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Newtown Bible Church

"Disciples Prayer: Praying to Father" (Matthew 6:9)

 Prayer is one of the greatest privileges we as creatures have, yet prayer more than just talking, it is communion with God. One of the most glorious promises that ever came from the lips of Jesus were His words to the disciples: “Whatever you ask in My Name that will I give to you that the Father may be glorified through the Son”

Jesus is speaking of God’s glory in the Son through our answered prayer. In this way are we praying according to the will of God, and can have full assurance that God hears and is delighted in our prayers. But how do we know if we are praying according to the will of God, what exactly does that mean?

Here we have God Himself teaching and tell us how to pray. This is not some great saint who prayed well and is passing along some helpful hints, this is God Himself telling us how to pray, the very One to whom we pray is telling us how to do it!

Luther was once asked by his barber to teach him how to pray, Luther wrote a response that began with the Lord’s prayer, then he said, “For to this day I drink of the Lord’s prayer like a child; drink and eat like an old man;’ I can never get enough of it. To me it is the best of all prayers.”

It is my prayer that the disciples prayer would be that to us; that God the Holy Spirit would utterly transform our prayer lives individually and as a church through out study of this most magnificent and glorious portion of Scripture. Prayer is one of the greatest graces given to God’s people, and here is the heart of all instruction on it.

 

READ: Matthew 6:9-15.

 

This prayer contains 6 request that are naturally divided up in to two general categories: (1) Adoration (2) Supplication, which we will cover in the coming weeks.

But before we get into the actual content of the prayer I am going to introduce it by looking at 3 striking truths a that are necessary for us to see to begin to grasp its full meaning: (1) Patter, (2) Priority, (3) Privilege.

 

(1) It is a Pattern for prayer.

You may ask: “Why is this striking?” Let me ask: “Who is speaking here?”

You may have asked yourself before: “How do In know I am praying according to God’s will?” “How so I know my priorities are lining up with God’s priorities?”

I have heard people say before, particularly when they don’t really want to listen to counsel from God’s word on an issue, “Well, I’ve prayed about it.” Usually means they feel good about it, and they don’t want to mess that up with what the Bible says. Their feeling good about it is the ultimate authority.

The question isn’t just have you prayed, but have you prayed rightly? Have you prayed according to God’s will? Did your prayer follow the same pattern of priorities as the Lord lays out here for us?

There is a little word here that is left out of most translations: “Therefore” - that word connects us back to everything the Lord has just said about how NOT to pray.

In other words, people can put a lot of effort into praying wrong prayers that never reach past the ceiling. They are selfish, proud, their entire view of God is wrong - god their own imaginations, they are outside His will (1 Kings 18 [Elijah on Carmel]; James 4:3 “You ask and do not receive because you ask with wrong motives”).

Do you want to know God’s true blessing? It is not simply a matter of praying; it is a matter of praying rightly?

“Pray in this way”- Notice, He does not say, “Pray this …” but rather “Pray like this” - it is, then, a model prayer; it is not simply words to recite alongside other canned prayers - this is the very error that the Lord is confronting (“do no use meaningless repetition”).

This does not mean it is wrong to memorize it, or repeat it, for these could be done with reverence, sincerity, and faith. It does mean it is more than that, and if it is never understood beyond the mere repetition of the words the entire point of the Lord will be missed.

It is important because He is teaching us how to pray according to God’s will.

 

Next, it shows us the Priority of Prayer (or, could say, “Why prayer is a priority in the Christian life.”)

*Let me suggest to you 5 reasons:

Prayer glorifies God

Now, really all prayer, all of life is about the glory of God. The whole purpose of creation, redemption, and the Christian life could be summed up in the one statement: “From Him and through Him and to Him are all things, to Him be the glory forever. Amen.” (Rom. 11:36).

From beginning to end this model prayer is about the glory of God - it is *God-centered.

1st Three Request explicitly for God’s glory: Name, kingdom, Will.

2nd Three Request God’s glory through our dependence: Provision, Pardon, and Protection

From beginning to end He is focused on the the glory of God: “Whatever you ask in My Name that will I give to you that the Father may be glorified through the Son” *We pray for God’s glory; for His power, faithfulness to be on display.

