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Thursday, June 9, 2016

Learning to Know God As Father

In review of Matthew 6:9 it says, “This, then, is how you should pray: ‘Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name’”

Bottom Line:
Pray like this: Father in heaven, may your name be honored always.

What this means to me:
Above all else God should be set apart and kept honored, therefore, this is how I should pray: Father in Heaven, help guide me so that I can honor you in all I do.

Today's passage comes from the first part of Matthew chapter 6 where Jesus is teaching his disciples about prayer. First he recommends that we don't pray just for show, but rather we pray in private. Also we are not to babble on with many words repeated over and over again. We are to pray like this:

Father in heaven, may your name be kept holy,
May your Kingdom come soon,
May your will be done here on earth, as it is in heaven.
Provide what we need today,
forgive our sins as we forgive those who sin against us.
And don't let us yield to temptation, but rescue us from the evil one.

In the Old Testament, God is called “Father” only seven times. People just didn’t think of God as Father. They thought of him as other kinds of things; Creator, Almighty One, etc. But they didn’t think of God as Father. Then Jesus came along and said this is how you’re to pray: Call him Father. Jesus uses the expression more than 150 times to refer to God.

What Jesus does is eliminate the prior stereotypes. Jesus reveals to us that God is not the angry tyrant, the cosmic cop, the universal killjoy, or the impersonal force. Rather God is a personal God. He wants to have a relationship with me, and he created me with the ability to have a relationship with him.

There’s only one problem. For many people, the word “father” can be a negative term that may bring up all kinds of bad memories. If God is like my father, then no thanks.”

The truth is, some human fathers can make home a hell on Earth. Human fathers can be fickle, moody, abusive, controlling, and violent. So the words “our Father in Heaven” carry a lot baggage for some people.

The reason why many people never connect with God is because they unconsciously think God is like their earthly father, who may have been unreasonable, so they think God is unreasonable. Or, maybe their father was unreliable, so they think God is unreliable. There is a tendency to impose all those mixed-up hurts and emotions onto God, and it’s no wonder many have a hard time connecting with him.

Also, unfortunately many kids today have very little connection to their father. So why would they be expected to have a connection with their heavenly Father? It’s no wonder many don’t understand God!

I need to let go any of the misconceptions and myths I may have about God so that I can understand the truth of what God the Father is really like. Because the truth will set you free! Misconceptions will keep me disconnected from God. But when I really know him, it will be easier to love him, so I will continue to have conversations with God each day and to study his Word so that I can more deeply understand who he really is.

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