“Steps to Successful Prayer, Part 3″ by John MacArthur
Part 3: Submit to God’s Paternity
How often do we actually think deeply about the words we say in prayer? These days certain names for God and phrases like in Jesus’ name are thrown around so haphazardly you wonder if they still have any meaning at all.
If we’re not careful, our prayer lives can easily and quickly fall into a rut—a meaningless recitation of the same words and phrases day after day, without any thought as to what we’re saying, or whom we’re saying it to.
The model prayer Christ gave His disciples stands in stark contrast to that kind of rambling repetition. Every word in the Lord’s Prayer is deliberate, intentional, and loaded with spiritual significance—including the name Jesus used to address the Lord.
And He said to them, “When you pray, say: ‘Father, hallowed be Your name. Your kingdom come. Give us each day ourdaily bread. And forgive us our sins, for we ourselves also forgive everyone who is indebted to us. And lead us not into temptation’” (Luke 11:2-4).
The prayer starts with a reference to God’s paternity. The first word—the address—is a reminder that God is our heavenly Father. We go to Him not only because He is a sovereign Monarch, a righteous Judge, and our Creator, but because He is a loving Father. That beautiful expression reminds us of the grace that gives us unlimited access to His throne (Hebrews 4:16)—and it encourages us to come boldly, just as a son or a daughter would come to a loving dad.
That familial connection, by the way, is the basis for our boldness in prayer. The point is not that our words have any kind of magical power; not that God is somehow obliged to give us whatever we ask for; and certainly not that our faith merits material rewards—but that God in His sovereignty invites us to come to Him as a gracious and loving Father. The intimacy of the Father-child relationship does not diminish the reverence we owe Him as our sovereign God. Far less does it give us any reason to exalt ourselves. Instead, it is a reminder that we should be childlike in our dependence on God’s goodness and love. Ultimately, because He is our sovereign Lord, Creator, Judge, and Father, He is the only One we can rely on to supply all our needs and satisfy our deepest longings. If our prayers are truly worshipful, they will be permeated with recognition of that truth. . . .[Continue reading at Grace to You]
John MacArthur is the pastor-teacher of Grace Community Church in Sun Valley, California, president of The Master’s College and The Master’s Seminary, and featured teacher with the Grace to You media ministry. Grace to You radio, video, audio, print, and website resources reach millions worldwide each day.