Pray to the Father
We’ve been trying to work our way through Matthew 6 However as you well know it has taken us many weeks. It seems the Lord has so much to say about prayer. So let’s continue to enjoy our journey. Moving from His strong warnings of how not to pray, we then engage how to pray beginning in verse 9. Sometimes this is referred to as the Lord’s Prayer. I think it is better called the model prayer. The first greatest invitation Jesus makes is to come and the second is to pray.
I can remember once my daughter was going through a very difficult time and it happened to be during our third gathering. She was standing up by the book table talking to the wife of one of our worship leaders when Jesus appeared to her, extended His arms to her and said, "Ricci, come!" It is so simple yet we make it so complicated don’t we? How can you resist Him? Well she couldn’t!
Matthew 6; 9 – 13
Pray, therefore, like this: Our Father Who is in heaven, hallowed (kept holy) be Your name. 10) Your kingdom come, Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. 11) Give us this day our daily bread. 12) And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven (left, remitted, and let go of the debts, and have [given up resentment against) our debtors. 13) And lead (bring) us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one. For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.
I can just imagine Him praying that prayer. He’s been walking on the streets of Israel, seeing how tortured life is for many yet also seeing how their limited faith has prevented them from experiencing any real relationship with the God that they obviously knew. Although they were His people, still they knew so little of God. I can picture Him on the crowded streets, flanked on every side and jostled by so many people that He hardly knows which way to turn. His love for the Father always set and focused His heart on one consuming passion, to obey His Father and reach that generation in His name. That is a love that calls you to a depth of obedience to which others will never go. He bears a love that draws one from the world’s comforts others will never leave. It is amazing to experience the love of the Father in which Jesus lived. I know, I have experienced it many times. It rivets you into a whole new focus.
The Father’ love is a much different love than humans are generally accustomed to. It is a love you will never want to lose. It is not just a love of dedication or familiarity but of friendship. It is a love that causes you to lose sight of yourself, that carries you to the depths of self-sacrifice, compelling you to go there for His sake. You may grow weary and not want to go on, but you will press on despite your fatigue. Why do you go on? You go on because love calls. Love demands you give what you must and yield what you must, to know the One who calls. His is a pure, sweet and tender love, a love so filled with care, desire, passion, goodness and purity. He truly cared not for Himself nor did He resent that abandonment to the Father’s will. Jesus didn’t resent the personal cost demanded because He lived to please the One who sent Him and to bring His Father joy. Jesus daily sought intimacy with His Father, desiring to know that when He lay His head down each night He had done everything in His power to please the One who sent Him. This is the life of prayer and from this life we learn the true meaning of verse nine.
The burning fiery force of this greater love is what held Him, albeit it was what compelled Him. It was a love so filled with tenderness laid gently upon His heart; a love He nurtured every moment. It was warm, strong, captivating and compelling love that flowed through Him like a gentle river in whose constant flow He was caught. The river poured through Him and out from Him to the people.
The disciples asked Him to teach them how to pray because they had heard Him pray. They had also seen Him pray. But even more importantly they saw too how He lived a life so different from that of other spiritual leaders in the nations. He spoke of God not as One who had studied the writings of another but as the Son would speak of His Father, as One who intimately knew Him. They saw how He lived, selflessly pouring Himself out to God’s people. Many ministers poured out to Gods people but when they looked into His eyes they saw a love they had never seen in anyone before. It is one thing to be a minister because you are called to it. It is quite another thing to be a minister of God because you are passionate about Him and love His people with that same passion.
They saw such uniqueness, such mercy and passion. His understanding of the law and the Torah was so different from anything they had ever heard. He seemed to be able to dissect it and pull it apart to reveal the heart of it, and what He understood, He lived. They witnessed all of this and they saw Him pray. They had heard the Pharisees and the Sadducees pray, as well as the High Priest, but not one prayed like this man. When He prayed it seemed as though the heavens opened, the glory descended and the Father drew near.
How many times had they seen Him go off alone and then watched the cloud of glory descend upon Him? The relationship He had with God was different from anything they had ever known, so they asked Him, "Teach us how to pray like you pray." What they were asking was so much more than that. They were really asking Him, "Teach us how to know Him the way you know Him.” It must be in prayer that this knowing takes place, so teach us how to get there." Jesus answered, "Pray, therefore, like this: Our Father…" Not HaShem, or Elohim? "Our Father," not only His Father? Our Father! When you pray, remember who He is. He is our Father, who is Love and He loves you tenderly like a Father. He is not an ideal, or something that happens once a year behind the veil. He is our Father and as a father calls his little child to his knee, so the Father calls you.
