Has it ever occurred to you how absolutely amazing it is that God would invite us to call him Father? It sets Christianity apart from all religions. A large part of what we believe is summed up in that one word, Father. I’ll show you.
a) FATHER, tells me that there is one God not many. That is a big relief to tribal communities who have fear of a God underneath every rock. It’s a clarification for Hindus who believe in thousands of gods, which puts them in a bewildering supermarket. Some years ago I was in Vietnam talking to a local and she said she had many gods. I said, “But which one made you?” That’s the one I want to worship.
b) FATHER, tells me this world is under control. This is not a wild universe crashing out of randomly. This is guided by a loving father. Yes it is sometimes wild and scary but we can pray “give us our daily bread, deliver us from evil” because we know that behind it all is a loving father. And when fears of epidemic surround us, we can know that our Father won’t let anything go wrong.
c) FATHER, tells me of family. If God is my father, he is also the father of many other people too (not everybody John 1:12 the Lord’s prayer is given to disciples only). If God is our father by adoption then we are brothers and sisters under that same adoption.
d) FATHER, speaks a dignity for me. When I am feeling worthless and ashamed, the lowest of the low, the Lord comes back to me and says you are not worthless. You are a child of the King. Stop seeing yourself as a worm and walk as the Princess that you know you are.
e) FATHER, tells me God is superior to be honoured. Just as He says honour your father and mother we say May your name be honoured. If you heard somebody badmouthing your father you would leap into battle to defend your father’s honour. That is us to our father.
f) Best of all, FATHER, speaks of love. This God is someone we can talk to, in an ordinary voice, with ordinary words. We can climb up onto his lap, knowing that he loves us and we love Him and He loves to hear what’s on our mind. Do you have a God Whom you can love like that?
How amazingly wonderful that the God Who set the universe in space invites me to call Him, Father.
Would you like to get to know this wonderful Father. You’ll need 3 things:
You’ll need time. I’m going to make sure I’m not too busy for him. I need to set aside good time just to talk with him. When it comes to a prayer time with God I find I have two problems. Either I don’t have time or when I do have time I can’t think of anything to say. Are you like that? What will I do? I’ll set aside some time each day to intentionally just talk with God. I’ll turn off all the distractions and I’ll call this my prayer time. What will I say?
The second thing is you need to ask. Someone said to me recently that the prayers in the NT were nearly all about asking. My first reaction was to say “That’s not right. What about confession and thanksgiving and confession and adoration?” Then I actually looked at the Bible.
You know what, he was right. Most of the prayer in the new Testament and most of the teaching about prayer in the new Testament is about asking. Jesus said “You do not have because you do not ask. Ask and you will receive.” So what will I say to God?
I can start with the list in the TCPC news.
I can go through the things I’m going to do today.
I can keep tabs of people who need my help.
I can pray for a world that needs Jesus.
There’s really stacks to pray for. People sometimes say you shouldn’t front up to God with a shopping list. I think we really should front up to God with our shopping list. No one in the Bible is ever condemned for asking too much of God. We are condemned for not asking enough. He says ask of me and I will give you . . . the nations. Ask and you will receive. Of course if your list is a list of demands that’s a problem of attitude rather than a quantity and you need to do something about that.
Does your mind wander when you pray? (Christopher Robin) It’s quite normal. You see, when you come to God, your mind relaxes and all the things you’ve been pushing back come flooding in. It’s like walking through a sea of balloons. Keep pushing your way through to God, and you’ll come out the other side and you’ll find you’re in a place where you are naturally talking to Him and the distractions have gone.
One other thing you need.
When you are praying expect results. Let's stop playing fluffy prayers like God bless so and so may he know your presence seven so may he have your peace I commit someone so to you. And I often picture God saying, Yes, but what do you actually want me to do? No. Rather say, in the name of Jesus I pray that he will be healed
One of the things we will ask him for is answers to questions like, “Father what do you want me to do today? Father how should I approach such a such a person when I approach them?”
Christopher Robin is saying His Prayers.
Little boy kneels at the foot of the bed,
Droops on his little hands, little gold head.
Sssttt, whisper. Who dares?
Christopher Robin is saying his prayers:
"God bless Mommy, I know that's right,
And wasn't it fun in the bath tonight,
The cold's so cold and the hot's so hot.
God bless Daddy, I quite forgot.
If I open my eyes just a little bit more
I can see Nanny's dressing-gown on the door;
It's a beautiful blue but it hasn't got a hood,
God bless Nanny and make her good.
Mine has a hood and I lie in bed
And I pull the hood right over my head,
And I shut my eyes and I curl up small
And nobody knows that I'm there at all.
Thank you God, for a lovely day,
And what was the other I wanted to say?
I said, 'Bless Daddy', so what could it be?
Now I remember: God bless me".