May the quiet waters of God's grace be with you and in you today..
KJV Luke 11:1 And it came to pass, that, as he was praying in a certain place, when he ceased, one of his disciples said unto him, Lord, teach us to pray,
Our Lord was a praying man, for there are 27 specific instances in the Scripture in which He is found communing with His Father in prayer. He not only sets the example for us, but when He was teaching His disciples about Kingdom Life in Matthew's Gospel, He gave them what we call the "Lord's Prayer" and invited them to use that form when they commune with their/our Father.. Luke in his Gospel writes that He pointed them to the Lord's Prayer" upon their asking Him to "teach us to pray."
"Our Father" We need to remember that we not only pray with all those in the body of Christ, but that when we pray our Brother Jesus Christ is praying with us and for us. So when we enter into communion with Our Father, let us remember that He, Jesus, was quite comfortable spending a lot of time with Our Father in prayer for long periods of time, even all night at times.
When we recognize that this earth is an alien land for Him, it is not that difficult to see how He was so accustomed to having fellowship and communion with His Father. It would be like He was going back home. On the other hand, it is difficult for us to make the switch from our earthly existence and thought process to the realm into which it would be quite natural to pray with our Brother Jesus, "Our Father."
He allows us to share in His prayer, invites us to this communion and desires that through these times we would grow together in heart and mind with the Father, the Son and the Spirit.
We hear about God, we know people who say they believe in God, and we also have a hard time understanding a God who seems to be distant from us. We ask the questions like, "Where was this God when my son died suddenly, where was this God when I got my cancer, where was this God when I became afflicted with this disease, where was this God when my spouse left me for another person?" In light of all this, how can I even begin to pray, "Our Father?" I do not understand that kind of a prayer at all........I can barely say, "God, let alone "my" or "our God."
He knows everything before it even happens while we struggle with knowing what is happening in our lives at the moment, let alone what is coming in the future. In essence, we do not know what our real needs are, what we lack and what we need. We have no problem knowing what our wants and desires are. There in lies the problem, we think that our wants are our needs. And we will see those wants satisfied in what ever ways that we can find to do so.
If we are lonely, we will look for companionship with someone or something that will bring satisfaction. If people are not available, we will look for means that will deaden the pain of loneliness in our heart and being, knowing that the quick fix will only deaden the pain or medicate the pain, but will bring no long term resolution to our sense of separation, isolation and loneliness. Whatever we have become accustomed to will be that which we resort to in order to fill the deep need in our soul.
And when it becomes a pattern, it becomes addictive, which then brings us into a bondage that we have no power to get out of, and in fact, do not wish to get out of since it is a place of escape, of comfort and of pleasure. In that relationship there is no risk, there is no work to be done, but only to take that which we so desperately need. We want to stay there, even though inside we know that it will not fix our desperate need for companionship.
When we go to visit a doctor, sometimes it is with definite physical symptoms and other times it can be without definite pains, but only a sense of something is wrong. If we visit a doctor with anxieties and worries, the doctor will through questions and observations come to understand what is the root of our troubles and then seek to address the root cause of them.
It is like that for us as we approach our Father with our needs, asking for something that will satisfy these deep needs without really realizing why we are asking for them to be filled in a certain manner. The need for affirmation by us as humans drives us to ask for things that will make us feel accepted and validated by others, for in that acceptance and validation is our entire feeling of self worth.
It is our self love that causes us to pray for the changing of our circumstances rather than looking inside our hearts to determine what is motivating and moving our attitudes, actions and words. In all sincerety, we think we know what we need, but our Father knows really what we have need of and we keep evading and running from those things that He knows we need. He knows our deepest needs and secrets. So when we pray for healing for ourselves or for those around us, are we doing them a good service or are we trying to circumvent that which God wants to do through their need?
Richard Wurmbrandt, a missionary who spent fourteen years in prison in Romania for preaching the Gospel, wrote in one of his books that the first two words of the Lord's Prayer, "Our Father" were of great comfort to him during the years of his captivity in a Romanian prison for preaching the gospel, especially in the later years when he had forgotten nearly all of the Bible verses that he had memorized.
He stated that in these two words, "Our Father," he was reminded and encouraged that he was not an orphan and that he was not the only one suffering persecution, for God was his father and he had many brothers and sisters in Christ throughout the world. It was a profound experience for Richard which came from thinking on and being fed by those two words which ministered grace and love to his soul.
As we watch families interact together we notice that sometimes very little is said as mom or dad are busy doing their thing while the children are busy playing together or by themselves. Occasionally there will be a glance from the adult to the child or vice versa, there will be a smile exchanged, and both will resume that which they were doing. The parent knows that his/her offspring is near, they have no immediate need and all is well in the family. Words are not always needed among families in order for the love that is shared among them to be enjoyed and for it to grow and flourish. Even though the child may be living for the moment, the parent knows the needs of the child not only for the day but the needs for the days in the future.
God has spoken first, and He has acted first even as our parents have acted so that we were brought into the world. We are His offspring and often times we go through times of enjoyment of being in His presence without hearing from Him or saying much back to Him. We are like the child and parent which we related above in that it is okay to be silent while enjoying the love and security of our relationship with Our Heavenly Father.
We must be quiet before Him, as much as possible having a calm spirit even in the midst of the troubles that we find swirling around us and in us. At this point, the logical question is brought forth by many: "If Our Father knows beforehand what we need, why should we pray?"
Communing with Our Father
We answer this by saying that the main purpose of prayer is not to ask for something or for someone, but it is to enter into communion with Our Father. If we only say "Dear Heavenly Father" and no more words are said, but that in the Spirit we enter into communion with Him, we are with Him with those few words and in the ensuing silence more than saying a million words to Him.
When we think of the meaning of the words, Dear Heavenly Father, we are reminded first and foremost that if He is our Father, then it means that we are His children. We are in essence hearing Him cry out through the ages based on His creative Word and His Incarnate Word: "You Are Mine!"
When we enter into communion with our Our Father, our needs, our pains, our frustrations and our cries are brought before Him on the basis the the Word. Our petitions are received by Him, they are considered, they are considered according to His will, and, in that we are given peace as we move towards Him in oneness of spirit as we by faith accept all as from His loving hands. We may not understand, but we accept these things as from Him, knowing that Father knows best.
It is important that we realize that when we stop communing with Our Father in heaven and when we stop living and breathing in this relationship of love, we will begin to talk about God and not with Him. When we talk about religion in a ritualistic manner, it is because we have moved away from our fellowship with Him and consequently we only speak of things of the Spirit in a distant manner.
Dear Father, help us to come before you in quietness, leaving all the distractions outside, knowing that you will hear us in secret and reward us according to what you want for us. You already know our needs, we only know our wants, and in your wisdom and love, you will not give us all that we want. So, dear Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, would you teach us to pray?