Have you ever been in a situation where you start talking to someone, but you don’t actually know who they are?
One thing I have come to learn about my wife is that she does not do well when she meets a famous person! Maybe you are the same or know someone who is the same, they cannot seem to contain the excitement and the nervousness that they are face to face with a celebrity! We were in a situation once where we met an international rugby player, I knew who he was, and I knew that my wife could not find out who she was about to be introduced to. I dread to think how the conversation would have gone if she had found out that she was talking with a sporting celebrity! I will probably get in trouble for sharing this story, but the point I am making is that we change how we communicate with someone when we actually know WHO they are.
In Matthew 6:9 Jesus begins by saying:
“This, then, is how you should pray:
“‘Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,”
In a Hebrew and Jewish setting words and names of people were very important as they identified who the person was. What an amazing thought that God, the creator of the universe, the one who spoke the sun, moon and stars into being, who formed mankind from the dust of the earth, doesn’t ask us to address him as Lord, although he is Lord. He doesn’t ask us to address him as King, although he is the King of Kings. He doesn’t ask us to address him as Saviour, although he is Saviour. No, he asks us to address him as Father. When we talk to him he wants us to know that first and foremost his character to us is a Father, he is our Father in heaven.
Jesus then goes on to say “hallowed be your name”, hallowed means holy. The Greek word for holy is ‘hagios’ which literally means different. He wants us to address him as Father, but he wants us to know he is different to any other Father. Some of us have been blessed with an amazing Father, others have had the very opposite experience. Neither matter when it comes to God our Father, he is unlike any other Father. He always has time for us, he will never leave us, he will never let us down, he will never lose his rag with us, he will never hurt us. Our Father in heaven is completely unlike any other. We can approach him, because of Jesus, with full confidence, knowing that we will never be turned away.
If we are to experience the incredible intimacy that prayer bring then we must know WHO we are praying to.
I want you to imagine the best Father you can, go crazy. Imagine how much love and care that Father would have for his children. Use the imaginary perfect Father you have just thought of and apply what a great preacher once said “Now take that feeling he has for his children and multiply it exponentially. That is how your Father in heaven feels about you. No-one’s voice sounds sweeter to God than yours. Nothing in the cosmos would keep him from directing his full attention to your requests.”
Have you ever spent a moment before you pray, to consider the one with whom you are about to communicate? Try it. Before you pray spent a few moments focusing on the fact that God, in all his power and might, wants you to address him as Father. I guarantee it will change the way you approach prayer.