Summary: We talked about knowing God. We talked about how to hear God, and today I want to talk to you about talking with God. That means prayer. Prayer is communication with God.
*Disclaimer- I use many sources. God is gracious.
Life is about knowing God and walking with God. When you read your Bible, that's about being with God. When you pray, that's about being with God. BUT, a lot of us are intimidated by prayer. Why? Because we have a misunderstanding of what it is, what God expects, and how it works. So let’s talk about the principles of prayer. I want to give you three big thoughts to help you and prepare you as we talk about prayer.
Point number one.
When you pray, focus on being with the Father. Notice the word with again. It's about being with God. When the Bible talks about prayer in the New Testament, it's not talking about a religious transaction. It's being involved in a loving relationship with your heavenly Father who loves you.
Let’s look to our text today. Here, Jesus is preaching the Sermon on the Mount. He says, “This then is how you should pray." Matthew Chapter 6, verse 9, the first part of the verse, Jesus is going to teach us how to pray.
Jesus starts and says, "Our Father in heaven...” Jesus says when you pray, focus on the Father. Most of us know this, but when Jesus told these people to pray “our Father,” it was shocking. In fact, for many of them, it was offensive. This kind of talk is one of the reasons why they arrested Jesus and crucified him.
Jesus, humanly speaking, was not crucified because of what he did. He was crucified because of who he said he was. He said, "I'm the son of God. I and the Father are one." Jesus is telling his followers, "I'm a child of God. I'm the only begotten Son of God. I and the Father are one." Jesus is saying here, "If you put your faith in me, you too can call God your Father and become His child."
Up to this point, for these people, you wouldn't even say God's name because it was too holy. In the Old Testament, there are lots of names for God, but one of the primary names for God in the Old Testament was Yahweh. When the scribes were writing the Old Testament, when they were supposed to write the name of God, they wouldn't because Yahweh was too holy to write.
They would just put a symbol for the name of God. Now all of a sudden, you have this son of a Jewish carpenter who is gaining prominence. A rabbi. And he calls God “father.” More than that, he says, "If you believe in me and trust in me, you too can become a child of God and you too can call the Almighty Most Holy One your Father as well.” (John 1:12)
Jesus addressed God as "Father" in his prayers and taught his disciples to do the same. God was called Father only seven times in the Old Testament. In this passage containing the Lord's Prayer Jesus calls God Father ten times. In fact, in all of the prayers of Jesus he used the word Father more than seventy times.
Jesus described God in two words: "Our Father." Jesus was saying that God is a person and not simply a power. As a person, I can relate to him and love him and get to know him. This God we call Father is personally involved and absolutely intimate in nature.
When we pray "Our Father" it reminds us of the precious relationship we have with God. We are a part of God's family. We belong to God.
Here’s point number two:
Be yourself. What does that mean? It means be honest. Don't try to fake it with God. God cannot have a relationship with who you're pretending to be. Because that person doesn't exist. You should just be yourself with God. Jesus taught that we're to become more like little children. Not childish. That's immaturity. But we're to be more childlike.
Realize that's how God created Adam and Eve. It's what it says. They were naked and unashamed. It is impossible for you to disappoint God as a follower of Jesus. God knows all of your sin. What you have done, what you are doing, and what you don't know about yet.
Psalm 139:1-6 Lord, you have examined me and know all about me. You know when I sit down and when I get up. You know my thoughts before I think them. You know where I go and where I lie down. You know everything I do. Lord, even before I say a word, you already know it. You are all around me—in front and in back—and have put your hand on me. Your knowledge is amazing to me; it is more than I can understand.