If you are new to the Series read “Lord, Teach Us to Pray, Part 1” and I do hope you “did your homework” (Memorized the Lord’s prayer) if you had not already done so!
The Six Sections of the Lord’s Prayer
The Lord’s prayer can be nicely broken down into six portions. By looking at each of these portions, we are able to see how God intends us to start our prayers, and how our prayers should move through different stages. This is all done in a way to worship Him and recognize who He is in our lives. The 6 portions of the Lord’s prayer can be described as: Relationship, Worship, Lordship, Sonship, Fellowship and Leadership.
This week we will be addressing Relationship: “Our Father in Heaven.”
Notice Jesus’ words in Matthew 6:9
“In this manner, therefore, pray…”
He didn’t say, “When you feel like worshiping me through prayer, pray this…all other times just pray in any way you want. Be selfish, pray for others, just shout up to me however you want.”
No, our Lord is a bit more directed then that. Yes, we have the freedom to go before Him when we want, regardless of our sinful state (Thank You Jesus!), however, that doesn’t mean we don’t need to address Him appropriately and speak to them as though He is the God of the Universe – Maker of all!
Imagine how you would feel if God was right here physically in front of you right now. What would you do? I can tell you. You would fall on your face and probably die because His glory is too much for us to comprehend or even physically handle. Yet we just address Him as though he is some genie in a bottle. Some psychologist who is there to hear all of our problems.
This isn’t how our relationship with Him was designed. There is a time and a place for prayer of all sorts, please don’t get me wrong, however we need to remember how Jesus told us to pray so we can model our prayers after that. After all, He did know what He was doing when He prayed!
God does allow us to be “selfish” in this prayer (if you will). The first three sections are directed to God and the last three are directed towards us. We acknowledge and praise His relationship with us, worship Him, praise His Lordship and power. And then we get to turn the tables – Forgive us, help us forgive others, lead us and deliver us!
We aren’t to go marching into prayer barking orders at Him and praying to Him as though we are making a list for Santa. We approach Him with humility. Thank Him for who He is. Praise Him for His power and Majesty! Pay Him the respect He so clearly deserves.
Relationship: “Our Father in Heaven”
If you are a believer, you already have a relationship with God. Therefore, you are not praying for a relationship with God, you are praying because of your relationship with God. This is how you can be with God.
Do you need to see some grace in what I have said thus far? He doesn’t love us because we pray. He doesn’t love us only when we pray. He loves us just as much when we don’t pray. Yes, our relationship with Him is that amazing. By starting the prayer with “Our Father in heaven” we can focus on His love for us.
By praying to Him as “Our Father” and acknowledging that level of intimacy, it adds depth to our relationship. I don’t know about you, but I do not want a shallow relationship with my Maker. I want to know Him. I want to curl up on the couch with my Abba Daddy and read His Words to me and pray my words to Him, my Father in Heaven.
Please open your Bibles and read John 15:1-8. In this passage, Jesus explains the relationship between believers and Christ. He is the Vine, we are the branches.
“If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you.” John 15:7
Did you catch that?
“Abide”, meaning “remain,” “stay around.” Not meaning “come and go” or “when it is convenient.” Stay around. “Be in relationship” means “be in the Word and pray”.
“My Words”. His Words are right there in front of you. In that big book. Get to know those words and you get to know our Lord and Savior. You will begin to pray those words the closer you get to them. What better words to use than His Words?
Okay, if you are asking “What does John 15 have to do with the Lord’s prayer?” Let me tell you what I think: This defines our relationship with Him. It shows how we relate to Him (we are the branches growing on Him. We are one). It shows how we grow in Him (we are in His word, we bear fruit, we strive to be like Christ, and therefore grow more on the vine or “in Him.”)
This weeks challenge: Think about the Lord’s prayer when you are in prayer. Spend a few minutes just thanking Him for the relationship He so graciously gave us. Thank Him for what your relationship with Him means to You. Focus this week on your relationship with Him. Do you give Him your time? Do you spend time in His Word?
Next week: “Hallowed be your name” (Worship)
Stay in the Word and pray to your Lord daily,
In Him, Nikki