Summary: A short talk, second in a series on prayer, in which I look at aspects of the Disciples' Prayer also known as the Lord's Prayer, or the Kingdom Prayer
Do you ever feel as if life is just too busy? Would you like to be able to slow down, focus on what’s important in life, and consider some of life’s big questions? Upon retirement I don’t think there are many people who say, “If only I’d spent more time at the office.” Instead many people – especially Fathers – say, “I wish I’d spent more time with my children.”
A few weeks ago we used some clips from the film Finding Nemo as we thought about the amazing love of God – our Heavenly Father who searches for us. How does he search for us? He entered our world in the person of Jesus to seek and save lost people and he continues to seek and to save lost people today.
Unlike our earthly Fathers some of whom did a good job, some of whom didn’t; God is the perfect heavenly father; and when we pray, not if; but when we pray Jesus says, “This is how you should pray” (6:9).
“Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name” (6:9). To his first disciples and also to his modern-day disciples Jesus says approach God in prayer with loving reverence, but also approach him believing that he is the model father, the model parent, the One who cannot love us any more than he already does.
Prince George knows his Mum and Dad love him. They hold him, they feed him, they talk to him, they enjoy him, and they beam down their smiles upon him. He already recognises and responds to their voices – and I believe that God wants us to have that sort of relationship with him as our Heavenly Father.
Will George speak to Dad like this? “Your Royal Highness Prince William Arthur Philip Louis, Duke of Cambridge, Earl of Strathearn, Baron Carrickfergus, Royal Knight Companion of the Most Noble Order of the Garter, Knight of the Most Ancient and Most Noble Order of the Thistle…Dad, can you tuck me in!”
No, Prince George will call him Dad. There will be times when he’ll call him your Royal Highness but more often than not it will be, “Dad”.
Believers in Jesus are encouraged to approach God with worship, with reverence, with adoration, but as our heavenly Dad. We do not need to use long, complicated; difficult to understand words and titles.
Father in heaven; hallowed be your name. Lord God, my heavenly father, may your name and your honour be my priority this day, this hour, this moment.
Hallowed be your name! Prayer is not about presenting an Amazon wish list before Santa! Prayer is being in the presence of God, anytime and anywhere. Prayer is a line of communication with Father in heaven and this prayer taught by Jesus, sometimes called the Lord’s Prayer, the Disciples’ prayer or the Kingdom prayer, is a template.
This prayer is like scaffolding. It’s a framework for prayer around which we build.
Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven (6:10): Lord, in my life, in this Church, in my family, in the lives of my children, in the life of Sam McFeely, at work, at school your will be done. May my life, my agenda, and my priorities this day, this week fall into line with your agenda and priorities!
If we’re honest that’s hard to pray because for most of us the philosophy of the world says, “Look after Number One”; and as a result most of us take a daily overdose of Vitamin I; and if you’ve never heard of Vitamin I let me explain. Vitamin I convinces me that ‘I’ am at the centre of my world. ‘I’ sit on the throne of my life and ‘I’ am only answerable to one person; and that person is me. Whereas the Christian disciple prays, “Lord your will be done.” Lord, be the centre of my life, my world, my family. Your kingdom come!
Give us today our daily bread (6:11). As our desires and our priorities match up with His priorities Jesus teaches us to ask for what we need day by day. Lord, give us today our daily bread – provide for what I need today. St. Paul encourages Christians in everything, by prayer, to present our requests to God (Philippians 4:6) and on another occasion Jesus encourages his followers to ask for anything that we need, in his name (John 14:13-14).
Whatever your need is today God is not just interested; God wants to bring you healing to show you that he loves you, that he’s pursuing you and that he wants to be in a relationship with you; and God desires to provide for what we …need; not necessarily what we want, but what we need.
Ask him! During the summer of 2013 I was away on a camping holiday with my family. We had just sat in a superb seminar with the Archbishop of Canterbury.