Praying the ‘Our Father’ prayer can be likened to entering a spiritual house. In a sense, every part of the prayer can be viewed as a whole room of treasure to be explored in prayer. As we wait and ponder the depth of each word of each sentence, a treasury of revelation inspired by the Holy Spirit floods our hearts and minds, filling us with awe and wonder for our God!
We will reflect on each facet of the ‘Our Father’ prayer in two consecutive articles.
Our Father in heaven
We enter the first ‘room,’ of this house of prayer when we begin by acknowledging Him as our Father. He is our Father in heaven, and He is available to us. He is never too busy to listen to us. In this space of prayer, we come to better understand His love for us as a heavenly Father and that we can have a personal relationship with Him.
Focus on God’s perspective: Do you feel this way about your heavenly Father? It is not a shame if you do not. This can easily change by just starting to speak to Him as your heavenly Father, as a real person. You can ask Him questions and speak to Him about everyday life just like you would with a friend. Your heavenly Father truly longs for your fellowship as you do for His.
Hallowed be Your Name
Can we ever comprehend the full meaning of God’s name? His name is not just something by which He is called, but who He is. His existence is eternal, His character and works are awesome. Heaven is His throne and earth His footstool (Acts 7:49). God the Father and His Son choose to come and dwell within us (John 14:23). We are called to be holy for God is holy, to be like Him, in His image (1 Peter 1:16). The many names of God teach us about His character. Meditating on His name helps us to know Him better. A book of remembrance is being written before God right now for those who fear Him and meditate on His name (Malachi 3:16).
Focus on God’s perspective: The name of everyone who accepted Jesus Christ as Saviour is written in that book of remembrance mentioned in Malachi 3:16. But, it comes at a price. It will cost time, devotion and dedication to study the Word, to study His different names, and to ask the Holy Spirit to reveal their deeper meaning. Doing this is like entering yet another room in the ‘Our Father’ house of prayer. Another easy way to do this is by reading the Book of Psalms and marking every place where you find a name of God. You will be pleasantly surprised by what you have learned as you look back on those highlighted names!
Your kingdom come
Entering this ‘room’ in the house of the ‘Our Father’ prayer is very special as it gives us a view of the Kingdom of God. Jesus is our Advocate with the Father; He sits at the Father’s right hand and intercedes for us. ‘Your kingdom come’ is an invitation to God our Father to guide us and rule our lives. It pertains to us, our families, the Church, nation and the nations of the world. The Kingdom of God is where He sovereignly rules, where He is trusted as true and never doubted, questioned or resisted. The reality of ‘Your kingdom come’ is not established if you concentrate hard enough. Obtaining the fullness of God’s kingdom requires real steps of obedience, continuously inviting God into different areas of your life until He has complete lordship over the whole of your life.
Focus on God’s perspective: Is it true of your life that God has absolute lordship? Are there still areas you struggle to surrender? All of us have such areas. Therefore, it is as simple as admitting it, and asking the Father to help you surrender completely. Then His kingdom has come in that part of your life! Ask the Holy Spirit to show you such areas and spend time praying through these issues with the Lord.
Your will be done, on earth as it is in Heaven
Surrender means to yield ownership and give up control over what we consider to be ours; our property, time and our rights. Surrendering to God means we belong to Him. In the ‘room’ of surrender of the ‘Our Father’ prayer, we need to pause and consider the meaning of ‘His will.’ Christians easily claim what they believe is the ‘will of God’. However, knowing God’s will requires a willingness to be corrected. Waiting upon the Lord to guide us in this, requires all our attention. Drifting away into day-dreaming is not ‘time spent with God.’ Pray for the Lord to help you sincerely focus and concentrate on loving Him with all your heart, mind and strength (Matthew 22:37).
Focus on God’s perspective: Spending time with God is one of the most challenging disciplines for most Christians. Therefore, we must set our hearts and minds to this! Ask the Holy Spirit to help you in setting your mind on the Lord and His kingdom.
Give us today our daily bread
This ‘room’ in the ‘Our Father’ house of prayer reminds us of His commitment to provide in our daily needs as we put His kingdom first. Also, it does not read ‘bread for the rest of our lives.’ It only reads ‘daily’ bread. This is a challenging thought, for it requires us to trust Him daily. We never come to a place where we can provide for ourselves. Yet God can do ‘immeasurably more than all we ask or think’ (Ephesians 3:20). This ‘more’ does not necessarily mean volume or quantity, but rather a variety of all the different aspects of what we need, even things we may normally not consider as ‘provision.’ Furthermore, He supplies ‘more than enough’ (3 John 1:2). This surplus is usually not meant for our personal consumption, but to help others. If we consider that all we have belongs to God, we realise that we are simply stewards, and with every granted blessing comes stewardship and responsibility.
Focus on God’s perspective: Lingering in this ‘room’ of the ‘Our Father’ prayer can be quite challenging to the finite mind, as we all struggle at times to believe that God will provide for us as He does for others. Also, we truly desire ‘more than our daily’ bread so we can relax and not have to depend on God to provide again tomorrow. We need to ask ourselves the questions: Am I as faithful with R10 as I am with R100? Do I faithfully tithe from small amounts of income as I do large amounts? Usually what happens in our hearts when we receive R100 also reflects what we will do when entrusted with R100,000 or R1 million! The attitude and sincerity of heart is the foundational point to surrender before the Lord in this ‘room’. Ask the Holy Spirit to show you what is the condition of your heart.
This is the first of two articles on the topic “Entering the Lord’s house of prayer”. The second article on the topic will look at the remaining part of the ‘Our Father’ prayer.