praying to our heavenly father (Matthew 6:9)

June 6th, 2024

9 “This, then, is how you should pray: Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name,

Over the next few weeks we will be taking some time to look at the prayer that Jesus taught us in Matthew chapter 6. Many of us know this as "The Lord's Prayer". In reflecting on this passage, we hope to become more consumed with the spiritual practice of praying to God every day. 

To say that prayer is simply part of the Christian life is a dramatic understatement. Prayer is what fuels the Christian life. To have the opportunity and ongoing privilege of fellowshipping with God in prayer is precisely the reason for our human existence. The chief end of God's intervention in the world, and His preoccupation with humans is to invite us into the enjoyment of communing with Him. This is what the gospel of Christ gifts us: the ability to enter freely into the throne room of God and speak to Him (Hebrews 4:16). Have we taken hold of this precious freedom we have? We may be losing out on the riches and blessings of Christ if we don't have any real communication with Him on a daily basis. To be a prayerless Christian is to have a faith that is dying and virtually broken.

For many of us, struggling to pray has become a normal way of living. It is possible that we have simply only prayed to God when life becomes challenging enough for us to ring His phone line and hope that He would answer. When we treat prayer as a call only to be used in cases of emergency, we completely misrepresent our own relationship to God. Jesus in His teaching on prayer teaches us exactly how we should envision our own relationship to the Lord. He begins with a simple acknowledgement of who God is to us. The verse doesn't articulate God as our 911 phone operator whom we have no affiliation to. We see God pictured here as our father.

Now, let us not get carried away with our human notions of a father as though they could be good enough to apply to God. Jesus taught us that this is a Father who is in heaven, not someone of this world. And this particular heavenly father seems to be ours. Meaning, there is a personal dimension by which we can claim God to be ours. We cannot regard Him as a distant creator who has no affection or time for His creation. Jesus is teaching us that there is a God who desires to father us through a deeply personal relationship in which we can communicate with Him on the most intimate level. Therefore, prayer is not some long voicemail you leave for a person you don't know. When we pray we are speaking to our very own father who knows us better than we know ourselves.

Have you ever considered the depth to which God the father knows you and cares for you? The Bible says that God knows the deepest parts of us and can see every single thought we've ever had (Psalm 139:1-2). Before a word is even spoken, He knows what we will say (Psalms 139:4). It was the Father who created us and knit us together in our mother's womb. We have been carefully woven together by the divine hands of God. Even the very hairs on our head are all numbered by Him. Is there anyone who knows us and loves us more than our heavenly father? This reality is what should compel us to pray, and pray as often as we can.

These may be familiar reminders to you or perhaps it is truly sinking in for the very first time. But this is the reason why God is worthy of our prayers. It is not simply because of what He can do for us, it is entirely because of who He is; He is our father. We are sons and daughters of the Most High God, bought with the precious blood of Jesus Christ. He has rescued us and redeemed us from a world of fear, brokenness and abandonment. He has now given us of His own Spirit so that we can cry out "Abba Father" (Romans 8:15; Galatians 6:4). What does this mean? Well, instead of running in fear from God because of our sins and disobedience, we run toward God. We run right into His presence with a heart full of joy because we have found in God every good and perfect gift (James 1:17).

The simple application of this week's verse is to avoid treating God as a person disconnected from our life. All of us must fully realize that there is a Father in heaven who knows our name and desires to fellowship with us. I believe that if God desires to spend time with us, we should desire all the more to spend time with Him.

Click here for more weekly devotionals