Let’s pause our day for 2 minutes and consider: What does it mean to have God as our Father.
- Does it matter?
- And if so, How does it matter?
- What does it matter that when Jesus tells us to pray in Matt. 6, He begins with… “Our Father”?
1.) It means Relationship
Have you ever noticed how formal and shall we say…. religious the words “Our Father” have become? Did you know that was the VERY THING Jesus was teaching against in Matthew 6? (See Post: 2 Words) Right before Jesus tells us how to pray He says this:
“And when you pray, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do, for they think that they will be heard for their many words.
(Matthew 6:7 ESV)
Many Christians read that verse and think, “yea, I know people who do that….” But friend, that can EASILY be me and likely….. be you! Often I slide into prayer beginning with “Father…..” and sadly, it means nothing. There is no thought or consideration of the relationship God has provided. Just… a token “Father…” and off I go.
When we reduce the word “Father” to a token word to start off a prayer…. Well, you tell me… has it become an empty phrase?
When Jesus tells us we are to pray to the Father, he is saying something about the amazing relationship we have with God. He is telling us that we come to Him, relationally. He is not distant! He is our Father! We are His children!
I can not imagine a stronger relational way for Jesus to encourage a believer to come and pray. What more could He have said?
2.) It Means More Than A Token Prayer
The other day I was lost in my day. It was a trying day to say the least. I saw someone in passing and I said: “Good Morning!” Now my day had not been all that good…. and it was no longer morning…. these are just words. It is so easy to treat what Christ has provided in a similar way. “Good Morning”, “Our Father” are just words to say…. you get the point.
Back to our verse: Jesus said: “Don’t heap up empty phrases like the Gentiles do….” Gentiles were those who were not in a relationship with God. They were not seeking to be true followers of God. Nothing has changed today. Many people, in our day, toss up a token “Our Father”. They are not living for God, nor do they really want to live for God. They have no daily relationship with God or even a desire for one. Maybe they learned the Lord’s prayer in Sunday school when they were little. Maybe they were told: “say this, and God will really hear you….” But, Jesus is telling us that we are not to pray like that. Why? Go back and read point #1. Because of relationship!
3.) It Means Gospel
God hears us not because of the many words or the empty phrases we use (see again the verse above). He hears us because of His Son!! Our Father means the Gospel or you could say: The means for us to pray (Our Father) is the gospel. Consider what Christ has done to make prayer to “Our Father” possible.
The reason we can pray to the Father is because Christ brought us into a relationship with the Father. We can repent and believe in Jesus and instead of being enemies of God (Ephesians 2:1-4) we are children of God. (Romans 8:14-17, Galatians 4:1-7 ) Whoa!
Praying to the Father is more than words! It is calling out to the Father because Jesus made it possible for us to do so. He died on the cross to make a relationship available to you and I!
So, let’s slow down today and consider what it means to pray to the Father. And one of the many things it means is: Gospel. IS there anything that you can think of that is more encouraging than the Almighty, Infinite God is…… YOUR Father? Christ death on the cross provided for that relationship!
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