Now, if you ask Him for bread will He give you a stone? He is our Father, which meant to them that what the Lord had, they could have also, and the same way the Lord knew Him they could know Him too. Because He did not say, "Pray, therefore, to My Father," that same relationship was available to the disciples. He said "Pray, Our Father." In other words what you are desiring can be yours. They could learn to know Him and to experience Him in the same way that Jesus had because He is their Father, our Father. What He gave to Jesus, He will give to you.
“Our Father, Who art in heaven…,”—Now, He is above all that would hinder the cry of the heart. We are reminded that He rules and reigns in the heavenlies. Whatever He needs to do He can do because He is above it all. He is not of the earth, remember? Isn’t that what He told Nicodemus? Therefore, He is different. He sees things differently and feels things differently than we who are from the earth. He is not of the earth, He is from the heavens, which is so important to remember when you pray. The One you’re connecting with in prayer is not going to answer you from down here, but from above, according to His perspective, where He rules and reigns over everything pertaining to you, and in this case, over everything pertaining to Israel.
His ways are not our ways, His thoughts are not our thoughts but He is Father and you are son, He is Father you are daughter. Your prayer will lead you to understand Him as He is. To come to understand His thoughts and will as they are is truly the richest treasure on earth.
This is not about Him getting to know and understand us, which happens to be what a lot of praying demands these days, but it is about getting know, understand and relate to Him. Jesus said, “Our Father which is in heaven….” Now of course, if we carry these words to their ultimate conclusion, when we pray and focus on the fact that He is the Father above, then by implication we too understand that we are called to ascend and be one with Him.
“Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be Your name.” Our prayers are sanctified by God’s holy Name. When at first we learn prayer, our prayers start out very soulish before they mature. If you want to be a little child in God forever you can continue praying from out of your soul. However, if you desire to become a mature son or daughter in God, then you must learn how to pray out of your spirit, from the life and understanding of your spirit.
When we pray from the understanding of our soul, our prayers are very shallow and carry with them only so much weight. Most carry very little weight at all. Since the prayer originates in the depth of the soul, it does not even come close to reaching God’s will. Our goal must be to align ourselves with His will, so that every prayer we pray will be answered. The key is to get into agreement with God, which begins to happen as we realign our thoughts to match His. In this harmonious alignment between His will and our prayers, the true beauty of mature prayer becomes evident. Over time, as we become more familiar with His thoughts we begin to realize our soulish prayers are of no value. He knows that to answer those prayers would not be in the best interest of the situation. Moreover it is by His Spirit working with our spirit that we become transformed into His image. This is the call.
We start by saying, "Our Father Who art in heaven," and we finish by fulfilling the call. The call is to become one with the Father. It’s almost sneaky isn’t it, like a holy sneakiness? He pulls us to Him through our needs, then reveals Himself to us. In that revelation, we find His way is so much more powerful and wonderful than the direction we were headed in praying our soulish prayers that we prefer and choose His way. He is wise!
Every time we make is a true connection a tiny change in us results in a greater enablement to be like Him. Every time there is a true connection something changes in us and in the world because we prayed. As long as we keep pulling God down here in our minds we will never make the kind of connection we need to make. It’s okay, leave Him in heaven, but aspire to know the Father who is in heaven. We ascend! If our life of prayer is spent trying to help Him understand us and talking to Him like He has no more power than our brother or sister, the whole purpose of prayer is thwarted. Can’t you feel it in your soul? We are called to move away from the status quo. Can’t you feel the Spirit of God stirring hope, faith and desire within you? Is the Holy Spirit calling you trying to understand that this is for you? He really is calling you to have what you can have in Him. Doesn’t it hurt to think about staying stagnant? Doesn’t it cause just a little pain to think about not growing in Him? You must learn how to pray by the spirit and not by your soul. If our Father is on earth we talk to him soul to soul, heart to heart, right? If our Father is in heaven He is looking for those who worship Him in spirit and in truth. He wants to lift us, build us, strengthen us, edify us and lift up our spirits so that we can relate with Him spirit to spirit. He wants to lift us up so that we can comprehend the incomprehensible, learn to walk with the Sovereign and come out from the world’s deception to walk in truth.
He wants to help us identify what is ignoble, what is noble, and to discern the difference. He wants to help us discern what it true and what isn’t. He wants to help us by strengthening our spirit man until it dominates our soul and we begin to hate the thoughts of the soul and love the thoughts of the spirit where truth can live. He wants to help us become the mighty spiritual being we were created to be who walk in heavenly places while here on this earth. He wants to help us learn how to move mountains simply because we believe. He wants to help us quit looking at life through the eyes of the sin nature that veils the beauty of God. He wants to help us see life through the beauty of truth in faith. When we learn to see things the way God does we lose the critical, skeptical spirit, as it just melts away because love has overtaken it.
