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Knowing God as Father

• John McLawhorn

Posted in Attributes of God, Bible, Forgiveness, Gospel, Holy Spirit, New Testament, Prayer

By John McLawhorn

Do we worship what we know or what we do not know? This was the distinction made by Christ to the Samaritan woman at the well of Jacob concerning the Jews and Samaritans of his day. Jesus pointed out that God, who is spirit, was seeking true worshipers who will worship in spirit and truth. The woman replied that she knew that Messiah was coming and he would tell us all things. To this the Lord replied, “I who speak to you am he” (John 4:26). Let us consider our Lord's own teachings about our Father in heaven and how we are to worship and fellowship with him. For this purpose I have chosen the Lord's Prayer as a template to aid our thoughts heavenward.

Lord, Teach Us to Pray

The disciples' request for help in their prayer life in Luke 11:1 is very understandable. Indeed, Paul writes that we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us according to the will of God. We can learn to discern the Spirit's groanings within us in the hour of prayer by studying what the will of God is. This is done by having our minds renewed by the washing of the water of the word of God. This alone can give us confidence before God that whatever we ask we receive from him, because we keep his commandments and do what pleases him. By knowing God's will, we know something of his character and nature. To know God as our Father and to live our lives in harmony with him and his will is what it truly means to be a follower of Christ. The Lord's Prayer gives us wisdom as we seek to draw near to our Father in Heaven. This simple prayer contains worship, supplication, confession, intercession, and exaltation. As adopted children of God, we learn to cry out to him in the spirit of this prayer.

Hallowed be Your Name

To begin, we are taught to call on our Father in heaven whose name is holy. We have all had earthly fathers, but here is the Father of our spirits! It is He who calls us to join him in holiness and to be pure as He is pure. Positionally, we have been raised up with Christ to sit with Him in the heavenly places. What a privilege! We can share in the kingdom of heaven now and are taught to pray for the establishment of the Father's kingdom and will on the earth even as it is in heaven!

Give Us This Day Our Daily Bread

We also approach the Father as a child seeking his daily bread. Jesus said, "If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him" (Matthew 7:11). Our Father cares for the birds of heaven and clothes the grass of the field, and we can be assured that he hears our prayers for our needs. As we seek his kingdom and righteousness, he will add these things to us as well. He who did not spare his own son, but gave him up for us all, how much more, with him, will he freely give us all things.

Forgive Us

In speaking of the Father offering up his one and only son, we can say with confidence that if we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us and to cleanse us of all unrighteousness. In this same spirit, we are to show mercy to those who have sinned against us. The Father cares enough about our hearts that he has bound the mercy we show to others with the mercy we receive from him. We are his treasured possession, and he spares us as dear children, bearing with us in our weakness, remembering that we are dust. In our battle against sin, He is faithful to provide a way of escape in every temptation, not allowing us to suffer more than we can bear. He is our Deliverer! In the garden of Gethsemane, Christ was able to endure the agonies he faced knowing that His Father's will would ultimately lead to life and victory over sin and death! We are assured by Christ that no one may snatch us out of our Father's hand!

Your Kingdom Has Come

Finally, our Father is the Sovereign King of the universe. We prayed in the beginning for his kingdom to come, but we end by proclaiming that His IS the Kingdom, and the Power, and the Glory Forever! Amen. It is the Father who takes the initiative in our lives. It is he who chose us according to his good pleasure to give us the right to become children of God and to know him as our Father. No man comes unto Christ unless the Father draws him, and unless the Father opens our eyes, we cannot see the kingdom of God. Let us bow down in adoration and praise to the One from whom every good and perfect gift comes down, the Father of lights with whom there is no shadow of turning. Let us pray to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, that he may give us a spirit of wisdom and revelation that we may know him more. Amen.

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