The Christian’s Privilege of Prayer: Speaking to Your Father
What we Pray
The principal lesson in Jesus’ instructions for prayer is that you are speaking to your Father. To those who believe and trust Jesus Christ, “He gave the right to become children of God,” If Jesus died for you, then you have been adopted as a son of God, an heir of His kingdom. That fact governs everything else in prayer. It governs what you pray for: Because you love your heavenly Father, and know His goodness, you long for others to know it, too. So you pray for his reputation to be exalted. “Sanctify your name” is to say, “Let your reputation stand apart; let your holiness be known to all.” And because you know Him, you long for his reign to be universal. That is, you long for every creature in heaven, on earth and under the earth to bow in humble allegiance and adoration of the One Who’s rule is both merciful and just. Because you know yourself, you acknowledge your need for His provision, His pardon, and His protection.
How we Pray
It also governs how you pray. Because God is Father, we pray with boldness and trust. When Jesus asks, in Luke 11:5-8, “Which of you who has a friend will go to him at midnight …”, he’s assuming the answer is “None of us.” And yet that boldness is what he calls for in prayer. Not only does your position as adopted children of the Father warrant it, so does the contrast between God and the sleepy neighbor. Even the neighbor gives begrudgingly, but the generosity of God, heightened all the more by your relationship with Him as Father and son, gives bold license to our requests.
Why we Pray
And the fact that God is our all-powerful, all-wise, all-knowing, and loving Father, we know that we are in no danger by exercising that license to pray boldly. He does not give begrudgingly, but generously. And yet, he does not give foolishly, either. Ask for what you want. He’ll give you what is good. You can trust him to respond to your prayer with the loving care of a Good Father. Every human father fails at some point. That is why some victims of evil abuse struggle to appreciate the wonder of our new relationship with God as Father. But God is holy and righteous and good. He is worthy of our love and our trust.
What we Get
Of all the things that God might give in response to our bold requests, we know that He will certainly give us the greatest gift of all, the Holy Spirit. The Spirit is given as a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance as sons of God. He gives us the mind of Christ, the power to will and to do according to His good pleasure. When you know God as Father, He has given you His Son, and He has given you His Holy Spirit. There are many other blessings, but they pale in comparison to these gifts, and these are the only necessary and absolutely sufficient gifts He need ever give to be worthy of our praise forever.
With a Father like this, how can you keep from speaking to your Father in prayer continually?