Our Father in heaven,
Hallowed be Your name.
Prayer is one of God's appointed means of bringing the elect to faith.
100. What doth the preface of the Lord's prayer teach
A. The preface of the Lord's prayer, which is, Our Father which art in heaven, teacheth us to draw near to God with all holy reverence and confidence, as children to a father able and ready to help us; and that we should pray with and for others.
Each of us has four basic relationships:
1. Self. If we don't like ourselves, we are never going to know any of the “fruit of the Spirit.”
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.
Gal. 5: 22-23
The standard Christ gives us for loving our neighbor is self love.
“Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”
Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”
Matt. 22: 36-40
Until we learn to love ourselves, we will never know contentment.
2. Significant others. Life will be pretty miserable if you don't get along with those significant others – your family, neighbors, co-workers, etc. who populate the world in which you live.
3. The world in which you live. If you don't like your city, state, country, company you work for, etc. you are going to be discontented regardless of your circumstances.
4. God. Whether you believe in a deity or not, our Creator is a Force to be reckoned with. Until we are in a right relationship with God, we are at war with nature.
That is what the preface to the Lord’s Prayer is teaching us: The absolute necessity of being in a right relationship with our Heavenly Father.
This is vitally important for us to understand today. People are re-imaging God to meet their own prejudices, and then wondering why that “god” isn't meeting their needs or answering their prayers. All people don't pray to the same deity. There is only one true God, and He has revealed Himself in His Word, the Bible.
God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM.
Ex. 3: 14
The one, true God is Who He is, not who we might want Him to be. What Jesus is teaching us in the preface of the Lord’s Prayer is that no one can really pray to God acceptably until he is in a right relationship with God.
. . .as we had nothing to do with our physical birth, but received it as a sovereign gift of God, we likewise have nothing to do with our spiritual birth but receive it also as a sovereign gift.
We are not God’s children because we have chosen to adopt Him.
But when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption as sons.
And because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying out, “Abba, Father!”
Gal. 4: 4-6
We can only pray, Our Father . . . because He has adopted us. Only adopted children can truly pray.
Our Father in heaven
What is Jesus teaching us here?
1. We should come to God where He is, in all His glory and holiness. God is God. He is not our personal servant, our “Santa Clause” to be summoned when we need Him. True prayer cannot exist without humble worship.
“In Heaven” does not mean that God is too remote to care, or so removed that we need intermediaries. Our Father, who is the Lord of all creation, the sovereign ruler of all that exists, is available to His children. We must remember Who we are talking to when we pray.
2. We should come to God with an overwhelming sense of awe and reverence. We must never bring God down from Heaven and place Him on our level. God is not like us.
whom then will you liken God?
Or what likeness will you compare to Him?
The workman molds an image,
The goldsmith overspreads it with gold,
And the silversmith casts silver chains.
Whoever is too impoverished for such a contribution
Chooses a tree that will not rot;
He seeks for himself a skillful workman
To prepare a carved image that will not totter.
Isa. 40: 18-20
When Jesus taught us to pray to our Father in Heaven, He was reminding us that our Father is God. We must never presume upon our adoption as His children.
High Above Us, Yet Close At Hand
Both truths are equally important. The way to God who is high above us, yet close at hand is Jesus Christ. Jesus brings us to the Father without any false exalting of humanity, or any dishonoring of God.
Therefore, brethren, having boldness to enter the Holiest by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way which He consecrated for us, through the veil, that is, His flesh, and having a High Priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful.
Heb. 10: 19-23
Because of Christ’s saving work on the Cross and present intercession, we have access to the great and sovereign God who loves us as a father loves his children, can actually help us.
"Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.
Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever.
1. What is essential before we can pray effectively?
2. What important truth does Matt. 10: 34-36 teach us?
3. What are some common misconceptions about man’s relationship to God that prevents us from praying as Jesus taught us to pray? (Safety Kurt Coleman said via Twitter before Sunday's practice: “Prayers and condolences go out. May God protect us and serve us in this time of need.”)
4. Why can all Christians pray to God directly, with reverence and confidence?
5. Explain how the great distance between our holy God and we His creatures is overcome by Christ, without that great distance being reduced in any way?