Message Magazine’s Online Devotional for Friday, December 26, 2014
Based Upon Luke 11
Who better than Jesus could there possibly be to teach us how to pray? As He taught one day about the compassion of His Father who welcomes us into communion with Him, to open up our minds to Him in prayer, He also taught about the utter futility of being like heathens who think they can repetitively chant their way into His good graces. He continued by saying that even those who claim to be commandments keepers sometimes perform prayers in a manner to be seen by people, instead of heard by the Almighty. He who sees in the secret places of prayer, rewards the petitioner openly.
Far more than some formula for answered prayer, or a prayer speech to be mindlessly recited as a preamble to truehearted prayer, is that which we affectionately call the Lord’s Prayer. It reads, “After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen” (Matthew 6:9–13). There is so much sweet truth revealed in this prayer, but we will only focus on one phrase—“ Our Father which art in heaven…”
The Most High absolutely loves to be called our Father. And, what proud father does not like to hear his child call his name? I can remember deciding what our son would call me before he was born. I grew up in New York City where many New Yoricans (Puerto Ricans who migrated to New York City) lived. As in all cultures and subcultures, they had special names for their fathers. The name that engendered the most affectionate feelings in me was, “Papi” (Poppy). So, this is the name we taught our son. I love to hear when He calls me by that name. It makes me feel even more tenderhearted toward him.
God loves to hear the love, dependence, trust, and tenderness encapsulated by us calling Him, “Father.” While I cannot relate to this sentiment as a son, I do appreciate seeing how our son just loves being with his papi. Since he’s young, he does have his toddler reasons like wanting me to buy him some juice, let him play with my electronics, take him places, answer his endless questions, or let him climb me. But, that’s OK. He wants to be around me. When he is afraid, uncomfortable, or lonely, he does not hesitate to come to me. I’m his papi and it is my pleasure to give him absolutely anything that is in his best interest. This is the case with our heavenly Father. Heaven is His throne room. It is the holiest of all places wherein dwelleth righteousness (2 Peter 3:13). Into our Father’s presence we are welcomed to come boldly (Exodus 26:34; Hebrews 4:16).
So, when we address our loving Father, with the awareness of His holiness, beneficence, and His throne room, we are ushered into a reality often overlooked. I am going to give it to you in a quick bite, so don’t miss it: Sin, trials, and temptation are subject to the proverbial gravitational pull of earth. The enemy only holds sway down here (Job 1:7; Revelation 12:10). Victories over these are found in God’s presence. Therefore, when we pray, directing our attention and submission to heavenly places where our Father’s throne is, we are beyond the grasp of the enemy! It is a blessing that Jesus condescended to dwell among us. However, the goal of His condescension was to elevate us to heavenly places forever.
Whether you have an earthly father or not, I would encourage you to enter the throne room to talk to your heavenly Father as much as possible, knowing that He loves to hear your voice. Tell Him all of your hopes, dreams, burdens, gripes, and complaints. He will never send you away. Allow His Spirit to wash over you as you just linger there. Don’t rush, just linger. Recount the many Bible promises that apply to your situation and ask Him to keep them. Look for any excuse at all to lift your heart in prayer. This will certainly usher you into heavenly places.