Start by expressing your gratitude that God has adopted you into His family. Contemplate the power and might of the One you call Father. Take time to consider His majesty, and then ask Him to use your life to sing forth His praises. Express your desire to see the name of God revered, loved, and worshiped.
Would you agree that, at times, the most challenging aspect of prayer is just getting started? What can we say that inclines our hearts to God’s will so that we are actually communing with the Lord and not merely murmuring religious words? Our Lord Himself shows us precisely what kind of prayer pleases God. Let’s consider His words.
We Belong to a Family
Take a moment and read the model prayer in Matthew 6. Scan through verses 9-13 and notice all the first-person singular pronouns. Look for words such as my, mine, me, and I. What did you discover? It is surprising, isn’t it? They are not there!
What we do find are first-person plural pronouns such as: “our Father in Heaven;” “give us this day our daily bread;” “forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors;” and “lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.” These pronouns are more than just parts of speech; they send an important message.
From the start of the Lord’s model prayer, we discover a focus on community. Prayer is something we do with the mindset of a family and congregation. Of course, our salvation is personal, but we are saved into a family.
There is no doubt that individual prayer is good and fitting for Christians, but it should also be our regular practice to pray with our brothers and sisters in Christ. Likewise, it is appropriate to pray for your own needs, but Jesus also teaches us to desire to pray with others in mind. This should comfort us as we remember that we bear the burdens of others as they do the same for us.
Our Family Has a Father
We belong to a family, and our family has a perfect, righteous, holy, trustworthy Father. God is also our guide, protector, shield, and teacher. All the things we understand a faithful earthly father should be are perfectly exemplified in God.
Knowing God in this way is a unique privilege and blessing to Christians. He is enthroned and highly exalted in Heaven, yet he is also near to us. You can say God is both transcendent (distinct from us) and immanent (near to us). While it is true that God Himself created all people and knit them together in their mother’s wombs (Psalm 139:13-14), only those adopted through the work of Christ can truly call Him Father. We have both a master/servant relationship and a familial one. He is our God, yet also our Abba Father.
We begin our prayers with the blessed knowledge that God loves us and has chosen us as His sons and daughters (Ephesians 1:4-6, Galatians 4:4-7). We belong to a spiritual family, and our spiritual family has a perfect Father. This should flood our hearts with a well-spring of gratitude.