Summary: Believing prayer requires knowing the God to whom we pray.
You Can Tell a Lot about God
by the People He Hangs Out With!
[You Can Tell A Lot About God—Part 1]
Dr. Roger W. Thomas, Preaching Minister
First Christian Church, Vandalia, MO
Introduction: We are in the midst of a on-going study of the Lord’s Prayer, or the Disciples’ Prayer if you prefer—the prayer Jesus taught his disciples to pray. Clearly it is not a ritual, or prayer that Jesus intended that we pray by memory—though it is always good to prayer Scripture. Jesus intended it is a pattern by which we could learn to pray. We have examined the six stanzas of the prayer in general. In the future weeks, we will look in greater detail at each phrase, seeking to unpack the rich layers of meaning beneath each.
Tonight we begin with the opening words. Repeat the prayer with me: 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. (Matt 6:9-13, KJV)
A little girl was drawing a picture. Her teacher watched over her shoulder for a moment and then asked her what she was drawing. “I’m drawing a picture of God,” she said confidently. “But no body knows what God looks, “ the teacher corrected. “Oh, but they will when I am done,” the little girl replied even more confidently.
To whom are you praying, when you say “our Father which art in heaven”? Does it matter? Of course, it matters. Listen to Jeremiah 9:23-24: "This is what the LORD says: "Let not the wise man boast of his wisdom or the strong man boast of his strength or the rich man boast of his riches, but let him who boasts boast about this: that he understands and knows me, that I am the LORD, who exercises kindness, justice and righteousness on earth, for in these I delight," declares the LORD. “
Moses apparently thought it mattered. Of all the questions that he might have asked of the voice from the burning bush, he asked one thing—who are you? It wasn’t enough that it was clearly a supernatural encounter. He wanted to know the identity of the voice behind the miracle. We would do well to be more like Moses in this regard. Not every supernatural, miracle-producing force is worthy of your faith and obedience. Clearly, Satan, his angels of light, the end times Man of Lawlessness (2 Thess 2), and sometimes mischief making fakers can produce look-a-like supernatural phenomena.
Contrary to what many may teach you in our day, it is not enough to believe in any old god. The question is which God do you believe in? As much good as the Alcoholics Anonymous do in helping addicted people find freedom, they are clearly treading on dangerous ground when they teach folk to find “a higher power” however they may conceive of it. Elijah didn’t think any “god” was s good as another when he challenged the prophets of Ahab and Jezebell to dueling prayers on Mt. Carmel (1 Kings 18). He admonished them to make up their minds which God they were going to serve. He knew “not all gods are created equal.”