, for I am lost without Your counsel.”