This blog post is written as a follow-up to yesterday's sermon, "Persisting In Prayer".
Your understanding of your relationship with someone will always influence the way that you approach them. Whether or not you enjoy spending time with someone will almost always be affected nature of your relationship with them. If you have a very loving relationship with someone that you trust and who greatly enjoys your company, it will likely be easy for you to approach them and have conversation with them. You’ll also, most likely, find yourself naturally gravitating towards that person. On the other hand, you will likely be slower to approach someone that you believe doesn’t like you and/or doesn’t want to be around you. We have a natural desire to spend time with people that want to spend time with us. This is true of our relationships with our friends, classmates, acquaintances, siblings, aunties, coworkers, and God.
While preparing to preach yesterday’s sermon, “Persisting In Prayer”, I had a very strong desire for our people to realize the importance of understanding that we are God’s children as we seek God in prayer, and I believe that came through in sermon. I am writing this blog post to further emphasize this point because I believe that it is very important that we understand the nature of our relationship with God the Father as we approach God in prayer. Jesus believes this is very important as well.
Jesus' Model Prayer
In the first verse in Luke 11, Jesus took some time to pray to His Father. Afterwards, one of His disciples came to Him and requested that Jesus teach them how to pray. What Jesus says next, is what we often refer to as “The Lord’s Prayer.” This prayer of Jesus is a model for us to follow so that we know how to pray. I used to recite this prayer with my teammates before football games, but I never paid any attention to how Jesus begins the prayer. What is the first thing out of Jesus’ mouth as He demonstrates for us the proper way to approach God in prayer? Let’s look at the beginning of verse 2.
Luke 11:2a And he said to them, “When you pray, say: “Father…
Jesus goes on to say many important things, but this post will focus on the first word that comes out of Jesus’ mouth in this model prayer. Father.
One of the disciples asks Jesus how to pray, and its as if Jesus responds by saying, “The first thing you need to know is that God is your Father.” Here in chapter 11, He tells His followers that they are to pray as children of God, and later in Chapter 23, He pays the price necessary to make them children of God. In Chapter 23, He, The Son of God, is rejected & condemned as an enemy of God so that enemies of God like you and I, would be accepted and justified as children of God. In some of His dying breaths in Chapter 23, He says, “Father into your hands I commit my spirit!”. The irony is that at the same time, in those dying moments, He is also, into the Father’s hands, committing the spirits of His people. For in losing His first Son, The Father was gaining a multitude of sons and daughters. We are adopted by God the Father through the death of Christ, and we now get to approach God as "Father" because of what Christ has done.
Praying As Adopted Children
Approaching God as His adopted children changes everything. When God’s people approach Him in prayer, we do not approach as servants coming to their master, but as children approaching their infinitely loving Father. We don’t approach God as those that worry that they might be rejected; we approach as those that know that they are fully accepted and cherished because Christ was already rejected in our place. We don’t approach as if we are coming to a distant king that is indifferent to us; we approach as if we are coming to a loving Father that enjoys His relationship with His kids and holds us in a special place in His heart. We approach God knowing that we are delighted in as if we have literally been perfect children because we are received as if we were the perfect child of God, Jesus Christ.
Your understanding of your relationship with someone will always influence the way that you approach them. We will continue to hesitate to approach God if we don’t know Him as our perfect loving Father that chooses and cherishes us, but if we know Him as our perfect loving Father who chooses and cherishes us and enjoys our company, we will find ourselves more naturally gravitating towards Him in prayer.
Let us follow Jesus’ model by beginning our prayers with an understanding that we are approaching our perfect, loving Father.
This post was contributed by Antony 'Ant' Frederick. Ant serves as Pastor for Vision & Teaching at our church.