Continuing to look at the Lord’s Prayer, I want to focus on the opening lines (Matt. 6:9). All passages are from the NLT.
Our Father in heaven,
may your name be kept holy.
The form of address is beautiful – at once acknowledging God as Lord of heaven and Earth, and yet also personal and loving. There is both an intimacy and a majesty to this address: Jesus calls God his father, and speaks to him boldly as a child is entitled to. At the same time, Jesus declares that God is holy, that He is awesome and worthy of worship and praise.
The Lord’s prayer starts by reaffirming that we have a relationship with God, and it is by the right of this relationship that we approach the Lord of all creation. We declare that God is holy, and affirm our commitment to Him. We show this commitment, as His children, by trying in turn to be holy.
Both parts, I think, must be seen in conjunction: We recognise that God is holy; we recognise also that we are His children. We respond to that by learning from our Father and striving to live in holiness. In Peter’s first letter he expands this theme:
So you must live as God’s obedient children. Don’t slip back into your old ways of living to satisfy your own desires. You didn’t know any better then. But now you must be holy in everything you do, just as God who chose you is holy. For the Scriptures say, “You must be holy because I am holy.” (1 Pet 1:14-16)
There are other implications that are worth considering. If we all call God our father, we are all equally His children. We must love and honour also our sisters and brothers in Christ. Peter continues a few verses later:
You were cleansed from your sins when you obeyed the truth, so now you must show sincere love to each other as brothers and sisters. Love each other deeply with all your heart. (1 Pet 1:23)