This, then is how you should pray
I had a surprise visit from a very kind member of the Church family on Monday morning, and he came bearing gifts- books to read! One of those books is by Philip Keller, it’s subject ‘The Lord’s Prayer’ I have had in my mind throughout this pandemic the possibility of reflecting on the topic of prayer. It is after all, one of the great blessings that no power or person or pandemic can stop us from enjoying. Our prayers are never locked-down, they are always able to reach the heart of God.
What better prayer to study, than the Lord’s Prayer?
Thomas Watson said:
“As the moral Law was written with the finger of God,
so this prayer was dropped from the lips of the Son of God.”
Over the coming weeks then, God-willing, we will reflect together on the prayer the Lord taught his disciples to pray:
9 “This, then, is how you should pray:Matthew 6:9a
“‘Our Father in heaven
‘This then is how you should pray’
The first thing we should notice about the Lord’s prayer is that it is offers a model or template, a pattern for prayer. The Lord’s prayer is not the only prayer we should pray! The Lord Jesus says this is how we should pray, not what we should pray.
That’s not to say praying this prayer word for word is not beneficial. We used to do this in my childhood Church every Sunday morning. I suppose there was a danger of the prayer becoming a lifeless ritual but I remember it as a moving moment in the service, a powerful expression of our being united in Christ as together we repeated the words Jesus spoke all those years ago.
We are never taught in Scripture to pray to anyone other than God Himself. The way Jesus teaches his disciples to address God the Father may come as a surprise though. That the Lord Jesus encourages his followers to address God the Father as God our Father is worthy of our wonder. What cause have we for fear if God is our Father?
When we place our faith in Jesus, we are born again into a new life, the Spirit of God comes to live within us, and we are adopted into the family of God.
‘The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.” 16 The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. 17 Now if we are children, then we are heirs — heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ…
…31 What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32 He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?’Romans 8:15-17, 31-32
This is the basis for our prayer life, indeed it is the basis for our Christian life- the joyful assurance that in Christ we have been adopted into the family of God, we can cry out to Almighty God ‘Abba, Father!’
‘“Abba, Father! He that can say that, has uttered
better music than cherubim or seraphim can reach!
Abba, Father! There is heaven in the depth of that word!
There is all that I need!
All that I can ask!
All that my necessities can demand!
All that my wishes can contrive!