We learn to turn away from human judgment so that we might walk in divine judgment. We learn incredible lessons about such things as long-suffering, covering love, freedom from bitterness and unforgiveness, overcoming faith and overtaking fear. A life that is centered on Christ and the needs of others replaces the former self-centered one. He lifts us up out of the soul realm where the self-life rules, to where we begin to see life through His eyes.
I said to Him this afternoon, "Lord, I think about my oldest granddaughter Tiffany and how different her life has been compared to the three younger ones and I wonder, should I have prayed more or differently for any of my grandchildren?" Before I could ask Him another question He said, "The young ones have a different purpose in this life than Tiffany; her life has gone according to my purpose. The three younger ones I am preparing in a different way for a different purpose."
Fear and soulish concerns are banished when you know truth, see through His eyes and understand through His understanding. This is what the Lord is trying to say to His disciples. When you pray don’t keep your thoughts centered on the things of the earth but come up to Him who is above. He is your heavenly Father and He wants to join in co-operation with you to move earthly mountains from above.
Don’t forget that His name is holy. He is holy and He inhabits eternity. He is transcendent with no limits of time or place. He is, and is for every generation always everywhere at the same time. In one respect we say He is coming and in another, “He Is.” How are we to understand all these mysteries? He inhabits eternity while it lies within Him. He is holy and He dwells with the one who has a broken and contrite heart.
When we remember that He is holy and we can only live our life holy by the power of His Spirit to please His holiness, it creates in us a spirit of brokenness and contrition. In this place of lowliness all of our prayers get answered because they are all born of the Spirit of God. Keep His name holy. Pray, “Your kingdom come.” That is where we are today. Although in one sense the kingdom was released two-thousand years ago, you might say a new phase of the kingdom is being released today. Therefore, it has never been more important in the history of man than to pray right now, “Your kingdom come, “because the Church is, as it were, a midwife and the baby is the kingdom. As the world enters into travail, the Church must pray to bring forth the glory of the kingdom.
The world is in travail heading into birth pangs and the midwife must not leave now. She must stay and pray like she has never prayed before. “Your kingdom come, Lord” and as we are praying travail is breaking forth in the world. You can feel the birth pangs and travail like an earth quake opening up in the earth.
It is amazing to me, when I consider that for two thousand years the Church has been praying, “Thy kingdom come,” and now at the conclusion of all time is when the Church most need to get on her knees and travail. Now is the time she needs to birth the kingdom because it is coming! It is the kingdom of power and glory that chose the truth about God. In His kingdom He must show off His people like jewels in a crown that the world must know, by the glory resting upon His bride that Christ has come. We must pray for His kingdom to come into the earth and when hard times come, because they will, don’t stop praying! The midwife doesn’t abandon travail before the baby is born. Neither must you.
When the hard time begins, press in and keep praying for His kingdom to come in you because it must come to His bride. She must be changed, glorified, transformed, and transfigured. For two-thousand years He’s been instructing us to pray this prayer, but today it must be prayed like never before. Thy will be done.
You see how He snuck up on us? He begins to lift us up off the earth into heavenly thoughts, then He grabs us and we know we’ve been forever changed. We’ve been touched by glory, taken into the holy of holies to see the “ark of the covenant.” We have been changed and cannot help it; everything inside of us has been changed and shaken in preparation for the coming of the ark. Don’t run away like the foolish virgins.
A holy revolution is coming. There is warfare in the heavens like never before. Never before have the heavens seen the kind of warfare that is going on today. But what is the Church doing? Praying, “Thy kingdom come,” is not a foolish or frivolous prayer to be hung on our wall framed in a nice plaque. It is a prayer we pray because we want our minds filled with the Spirit of truth not with the spirit of the world. We want our thoughts punctuated by glory rather than soul. I want my soul to be filled with faith instead of fear. He wants to rewire the brain of His Church with wires of glory and truth.
First, we must come to a place where we decide we are sick of the old and want to be changed. We want our thoughts lined with His Word and our beings changed into His image. Yearn to get out of the soul and into the life of the spirit. How do you do it? Live the Word and read it until you know it very well and you do it in prayer. He is a good God isn’t He?
God’s great plan is right now in the process of coming into full-term birth. The Church is on the precipice of greatness and glory. I pray she doesn’t sit by the road too much longer. He is a good God. He is a God of goodness who is awesome and wonderful, and I long to know Him more than ever before. I hope you want to know Him so much so that your head must expand and your spirit grow fat to be able to contain the revelation.
Dear Jesus, Lord, what do you want to do now? What is Your will now Lord? I feel like He wants you to start praying the way that I’ve shared – “Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done…” in me, and pray it with a passion. Pray it as one who will not be denied. I want God to help you and impart faith in you and strength into your will.
Blessed be God, Hashem Adonai, and may you know His wonderful blessings.
In His Amazing Love,