Pastor Chris Olson: Morning Devotion 08/23/21
The scriptures say much about prayer. Perhaps the most recognized would begin with Matthew 6:9 and is referred to as “The Lord’s Prayer”.
“In this manner, therefore, pray: Our Father in heaven, Hallowed be Your name” Matthew 6:9
It is exciting to see over 100 of you coming out for the “Second Sundays” prayer times at Grace. There is an excitement and an expectation building as we spend more time with the Lord. There is no doubt in my mind that as we seek Him, we will find Him, and we will begin to look more like Him as we see the world from His perspective and reach out in His love.
The scriptures say much about prayer. Perhaps the most recognized would begin with Matthew 6:9 and is referred to as “The Lord’s Prayer”. At the beginning of Matthew chapter 5, we read that Jesus saw the multitudes, and He went up on a mountain and His disciples came to Him, and He taught them……for three chapters He taught them……some 107 verses He taught them! We might think of the Lord’s Prayer as a stand alone teaching, but it was smack dab in the middle of all this teaching. It’s worth noting that Jesus even speaks against using “vain repetitions” when we pray, so that’s certainly something to consider when we repeat this prayer word for word.
In today’s devotion, I’d like to simply examine who Jesus was including when He said we should pray “in this manner”, directing the prayers toward “Our Father”. Obviously, God was His (Jesus’) Father, and He was speaking to His disciples, but let’s go to the scriptures to find out who are God’s children that would be calling Him “Father”.
Paul, writing to the “saints” in Rome, those set apart and beloved of God, said in chapter 8 “for as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are the sons of God……and the Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God”. Paul also writes to the churches in Galatia “For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus” (3:26).
John wrote in John 1:12 “But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name” and again in I John 3:1, John declared “Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God”.
These verses confirm that if you love the Lord and believe in His name……if you are led by the Spirit of God and have faith in Christ Jesus, then you are a child of God, and He is your Father. In some ways, this is elementary because most of us have been told that God is our Father for our entire lives. The very end of Luke chapter 22 reveals that it was not so in those days. In a conversation with Jesus, the chief priests and the scribes asked, “Are You then the Son of God?”, and Jesus replied “You rightly say that I am.” The conclusion that they drew was that no further incriminating testimony was needed. Blasphemy had occurred in their minds.
All this to say that when Jesus said to the disciples that they should begin their prayers by calling God THEIR Father, this would have deeply troubled and completely shocked them. Of all the shocking instructions given by our Lord in these 107 verses, quite possibly none was more shocking to them than this. May we understand this day, that we can approach God like the most loving, caring, gentle dad in human history was approached by his favorite child. Jesus was explaining our reconciled position with His Father, who was now OUR Father, or Dad, or Daddy……whatever name expresses to you the most tender and personal love, care, and intimacy.
As we continue to grow in prayer at Grace, may we as believers, as children of God, all approach the awesome throne of OUR awesome Father in a completely surrendered state that has no fear or reluctance or hesitation just like a toddler crawling up on his loving daddy’s lap. There is rest and peace and security waiting there in His presence. What are we waiting for?
Praying for You!