Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Picture Of God

“This, then, is how you should pray: “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your  Kingdom come, our will be done on earth as it is in heaven." Matthew 6:9-10

You probably recognize this as the first two verses of "The Lord's Prayer". To put this prayer in context He has just told his disciples how NOT to pray and now He proceeds to instruct them in prayer.

How many times in your life do you suppose you have prayed the Lord's Prayer? If you have children you may have taught it to them.

What if I told you Jesus didn't give this to the disciples as a prayer to pray but as a pattern for how to pray?

And what if I told Jesus didn't didn't give this to the disciples as a prayer to pray but also as a picture of God.

Jesus is saying, "When you pray, pray according to this pattern."

He is saying, "When you pray, think of God in this way!"

So, Brad, are you saying I shouldn't say the Lord's Prayer?

No, I'm not saying that at all! What I am saying is you shouldn't limit your praying to a prescribed prayer. I am saying realize prayer is a way to get to know God better if you learn this pattern. I am saying that prayer will become much more meaningful as you understand the picture of God presented by Jesus in this teaching.

Here is an example.

“Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name" tells us two important truths about God. These are two amazing opportunities to get to know God through prayer. These are two great pictures of God!

First, God is approachable!

He is a Father Who lives in Heaven. But like a father He loves His children and longs to be with them (with you). He delights in having you call upon Him and commune through prayer. Tell Him your heart, your hurts and your hopes. Take time to listen to His whispers through His Spirit.

Second, God is awesome!

While God is approachable His Name is to be "hallowed". The word for hallowed is "hagios" or holy. You are to approach him with awe and wonder and humility and reverence.

You shouldn't approach your earthly father with disrespect. How much more "when you pray" should you approach your Heavenly Father reverently.

Do you see the pattern?

Do you see the picture?

When you pray will you let Jesus teach you to pray?

October 31, 2017

“And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him. “This, then, is how you should pray:" Matthew 6:5-9

You probably recognize this portion of Scripture as Jesus' thoughts leading up to the Lord's Prayer.

My preaching professor had a favorite statement he pounded into our heads, "A text without a context is a pretext."

Verses 5 though 9 provide the context for the Lord's Prayer.

Jesus begins his teaching on prayer by point out how they should NOT pray. "Don't pray like the hypocrites."

The disciples probably knew exactly what He meant by that but just in case they didn't Jesus got specific:

"Don't make a show of praying by going to public places to pray."

"Do go into a private place to do your praying to get along with your Father."

Prayer is intended to be a private and focused spiritual conversation with the Heavenly Father.

Did you notice a short phrase that is repeated several times in this portion of Scripture?

"When you pray......"

"When you pray......"

"When you pray......"

He didn't say "if you pray."

He didn't say "should you decide to pray."

Prayer is expected by God.

So, if you are expected to pray how should you expect to pray?

Jesus answered, "This is how you should pray....."

And then He taught them a pattern for prayer that has come to be known as "The Lord's Prayer".