Draw Near to God
The Lord’s Prayer is remarkably simple in its brevity, but extraordinarily powerful in it’s content, from the very beginning. After teaching us how not to pray, Jesus says, “This, then, is how you should pray.” (Matthew 6:9). In other words, “Pray like this!” If you’re new to praying, or if you want some direction in your prayer life, or if your prayer life is in a rut lately, then it is time to get back to basics, back to the heart of prayer, back to praying in the way Jesus taught.
Over the next few weeks, we’re going to spend some time dissecting The Lord’s Prayer to better understand why Jesus wanted us to pray like this. Scholar and author R. Albert Mohler Jr. says: “Every word we utter in prayer is a reflection of what we believe about God.” It’s been said: “As we pray, we also believe.” In His model prayer, Jesus makes clear what He wants His disciples to believe about God.
9 “This, then, is how you should pray:
“‘Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name, Matthew 6:9
In this powerful opening phrase, we discover four vital prayer principles we can practice:
1) Swap the My mentality for the Our outlook. 9 …“‘Our Father in heaven,” Matthew 6:9a.
What is your starting point for prayer? If we’re brutally honest, most of us will admit we tend to start with petition… that is, my, me, I or mine. But Jesus starts this prayer not with my, but our, reminding us that prayer isn’t just about me, but it’s about us… our fellow Believers. There is something remarkably selfless about praying like this… lifting up the needs of one another.
This is one of the wonderful attributes the local church… the love, care and concern that we offer one another. To be clear, Jesus isn’t saying to deny our personal needs or sins, but clearly He doesn’t want our focus to be singular, individualistic, or only about ourselves. At Watermark, we intentionally practice this prayer principle in our life group and service ministries!
2) Embrace the intimate relationship you have with God as Father. 9 “‘Our Father in heaven,” Matthew 6:9a
Jesus could have addressed God in any number of ways, but He chose Father. Why? Father vividly illustrates the intimate, personal relationship we have with our God as His children. To be clear, while God is fatherly to all, He is Father only to His children.
Scripture is clear that our ability to relate to God as Father only comes through redemption and adoption by the work of Jesus Christ on the cross and our acceptance of Him as personal Savior (Redeemer) and Lord. (Eph. 1:5; Rom. 8:14-16)
The good news is that our heavenly Father welcomes all who are honest about their sin and need for the Savior who is Jesus Christ! (Rom. 3:23-25). If you are not yet a Believer, you can become a child of God too! As Believers, we can approach God as Father, enjoying a wonderful, intimate relationship with Him. He is a good, good Father!
He is imminent.
3) Celebrate our God who is not only imminent, but also transcendent! 9 …“‘Our Father in heaven,” Matthew 6:9a
While we can draw near to God as Father, enjoying an intimate, personal relationship with Him, Jesus makes very clear that He is also the almighty God of the universe! There is a level of honor and respect that children should show their earthy fathers (and mothers for that matter). And fathers should command that respect too. Fathers can be close to us, love and hug us; but they also demand a certain level of honor and respect because of their position. God is the same way, on a divinely greater level. He is both imminent and transcendent. We see His transcendence revealed throughout scripture. (Deut. 4:39; Ps 97:9; Ecc. 5:2)
4) Implore God to make His glorious name known! 9 …“‘Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name, Matthew 6:9b
Have you ever used “hallow” in a sentence, other than in this prayer? Probably not, but it is very important in this context. It means “make Holy” or “to consider as Holy”. A lot of times, we interpret this phrase as a call to worship God or a call to praise God. But Jesus is actually asking God to make His name holy or hallowed. That is, He is asking God to move in such a way in this world that people will see His glory, that they will experience HIs might and that they will celebrate His character above everything else in their lives! And God knows (and we do too), that our world desperately needs that!
There are two vital ways we can hallow God’s name:
Bear the name of God faithfully! As His adopted children, we bear His name. That name comes with expectations and responsibilities. It is not to be taken lightly. 3 It is God’s will that you should be sanctified:… 7 For God did not call us to be impure, but to live a holy life. 1 Thessalonians 4:3a, 7
Lead lost people to Christ so that they too can bear His holy name! This is a call for us to take very seriously our role in leading lost people to Christ and discipling them to full devotion to Jesus! 8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses… Acts 1:8a
For much more, click here to watch our service and message: Prayer Matters - Part 4 - Draw Near to God.