I heard an excellent sermon tonight at Bible study! Bro. Kyle (my pastor) has started a series on prayer and it is exactly what I need! Tonight he talked about Luke 11:2 where Jesus is teaching his followers how to pray. (Actually, what's interesting is that they didn't ask to be shown how to pray- anyone can word a prayer- but they asked for Jesus to teach them "TO pray". To REALLY pray. And part of doing that is knowing who you're talking to). So in verse 2 he tells them to pray after this manner- "Our Father which art in heaven...." That line was all he focused on tonight. Who knew so much could be said in 6 little words!
Jesus said that when we pray we should remember that we are speaking to our heavenly Father. What is a father? A father is the provider, protector, corrector, life giver, and loving teacher of a family and home. Our heavenly Father, as expressed later in the chapter is so much better even than the best earthly father. I am very thankful for my dad. He is a reliable, trustworthy, hardworking, loving provider for our family and he is so wise! He makes me feel safe. But as much as I love him, he cannot compare to my heavenly Father. He is the ultimate provider (since He owns everything) and protector (since He is the Almighty One). He loves me SO much! This is the Father I pray to.
So often we just utter the phrase "Dear heavenly Father" at the beginning of our prayer and we go on into a ritualistic, routine, dry, empty prayer mostly full of selfish requests. But if we were to truly dwell for just a moment on who we are talking to and why we are able to call Him our Father and what it means to have the King of kings as our Father, it would change the way we come before him.
The verse also says "which art in heaven...". This phrase may seem unimportant...like "Duh- where else would he be." But it helps us to remember that he is SOOOOOO much higher than we are. He is in heaven. Heaven, a perfect, holy place, is his dwelling place. He has to humble himself to even look at earth. This high and lofty One, this Mighty One with so much power and majesty is the one we pray to. The one that we are commanded to pray to. The one that tells us to cast our cares upon Him for He careth for us. WOW! That's humbling and empowering all at the same time. Remembering just the meaning behind that short phrase brings us to God on our knees in a sort of humble boldness. It brings us to him in the right attitude.
"Prayer should not be regarded as a duty which must be performed, but rather as a privilege to be enjoyed..."