“Our Father in heaven” Matt 6:9b
“For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways, And My thoughts than your thoughts.” Isaiah 55:9
Father may be the title used to address God in the model prayer, yet heaven “in heaven” is the descriptor attached to the title. Why? Why describe God as “in heaven” when referring to Him as our father?
Father is a familiar, intimate, close, earthy term. It is tangible and immediate- something that most people can relate to. Heaven, in contrast, is transcendent and ephemeral. It is above both our experience and our ability to comprehend.
Likewise, God loves us as a Father, but is more than just that. He is more powerful, wise, just, and creative than we can hope to understand. When we ask Him for something, we do so based upon our limited viewpoint. When He allows something to happen, He sees the full extend of the impact it has on His entire creation.
Perhaps this is why He is described as being “in heaven” at the beginning of our prayer. We can proceed to confidently confess, request, and give thanks for things because God is in heaven. We may not know why things are happening, but God is unsurprised by them. We can pray in peace and confidence in the knowledge that the one we pray to can see history, the present, and the future from His vantage point in heaven.