One of the best things our parents ever did for those of us who had siblings was to let us know they loved our brother(s) or sister(s) as much as they loved us. Think of how bent and distorted we would have grown up to be if we thought we were loved more or were the MVC (most valuable child). We would have grown up with the “I” disease—thinking that the world revolved around us. Such an outlook makes it difficult to merge into the adult world. Jacob was raised in this manner and his entitlement mentality was something God ultimately had to wrestle out of him (Genesis 32).
I have two brothers and a sister and learned at an early age that I was loved, but not elite. I had to “share” my father and mother with my siblings. I think that’s exactly what we’re to see when Jesus tells us we are to address God as “Our” Father when we pray. As our Father, God knows us intimately and loves us ultimately, but we are not elite. We “share” Him with a world of others.
This is just one of the things that makes God so good—He has this incredible love for everyone in the human family. He loves those who love and serve Him, people who are indifferent about Him, and even those who violently oppose Him and His people (think Isis, Boko Haram, or Saul of Tarsus). He is the Father of all and loves each of His children. Don’t get the idea that He’s a softie because He’s not—He’ll chastise and discipline whenever and wherever it’s needed and sentimentality will not get in the way. Those who choose to remain disobedient will bear the punishment for that. Nonetheless, His loves all of His children and provides sunshine and rain for all of them (Matthew 5:45).
We are to come to our Father with a consciousness of community. It’s not good for us to be alone and God has made sure we’re not. We are surrounded with a world of people. We are made for community because we’re made in the image of God and He is relational. In Genesis 1:26 we read, “Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image.” Who was He speaking to? It wasn’t the angels because we’re not made like them (Psalm 8:5; Matthew 22:30). He was speaking to the Son and the Spirit. In John 17:24 Jesus speaks of His Father’s love for Him “before the creation of the world.” God is a God of relationship and community.
We’re born into community. Babies don’t crawl out from under rocks; they have a father, mother, grandparents, cousins, aunts, uncles, etc. It’s the same way with disciples as Paul tells us that we’re all baptized into one body (i.e., the church) in 1 Corinthians 12:13. We’re born into a family!
It’s not good to be alone and the model prayer reminds us it’s not good to come to God as if we were alone. We come to Him as part of a world-wide family.