There are not a lot of examples in the gospels of people asking Jesus to teach them something. But in Luke 11, Jesus’ disciples ask Jesus to teach them to pray. Perhaps more amazingly is that Jesus teaches them to pray in just fifty-odd words (about 290 characters by my count – just a little more than a tweet!)
In the next 8 blogs, we’ll look at the Lord’s Prayer in Matthew 6 and Luke 11. We’ll do this slowly and allow the truths of Jesus’ teaching to shape and encourage our prayer lives.
19th April 2021
You know me as Thomas. There are only two people in the world who call me by a different name. James and Andrew (my sons) don’t call me Thomas – they call me Dad (or in Andrew’s case ‘Dada’!)
Why? Because my relationship to them is unique.
And not everyone can use the name Father for God. Only those who have a unique relationship with God can call him Father. I’m sure you’ll recall the amazing words at the start of John’s gospel,
But to all … who believed in Jesus’ name, he gave the right to become children of God. (John 1:12)
Only those who have been born again through faith in Jesus Christ are able to call God, our Father. Through faith we have been adopted into God’s family by grace. Paul writes that,
when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. (Galatians 4:4-5)
Salvation has caused something irreversible, unbreakable, and astonishing to happen – you are now a child of God. Your status has changed forever. Now you call God, Father. Notice that all three members of the trinity are involved in this great act. God the Father chose us for adoption through belief in Jesus Christ (Ephesians 4:4-5). And the Holy Spirit is placed within us as a seal, or a marker, of our adoption (Romans 8:15). And, as Paul says in Romans 8, it is this adoption that enables us to cry out Abba! Father!
But not only has this miracle happened to you, it has also happened to all who believe. So throughout the Lord’s Prayer, we’ll see that it is constantly in the plural – give us; forgive us; lead us; deliver us. This is a great challenge to our individualistic worldview where, if your prayers are like mine, too often they are give me; forgive me; lead me; deliver me. But Jesus teaches us to also pray in the plural – viewing ourselves not as individual brothers or sisters but as part of God’s great family.
And so it does not begin ‘My Father’, but ‘Our Father’.
How does this affect us as we pray this week?
As we go through this blog, I’ll keep coming back to this mnemonic, and I'd encourage you to allow what Jesus teaches us about prayer to impact how we pray and what we pray for:
P – PRAISE
R – REPENT
A – ASK
Y - YIELD
As you pray the word ‘Father’, allow yourself to be filled with praise and awe at the very fact that we are God’s children. Marvel in his grace towards us. Praise Jesus because it is only through Him that we can call God ‘Father’. Rejoice in the fact that we will always be his children and that title will never be removed from us.
Repent of the times when we have lost sight of the intimate and personal relationship that our Father has secured for us in Christ. Draw close to Him again, nurturing that Father-child relationship he has bestowed upon us.
Ask that we would all know and appreciate the wonder of having God as our Father – pray for your brothers and sisters that they would grow in their understanding of the love and acceptance of our Father. And know that whatever we ask for, our Father is perfectly good and loving.
Family members often resemble one another. Submit yourself to our Father once again and ask that we would continue to grow to be more like Jesus – bearing the family resemblance of our Father God. Seek to regularly speak to our Father throughout the day as different situations arise and people come into our mind.
Next - 'Our Father in Heaven'