Prayer is highest privileges of faith

The very fact He is teaching us shows the great privilege and priority it is!

Prayer is not a last resort, but a first resort. Sometimes we have heard other say, and have probably said ourselves, “I guess all I can do it pray about it.” As if that were some pathetically hopeless activity, since we have exhausted all our resources we will just toss one up to God and see what that does. This is a very wrong attitude toward prayer!

Prayer is one of the highest privileges of faith; that we get to gain the ear of God, which leads to the 3rd way Christ shows the priority of prayer.

Prayer is God’s means of communicating grace

Very point of Christ's’ teaching is how to to bring our hearts before God honor Him to know His blessing (note).

Scripture teaches numerous graces that God communicates through prayer:

We gain wisdom (James 1:5); spiritual insight (Eph. 1:18); forgiveness of sin (1 John 1:5); spiritual strength (Eph. 3:16f); opened doors of opportunity for the gospel (Col. 4; Eph. 6); experience God’s peace (Phil. 4:6); get to cast our cares, burdens, and anxieties on Him (1 Pet. 5:7).

“What a friend we have in Jesus, all our sins and griefs to bear, what a privilege to carry, everything to God in prayer.”

Prayer honor’s Christ Sacrifice

(will talk about more later) but must remember: God shed His blood for purchase the opportunity for us to approach Him. *Heb. 7:25-27.

“To neglect prayer is to cheapen everything Jesus accomplished for us at Calvary and is doing for us now in glory.”

Prayer expresses relationship

It is communing with God - it is not just a duty. The Son of God Himself was model of passionate prayer to His Father: Mk. 1:35 “Early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up left the house, and went away to a secluded place, and was praying there””; Lk. 5:16 “But Jesus Himself would often slip away to the wilderness and pray”; 6:12 “It was a this time that He went off to the mountain to pray, and He spent the whole night in prayer to God”

He wasn’t confessing sin, He was communing with His Father; He was seeking His face; beloved, He is our example. *Takes us to final point.

 

(3) The great Privilege of Prayer.

First that God is, “OUR Father …” -

By using the plural “our” Jesus is reminding us that all Christians are part of the family of God. We address God as Father individually and collectively.

So, while the focus in on our coming to God, and while there is no direct mention of prayer for others, yet the prayer is clearly set in our family relationship with each other and with God as Father. Later (v. 12,14-15) He tells us to forgive one another, and by implication we also pray for one another. 1 John 4:20 “If someone says, ‘I love God,’ and hates his brother, he is liar; for the on who does not love his brother whom he has see, cannot love God whom he has not seen.”

Secondly, notice that we address God as, “Our FATHER …” - Jesus will use this term 17x in the Sermon on the Mount alone. This is a dramatic shift in the thinking of the people; God was a Father as a nation, but was not addressed personally as Father. Jesus introduces a profound change in understanding their relationship to God.

He Himself referred to God as Father in every prayer recorded in the Scripture, except for one - when He was on the cross: “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?”

Some did not have good fathers on earth and may not be impressed with the truth that God is Father.

Yet that is a sad approach to the matter, for we all want a loving relationship with our Father, and regardless with the relationship you have had with your earthly father, God offers Himself as the perfect Father, perfect in love, mercy, power, and grace (Ps. 68:5 “A Father to the fatherless”).

Thirdly, this is a prayer for believers. The great cry of liberalism was the Universal Fatherhood of God; Brotherhood of Man. (I won’t develop).

God is not the Father of unbelievers in any familial sense. He is Father in the sense of Creator (Acts 17:26), but not as one who is in loving relationship, who desires only their good, and who through Christ is attentive to their prayers.

Beloved, everyone in this room and in the world by nature is: “children of wrath” (Eph. 2:3), or our “father the devil” (John 8:44).

Outside of Christ we have no access to God. Look at those around you to understand the significance of this. When you step outside of these doors and watch the unbelieving world, all who are not regenerate and in a saving relationship with Christ, they have no access to God. This does not mean that they do not pray, it means they have no true access to God. (Isaiah 1:15).

