Summary: Jesus taught the right pattern of pray so that His people may pray properly pray, unlike the pagans.

The Lord's Prayer: "Our Father" (1)

Matthew 6:7-9 And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. 8 Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him. 9 "This, then, is how you should pray: Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name…"

These are some introduction words of Jesus to what is known as the Lord's prayer. Some rightly call it the disciples' prayer since this is the manner of prayer Jesus has taught for His disciples. As Jesus taught about the prayer, he began by introducing the wrong way of prayer as the pagan did: "And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words." (7)

The pagans thought their gods didn't know their needs unless they informed them about their needs. So their prayer was to let their gods know about their needs. Besides, the pagans kept on babbling because their gods would hear if they asked them with many words. They believed that their gods were not interested in their needs unless they begged them with many words to get their attention to their needs.

Unlike the pagan gods, our God is the almighty God and all-knowing God that our God knows what we need before asking Him. Our God knows our needs more than we think we know them. Also, unlike the pagan gods, our God is the loving God that He has more concern for us than we have for ourselves.

Then, you might question, "if God knows our needs, why do we need to pray to God?"

The answer is in the very first phrase: "Our Father in heaven." The object of our prayer is God the Father. Only those who can call God our Father, can pray to Him. Prayer is fellowship with God the Father. That tells us that only those people of God can pray to God. Only those children of God can pray to Him. Prayer is, in other words, fellowship between the Father and His children.

Therefore, this phrase, "our Father in heaven," implies that our relationship with God as our Father should precede any other prayer concerns. Without such a relationship established, none is supposed to pray to God. For this reason, whoever wants to pray to God has to accept Jesus Christ as His Lord and Savior, which is the only way to become a child of God, as the bible says, "But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God." (John 1:12)

Besides, this first phrase, "Our Father in Heaven," tells us that as far as God is concerned, what we need most is our relationship with God as our Father. We so often don't know what we should ask, but God knows that what we need most is our relationship with God. Indeed, our personal relationship with God is more important than any needs we might ever have. And He as loving God wants to give us this most important gift of all, this Father and children relationship. So our prayer should start with this confession that our relationship with God the Father is the most important thing as you say, "Father in heaven."

In fact, We were CREATED in the image of God so that we may have fellowship with God, and God saved us so that we may have our relationship with God restored. (Gen. 1:27; Rom 5:1)

Our God asks His people to seek Him, not His favor, not blessing, not our need but seeking God Himself. Why do we seek Him? Because He seeks us: "Our Father is seeking people who worship Him." (John 4:23) Even now, God is continually knocking at the door of our hearts. Yes, even now He is. Therefore, prayer is not of our initiative; instead, we are merely responding to His invitation to have fellowship through prayer.

Our problem is that we are distracted by so many things that often we rarely hear His invitation; therefore, usually, prayer has to start with our effort to pay attention and listen to Him, acknowledging Him waiting for our response.

Secondly, in this short phrase "Our Father in Heaven," we learn another essential truth. As you come to God, you don't go to Him as an individual but as a family member: You call God not my Father but our Father for you not only belong to God but also to the family of God, meaning we do have brothers. Again, that tells us that we need other brothers as a member of the family of God.

When you become a child of God by accepting Jesus Christ as your Lord and savior, you are meant to give up independent and private life. You become a part of the family of God, where you share your life with other members of the family. Every baby is born into a family; Likewise, every born-again believer is born into a spiritual family. God is concerned about His relationship with us and also our relationship with one another, as His children.

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