Friday, May 21, 2010

Prayer is a Relationship

 After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.
 Matthew 6:9-13

The Lord’s Prayer begins with relationships, specifically, our relationship to the Father. The principle name of God in the Old Testament is LORD, translated, “Jehovah” or “Yahweh.” The name Jehovah is derived from the Hebrew verb havah, “to be” or “being.” This word is almost exactly like the Hebrew verb chavah, “to live” or “life.” So when we read the name Lord, or Jehovah in capitol letters, in our Bibles, we think in terms of Jehovah as the Being who is the absolute self-existent One, who in Himself possess life, permanent existence.
God’s relationship to Israel is occasionally compared to a father/son relationship wherein they were called, His children. The Lord compares Israel’s exodus from Egypt and their wilderness journey to a child being picked up and carried by his father. The Lord provided for His children and protected them even when they didn’t deserve His blessings just as He does for us today. 
God requires obedience from His children therefore, God disciplines for our good. (Hebrews 12:10-11) The book of Judges tells us of Israel’s repeated apostasy, the abandonment or renunciation of their belief in God and so He allowed a godless nation to ravage their land and enslave the people. Why would God allow such a thing to happen to His children? Proverbs 3:11,12 gives us that reason. My son, despise not the chastening of the LORD; neither be weary of his correction: For whom the LORD loveth he correcteth; even as a father the son in whom he delighteth. He is a Father who is determined that His children will obey Him and grow in godliness before Him.
In the New Testament, Jesus gives a wonderful revelation of God as our Father. Philip saith unto him, Lord, shew us the Father, and it sufficeth us. Jesus saith unto him, Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? he that hath seen me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou then, Shew us the Father? (John 14:8,9) “Father” is probably the most common term we use in prayer. Jesus set the pattern in the “Lord’s Prayer” beginning the prayer with Our Father is recognizing that God is our Father and that He is first. Jesus’ statement “Our Father” eliminates a world of unbelieving people and declares a wondrous intimacy with God. We come and we speak to Him as if we were His born children, as if we were the tender children of His own heart, as if we shared His own life because spiritually speaking we do. The most intimate term used by Hebrew children was Abba...Abba. God is not everyone’s Father, He’s our Father. He is only the Father of those who are His children who possess His life which is granted only through faith in His Son.
Thought: The most important element of effective praying is a deepening relationship with the Father. This means worshiping the Father, knowing Him better through His Word, fellowshipping with Him, obeying His will, and seeking to please Him. Wouldn’t you want the Father to say to you what He said to our Lord? Thou art my beloved Son; in thee I am well pleased. (Luke 3:22b)

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