The great change in salvation is that believers go from being God’s enemies to being God’s sons and daughters through Christ (John 20:17).

But, those who have been regenerated, born again by God the Holy Spirit now are new creatures and have a new impulse in the soul by which we cry out to God, “Abba, Father!” (Gal. 4:6; Rom. 8). We call God Father, who know Him through Christ, by the regenerating power and reality of the Holy Spirit.

We are born into His family by spiritual birth, through faith and repentance, by adoption. (*1 John 3:1 “See” see how? See by considering who you were, see by meditating on Christ crucified purchasing your entrance into God’s presence, see by considering His grace to you [or offered, if not yet a Christian], see by asking Him to open your eyes and your heart).

Now, and only now for those who know Him as such, do we go to God as “Father.” “Father” who loves us even as He loves the Son (John 17); a “Father” who is full of compassion (Ps. 103:13); a “Father” who listens to us as He listened to the Son (John 16:26-27). A “Father” who is perfect in wisdom (and gives wisdom [James 1:5]), love, power, and glory. A “Father” who owns all things and has given us all things in the Son! Our “Father” who crucified the Son to make us “sons and daughters”! Our “Father” whom from whom the angels veil their sight. Our Father “who is in heaven”!

Fourthly, He is sovereign, “IS IN HEAVEN” - Not so much a reference to His location, rather, it speaks of His authority, glory, power, holiness, even transcendence. He is not only in heaven, but who fills heaven and earth; heaven and the highest heaven cannot contain Him; yet He is personal. “The LORD is near to all who call upon Him, to all who call upon Him in truth.” (Ps. 145:18).

In contrast to the chaotic, empty prayers of pagans that pray to distant deities that need to be cajoled to act on behalf of the petitioner, or mistrusted on account of their capriciousness the One true God is a Father -

This is a constant them in Scripture, that God, great, holy, other than, Creator of the universe, splendid in glory, but would take on flesh, put on a towel and kneel down to wash the feet of His disciples; A God who would hang limp on a cross to redeem even the very ones mocking Him - so that they could call Him, “Father.”

(Matt. 1:21 “Immanuel, God with us”; 28:20 “Lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the age”).

Here also, we are compelled back to the Trinity. God the Father is known as Father only through God the Son, God the Son is only known through the ministry of God the Holy Spirit. We have access to the Father, through the Son, by the power of the Holy Spirit. The Three in One, working, moving, accomplishing in perfect harmony.

The Son prayed to the Father, and so we in union with God through the Son, have the same avenue of address. So as the Father loves the Son, He loves us who are in the Son. As He heard to Son, so He hears us because of the Son - yet because we are not practically perfect as was Christ we also have both the Son and the Spirit interceding for us according to the perfect will of God.

The God is a Trinity, He is the Triune God, and therefore, it should not surprise us that each Person of the Trinity is involved in our prayer life. The Father knows, provides and ordains (Matt. 6:8, 33), the Son intercedes (Heb. 4:14-16; 7; 10); the Spirit groans for us (Rom. 8)

Note: Because all Three are God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit we can direct our prayers to all three. It is not wrong to pray the Spirit in relation to His role in our lives as revealed in Scripture, neither is wrong to pray to the Son, or the Father.

We pray only to God, here He directs to the Father, in other places He notes we will request of Him. Others He notes it is in the power of the Holy Spirit.

Final aspect of prayer: Humility. His nearness is sensed by all who approach Him by faith and with that broken and contrite heart that humbly trust in His grace: “For thus says the high and exalted One who lives forever, whose name is Holy, ‘I dwell on a high and holy place and also with the contrite and lowly of spirit in order to revive the spirit of the lowly and to revive the heart of the contrite” (Is. 57:15; **66:1-3.

Glorious instructions the Lord has given us as we come to the this incredible grace of prayer: the Lord has giving us a model of prayer whereby we can know that we are praying according to the will of God; He teaches us the great priorities of prayer, the great honor and blessing that it is to come to Him, and the incredible privilege of prayer, that we get to call God Father, God who is transcendent in glory, God who is sovereign, God who has revealed Himself in the fullness of His Triunity - God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, God who has purchased for us who know the privilege at the great cost of His own dear Son.

 

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