Prayer Part 1: "Our Father"

Posted on 09/23/2007 by Rev. Benjamin R. Faust D.D.

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TRANSCRIPT: (may not contain everything found in the audio above)

Hello! Welcome to the house of the Lord, where his living church meets. I hope you came with a hunger and a thirst for God, for the Bible tells us that those who hunger and thirst after righteousness will be filled.

A special welcome to all our first-time visitors. Be sure to click the visitor welcome sign on your way out for a welcome card. The reason we gather here week after week is because we have a passion. We have a burning desire. Deep within us, our spirits which have been given new life, seek after God.

We yearn for his presence, for in his presence is fullness of joy. We yearn for his hand to be upon us, for at his right hand are pleasant things. We don't come here to practice religion. We come here because we have a relationship with the one true and living God, and we want to be close to him and learn how to please him in all we do.

So visitors, please stick around and enter into prayer, worship, and the Word of God with us, and I pray that you leave here today having encountered and been changed by the Spirit of the Living God.


Let's all stand to our feet and go to the Lord in prayer.

Lord, thank you for what you're doing in our lives, and in the world around us. Thank you for bringing us all here together today, and for giving us a reason to rejoice.

We bring before you the requests of those who have asked us to pray together on their behalf.

We pray for Sadie, whose brother was killed in an accident. Holy Spirit, you are our comforter. We ask that you bring comfort to Sadie and her family. Wrap your loving arms around them, holding them, bringing forth the tears, and slowly and gently healing them. Bring peace to this family, in Jesus' name.

We pray for Beacon's dear friend Peach, who has a severe bone infection and cannot even receive IVs anymore for treatment, leaving nothing but oral medicine which is making her very ill. We ask that you intervene in this situation. You bore our sicknesses and diseases; your Word says that by your stripes we are healed. So we pray that you, Jesus, our Great Physician, would step into her room and lay your loving hand upon her. May she begin to feel your healing power even as we pray for her now, and may she know that it is you who is healing her, because you love her so much.

And we pray for all the unspoken and private requests. Pour out your Holy Spirit upon us. Bring us healing, deliverance, peace, joy, and your Holy Spirit power to live victorious lives.

And we ask all these things in the name of Jesus.

Amen.

Remain standing, left-click the pulpit for a notecard, and follow along with the overhead as we worship God with song.

HIS BANNER OVER ME

He is the Vine and we are the branches,
His banner over me is love.
He is the Vine and we are the branches,
His banner over me is love.
He is the Vine and we are the branches,
His banner over me is love.
His banner over me is love!

He is the Shepherd and we are his beloved,
His banner over me is love.
He is the Shepherd and we are his beloved,
His banner over me is love.
He is the Shepherd and we are his beloved,
His banner over me is love.
His banner over me is love!

He calls us to His Banqueting Table,
His banner over me is love.
He calls us to His Banqueting Table,
His banner over me is love.
He calls us to His Banqueting Table,
His banner over me is love.
His banner over me is love!


MIGHTY IS OUR GOD

Mighty is our God
Mighty is our King
Might is our Lord
Ruler of everything

His name is higher,
higher than any other name
His power is greater,
for he has created everything


TO HIM WHO SITS ON THE THRONE

To him who sits on the throne
     and unto the Lamb
To him who sits on the throne
     and unto the Lamb

Be blessing and glory
     and honor and power forever
Be blessing and glory
     and honor and power forever

Lord, you are the one who sits upon the throne, the risen lamb of God, and we worship you and you alone.

Thank you for bringing us into your presence, and for filling our rooms and this gathering with your Holy Spirit.

Help us remain in this attitude and spirit of worship, as we turn to your Word so that we can learn more about and have a closer walk with you.

Thank you Father.

Amen.


You may be seated.


Today we're starting a series of messages about prayer; specifically, the model prayer generally called "The Lord's Prayer." Week before last, we saw that this prayer is actually not a prayer at all, but a prayer outline.

Today let's talk about the first part of this outline:

Our Father.

The outline begins with the words, "Our Father which art in heaven..."

If we have been born into his family by the atoning blood of Jesus, then God is our heavenly Father. And we are his sons and daughters.

In the book of Romans, we read that the Spirit of God in us causes our spirits to call God "Abba Father." He is our daddy God, the one who watches over us, the one who protects us and meets our needs, and the one who takes us up in his arms to just love on us.

We read this in Romans 12:8-17:

12 Therefore, brethren, we are debtors—not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh.
13 For if you live according to the flesh you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will  live.
14 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God.
15 For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out,  “Abba, Father.”
16 The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God,
17 and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be  glorified together.


I think it's very interesting to ponder what this passage says concerning suffering. Sometimes we seem to think that because we are children of God, because he is our father, we are supposed to live lives free from suffering and pain. Everything is supposed to go right all the time. And if we believe this, then who do we blame when things go wrong?

