Tuesday, May 13, 2014

The Pattern of Prayer - Relationship

We are presently musing over the Model Prayer that our Lord gave to his disciples. What I am musing over is just the very beginning of what can be gleaned from the depths of this mine. The precious gems and concepts are plentiful as we mine the truths and encouragements that Jesus develops here. This prayer is so simple a child can learn it, and so profound that theologians have been delving into the deep wells of truth. Today, consider the statement - "Our Father in heaven...." Matthew 6:9b (HCSB).

The opening statement that Jesus gives for this model is one of relationships. He starts by drawing our attention to God Himself as a Father. In the Old Testament, the Father was mainly know to His people as Jehovah or Yahweh.  This was His covenantal name that He gave to them through Moses. The many names of God in the Scriptures are there as facets on a diamond to give us a deeper understanding and clearer picture of Who He is. Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount uses the term Father seventeen times (10 with the modifier heaven or heavenly). He is showing us the privilege and responsibility that we hold as children of the Father. It also let's us know of the immanence (nearness) and the transcendence (He is beyond us) of God. He is beyond us, yet we have the opportunity of coming directly into His presence. The whole reason we have the ability to make the other statements in this Model Prayer is grounded in this truth - God is our Father.

Included in this idea of relationships is our relationship with one another. Notice the word - our - a clearly plural possessive pronoun. So, who is this our? Some believe it is everyone - since God created everyone. Yes, in a sense God is the Father of all men and women because He created them, but being a member of the human family does not automatically make us a member of God's family, nor does it give one the the privilege of prayer. God's goodness and grace does come upon all people because He created them, but the privileges of being a child of God only comes to those who are re-birthed by the Holy Spirit of God. Because of this, we are to pray with and for one another in our "family." We lose sight of the fact that God usually starts to answer prayer by working first in the pray-ers. Often we will say, well at least I can pray for you. The most we can do is to pray for others. Why? Because if we truly pray for others, then God works in our hearts to get involved in meeting their needs.

I was thinking of the old Hymn - Blest Be the Tie That Binds and thought of the words that John Fawcett penned - let me close todays devotion with them. Take time today to muse over the words of this great hymn.

Blest be the tie that binds
our hearts in Christian love;
the fellowship of kindred minds
is like to that above. 

Before our Father's throne
we pour our ardent prayers;
our fears, our hopes, our aims are one,
our comforts and our cares. 

We share each other's woes,
our mutual burdens bear;
and often for each other flows
the sympathizing tear. 

When we asunder part,
it gives us inward pain;
but we shall still be joined in heart,
and hope to meet again.

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