1 Chronicles 29:11-14 “Yours, O Lord, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the victory and the majesty, indeed everything that is in the heavens and the earth; Yours is the dominion, O Lord, and You exalt Yourself as head over all. Both riches and honor come from You, and You rule over all, and in Your hand is power and might; and it lies in Your hand to make great and to strengthen everyone. Now therefore, our God, we thank You, and praise Your glorious name. But who am I and who are my people that we should be able to offer as generously as this? For all things come from You, and from Your hand we have given You.”
I think the reason why most people pray is to ask for and get something from God. Have you ever thought about the Lord’s goal might be in wanting to interact with us through prayer? Why would He call us into His presence? To answer this we need to remember what He told Israel in Deut. 6:5 “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.” He wants us to love Him and the main reason He tells us to draw near is to deepen our relationship with Him. In Matt. 22:38 He says that this is “the great and foremost commandment.” The most important things to the Father are strengthening our bond with Him and enjoying a deeply satisfying and life changing fellowship with Him. Of course there are other reasons we pray as well. We pray for guidance, we pray for other people, we pray for comfort, we pray for wisdom. The Lord does hear and answer our prayers, but our first motivation in coming before God should be to know Him. Because when we spend time with Him we are refreshed, and encouraged and energized. When we stop talking to Him, we start to drift in our devotion, and that is when everything starts getting confusing.
Jesus is the perfect One to teach us how to have a meaningful conversation with the Father because He is fully God and fully man. He demonstrates how to address the father and He also shows us how to pray in a way that ministers to our spirits. In Matt. 6:6 Jesus says “go into your inner room and pray to your father.” He wants your undivided attention because He knows how important it is for you to be heard, to have your sins forgiven, and to experience the renewing of your soul. He instructs you to seek Him privately, humbly, sincerely, and obediently, because He loves and accepts you just as you are. He does not want you to bear the burdens of religion, He wants you to enjoy the blessing of a relationship with Him. Then He asks you to call Him Father, trusting Him to be the One that loves you, the One that teaches you, and the One that provides faithfully for you. He tells us to ask certain things. There is a purpose in everything He encourages us to do. There is something about each petition that teaches us how to relate to God and meets our needs of belonging, our needs of worth, and our needs of competency.
In Matt. 6:9-13 Jesus instructs us: “Pray. Then, in this way: Our Father who is in heaven, Hallowed be Your name. Your kingdom come. Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we have also forgiven our debtors. And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen!”
The first thing Jesus teaches us is that the Lord’s name should be praised, that we recognize and revere God as sovereign and holy. “Our Father who is in heaven, hallowed be Your name.” We have to decide in our hearts who we believe God is, because that shapes how we respond to Him and how we live. This influences our attitude in approaching Him, it influences what we communicate with Him, and it influences whether we expect Him to answer or not. Jesus reminds that we are talking to our father in heave, the Sovereign of everything that exists (Psalm 103:19). He reminds us that our goal is to hallow, to bless, and respect His name. We are to bring honor and glory to Him with our lives. Jesus said in Matt. 5:16 “Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.” Jesus commands us to bring honor and glory to God not just because respect is due to Him but because doing so ministers to Him as well. We have a Holy Advocate in heaven that is always fighting for us, what a wonderful privilege! We never have to feel alone, we never have to feel hopeless, we never have to feel defenseless, because our Father in heaven hears and helps us. Read 1 Chronicles 29:11-14 and you will see how understanding this caused David to say what he did in that passage.
Tomorrow we will start with “Your kingdom come. Your will be done.”