Many of us have said this prayer that Jesus taught. Sometimes we speak this prayer when we face trials in our lives and draw strength from the words. Sometimes, when we don't know what to pray, we say these words. But what does this prayer mean?
Our Father – Part 1
A. I want to share with you a prayer. It goes like this:
Help me to relax about insignificant details, beginning tomorrow at 7:41:23 a.m. EST.
Help me to consider people’s feelings, even if most of them are hypersensitive.
Help me to take responsibility for the consequences of my actions, even though they’re usually not my fault.
Help me to not try to run everything – but, if you need some help, please feel free to ask me.
Help me to be more laid back, and help me to do it exactly right.
Help me to keep my mind on one thing … oh, look, a squiral … at a time.
Help me to do only what I can, and trust you for the rest. And would you mind putting that in writing?
Keep me open to others’ ideas, misguided though they may be. Thank you, Lord. Amen
B. So maybe that’s not how we ought to pray. But most of us are familiar how Jesus said we ought to pray. It has been called “The Our Father,” “The Lord’s Prayer,” “The Model Prayer,” “The Disciples Prayer” and sure other things. But this prayer, that many in here have prayed either alone or with others is the most famous prayer of our day.
C. This morning we want to take a look at the first part of the prayer and next we the second half. I hope you will come back and finish out this prayer with us next week also.
I. God’s Relationship With Us
A. The prayer that Jesus taught and was recorded by Matthew in a longer form and Luke in a shorter form, begins with, “Our father who art in heaven, hallowed be your name.”
B. The very opening of prayer is relational. Jesus wants us to realize and embrace the relationship between us and God. For many, God is so far away. It is like God is removed from our individual lives. We even come at this opening we sometimes think, “God is way up in heaven and I am living my life – with all its ups and downs – right here on earth.” But that misses the point Jesus was making.
C. Jesus begins with relationship – God is our father. He is someone who loves us and cares for us. Jesus is not teaching that God is at a distance, but that God, who is to be revered and respected, is also our dad. We can come before him and just talk. There is no formula or code that we need to get in touch with God. There are no right words that have to be said to get God’s attention.
D. How would you feel if you saw my Joshua approach me in the lobby and heard him say, “O thou most noble father: could’st thou spare a slight segment of thy illustrious post service chronology, to hear a humble petition, albeit brief?” Is that showing me respect? Is that him being humble? Maybe, but you would also think that there was no relationship. As my child Joshua would say, “Hey, dad, I got a quick question for you.”
E. When you pray, talk to God like your dad. God knows everything already. You are going to shock him with your thoughts or feelings. But as you would a good earthly father, respect him and have some humility in your heart as you pray. Life is not about you – it’s about Him. Do you get that?
II. God’s Kingdom and Will
A. The next phrase and the last one we will look at this morning is, “Thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.”
B. Robert Law said, “Prayer is a mighty instrument, not for getting man’s will done in heaven, but for getting God’s will done in earth.”
C. Here is the way one person wrote these opening words. “Father, cause your great and holy name to be honored and reverenced and esteemed and treasured above all things everywhere in the world (including my heart). And cause you glorious, sovereign, kingly rule to hold sway without obstruction everywhere in the world (including my heart). And cause your all-wise, all-good, all-just, all-holy will to be done all over this world the way the angels do it perfectly and joyfully in heaven — and make it happen in me.”
D. Jesus teaches that prayer begins as worship before God. Prayer helps me to focus on God and God’s will not me and my will. Prayer lifts me up to His throne not seeking to bring God down to human wisdom and desires.
E. God has a desire about prayer. I like the way Paul teaches Timothy concerning prayer (Read 1 Tim. 2:1-4). Paul says that God desires all men everywhere to be saved. That’s a prayer that is God centered not self-centered.
A. We have two dogs in our house. Whenever sit at the table to eat they believe it is time for them to eat. Sometimes they will sit right beside you and whine for food. It can be frustrating. But I was thinking about that yesterday as one of our dogs believed he needed to be fed. I thought, “Do I sit at the Master’s table and long to be fed by God with such desire as this dog does in my house?”
B. Prayer is part of my spiritual feeding from God. I pray to God, but prayer is as much my listening as it is my talking. It as much about receiving as it is requesting.
C. Thank you for being with us today. In just a moment we are going to sing a song that we call an invitation song. If you have a spiritual need that you would like us a church to pray about, you are encouraged to come as we stand and sing.