Summary: Continuing the series on the Lord's Prayer, this sermon looks at the heart or foundation of all our prayers ... Our Father in Heaven.
"Pray like this: Our Father in heaven, may your name be kept holy. May your Kingdom come soon. May your will be done on earth, as it is in heaven. Give us today the food we need, and forgive us our sins, as we have forgiven those who sin against us. And don’t let us yield to temptation, but rescue us from the evil one. For yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen " (Matthew 6:9-13, NLT)
A new missionary travelled to Venezuela for the first time. He was struggling with the language and didn’t understand a whole lot of what was going on. Being a Sunday, he intending to visit one of the local churches. Unfortunately he got lost. Eventually he found the Church. Having arrived late, the church was already packed and the service had started. The only seat he could find was in the front row. Being conscious that he was in front of everyone and not wanting to make a fool of himself, he decided to follow the man sitting next to him on the front pew. As they sang, the man clapped his hands, so the missionary clapped as well. When the man stood up to pray, the missionary stood up to pray. When the man sat down, he sat down. When the man held the cup and bread for the Lord’s Supper, he held the cup and bread. During the preaching, the recruit didn’t understand a thing. He just sat there and tried to look as if he understood all that was going on. After the message he realized that the preacher was giving announcements. People clapped, so he looked to see if the man was clapping. He was, and so the missionary clapped too. Then the preacher said some words that he didn’t understand and he saw the man next to him stand up. So he stood up as well. Suddenly a hush fell over the entire congregation. A few people gasped. He looked around and saw that nobody else was standing. So he sat down.
After the service ended, the preacher stood at the door greeting those who were leaving. When the missionary stretched out his hand to greet the preacher, the preacher said, in English: “I take it you don’t speak Spanish.” The missionary replied: “No unfortunately I don’t. But is it that obvious?” “Well, yes,” responded the preacher, “When you stood up, I had just announced that the Acosta family had a newborn baby boy and asked the proud father of the child to please stand up!”
Jesus said “Pray like this: Our Father in heaven…”
In introducing us to this PATTERN OF PRAYER, Jesus points us right at the start to the very heart of all our prayers, our relationship with the God of the Universe. Our prayers are built upon our relationship with God. Jesus at the outset teaches us that God is OUR FATHER IN HEAVEN.
“The knowledge of God’s Father-love is the first and simplest, but also the last and highest lesson in the school of prayer.” (Andrew Murray)
BEFORE ADDRESSING GOD ABOUT
• HIS PERSON - may your name be kept holy
• HIS PROGRAM - may your Kingdom come
• HIS PURPOSE - may your will be done
BEFORE ASKING GOD ABOUT
• OUR PROVISION - give us today
• OUR PARDON - forgive us our sins
• OUR PROTECTION - rescue us from the evil one
JESUS DIRECTS US TO THE HEART OF OUR PRAYERS
• OUR RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD: Our Father
When we pray we come before the One in whom all power exists, through whom the Universe was created and is sustained, but Jesus teaches us that we come before Him as Father.
• “OUR FATHER IN HEAVEN”
Although the Jewish people recognised the Fatherhood of God, it was in the sense that He was the Father of the nation who had chosen Israel from among all the nations, His special people.
Although this relationship of God as the Father of the Nation existed, there is no evidence in the Old Testament that, any one ever addressed God personally as Father. We never hear Moses, or Abraham or David or Hezekiah calling God Father or in any of the great prayers contained in the Old Testament referring to God as Father. What is more through Israel’s perpetual rebellion against God, they lost even the power of the concept that God was their Father.
JESUS REAFFIRMED THE FATHERHOOD OF GOD WITH A NEW RICHNESS
EVERY TIME JESUS PRAYED HE ADDRESSED GOD AS FATHER (over 70 times in the Gospels with one solitary exception as Jesus bore the sin of the world He cried out ‘My God, My God why have you abandoned me?’ It is important to note that as Jesus hung on that Cross during those terrible hours of darkness, He bore your sin, my sin, indeed the sin of the whole world. During this time the wonderful intimacy between Jesus and the Father was cut off… for there can be no intimacy with God where there is sin!)