The truth is that Jesus is the only begotten son of God, and yet he suffered more than any of us ever will or can. How can we think that we are promised lives of ease and luxury just because we have been adopted into God's family?

Does God love us as much as his only begotten Son? Yes, he does. And are we heirs of our Heavenly Father just as Jesus is? Yes, we are join heirs together with Christ.

As this passage tells us, "(We are) heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together."


So pain and suffering will come. And through it all we are more than conquerors through Christ Jesus our Lord. And God will use these times of trying to help us grow and mature.


While God does not cause evil things to happen to us, he will sometimes discipline us, because he loves us.

Proverbs 3:11-12 says,

11 My son, do not despise the chastening of the LORD, nor detest His correction;
12 For whom the LORD loves He corrects, just as a father the son in whom he delights.


You see, God delights in you. You are his sons and his daughters. We have been adopted into his family, and he loves us without reservation. And because he loves us so much, he corrects us, just like a father corrects his son or daughter who he loves so very much.

We live in an age of increasing tollerance. But is unconditional tollerace the same as unconditional love, or is it in opposition to it?

If a mother or father says nothing while their child produces habbits that will destroy them and hurt them and those around them, even if that parent feels great love for that child, the actions, or lack of actions, are NOT love.

Love does what is best for the person, regardless of how painful it might seem at the time. And God is not a sugar daddy in the sky, turning a blind eye to our sins and winking at our compromise. Rather, he sees better than any earthy father how our sins and compromise are destroying us. And like a father who loves his child with the true actions of love, God will correct us when we go astray.


So how does all of this relate to prayer? As we discussed last week, prayer is communication, or communion, with God. If I see God as a universal force, or as a mean ogre waiting to strike us dead, or as a heavenly sugar daddy letting us do as we please, how will I approach him? Certainly each example would cause a different approach.

If I see God as a universal force, then he is like an intelligent power source, something to be utilized and chaneled, but not someone who would love me as a good parent would.

If I see God as a mean ogre waiting to strike me dead, what kind of relationship can I possibly have with him? I will perform all the religious rituals I can to avoid his wrath, but will I truly love him?

If I see God as a heavenly sugar daddy who lets me do as I please, then how much reverence and holy fear will I have for him? Surely, I would think I could pray just as well while smoking crack as I could while repenting at the altar. And when I feel as though he is telling me to shack up with so-and-so, I just might believe it really is him.

If, on the other hand, I see God as my heavenly Father, Abba Father, the one who loves me unconditionally and yet corrects me when I go astray, the one who will wrap me in his arms, and yet will also put me in the tub and scrub away the dirt, the one who will walk with me and play with me, and yet will also instruct me, discipline me when I disobey, and may spank me and send me to my room so I will choose to change and will be saved from destruction;

if I see God in THIS way, then I will approach him with both great anticipation and holy fear and reverence. I will come to him with a heart of repentance for my sin and compromise, and an ear and a heart that is listening for his instruction and reproof.

If I see God in THIS way, my relationship with him will be as it should be, or at least will be moving in the right direction. For God is love, and God is holy. God is merciful and God is just. God is my father, and God will chastise me when I start going in the wrong direction.

And I also know that if he is my good and loving Father, then when I am in trouble or in need, he will move heaven and earth if need be to take care of me.

So when I start my time of prayer reminding myself of who God is and of my role and relationship with him, then my heart will be prepared for what is about to come.


The altar workers can come to the front now.

If you don't know God as your heavenly father, if you have not surrendered your Life to Jesus and, accepting his blood sacrifice, been grafted into the vine, adopted as a son or daughter of the God of the universe, then I would like to invite you right now into the family of God.

God is waiting to hear from you. And he is not passively waiting, but has been moving heaven and earth to bring you to the place where you would turn to him and be set free.

If this is you, then don't hesitate for another moment. Get out of your seat and come to the front right now. This is your hour of deliverance, this is the hour to come home to where you belong. This is your hour to be born into the family of God.

Pray this with me from your heart, in your own words. Say, "Jesus, I accept you as my Lord and my Savior. Forgive me for my sins. And come into my heart. Make me a part of the family of God. And help me develop a personal, intimate relationship with my heavenly Father God. Thank you. Amen."

This altar is open to anyone who would like to come and pray or just spend some time in the presence of the Lord. In a few minutes we'll all meet next door in the room to your left for a time of fellowship, and you're all invited to meet us there.


Let's pray.

Lord, thank you that you are our father. Thank you that you love us, and you delight in us. You rejoice over us with singing. Thank you for each one you have brought here today to hear your Word. Help us see you more clearly for who you are, as we continue to look into your Word for direction in our prayer life with you.

Hover over each one here and those reading or listening later. Protect this seed of your Word, and may it grow and produce much fruit in each one of us.

And it's in the name of Jesus we pray.

Amen.