The sermon at church on Sunday was about prayer, about how when we pray, we tend to think God answers or doesn’t answer because of our state, our ‘worthiness’. When in reality, God answers because of his goodness, our goodness or worth has no bearing on the situation, in fact, we’re no good without him, so it really doesn’t matter how “good” we’ve been (see our righteousness is like dirty rags etc – Isaiah 64:6). But I digress, the point is that God is generous and chooses to answer our prayers because of his character, not our merits. This is the God that Jesus knows.
So I started looking at Jesus’ prayers with God, and though I’ve seen them before as I was reading through various gospels, the spirit in which he goes to God never really stood out to me until our pastor Mark illuminated how when Jesus taught about prayer he taught to use the words “Our Father…”
Jesus is inviting us into his prayer life. When he prayed, he conversed with God, he got alone, he spent intentional time, so that to him, prayer wasn’t some arduous task that needed to be strictly adhered to or he would lose his righteousness, instead it was a rhythm that he lived in. He didn’t worry about tomorrow because he knew and trusted that God had it all taken care of. He asked God to heal people, to bless the food, to heal the sick, and to be with him in his darkest hours.
God is a good father, who knows the ins and outs of every situation in your life, and regardless of whether or not you believe in yourself, or your ability to ask of him, that doesn’t change the fact that God is loving and generous and wants you to come to him. Jesus gave us his spirit to pray to God, when he sent the “helper”, which we call the holy spirit, he allows us to engage God in the same way he did, as God’s children.
Below are some photos of Fathers and their small children. Think of the children of these photos, do they worry? Are they concerned about how good or worthy they are to be loved by their father? Are they thinking they need to make sure and work up enough righteousness to be deserving? They’re not.
I must release the idea of trying to be righteous before I come to God, and before I can “establish my prayer life”. Prayer was a part of Jesus’ life because it was his life. It was as natural and as necessary to him as breathing and eating. He trusted God and came to him regularly because he KNEW him.
I’m still working through some of the false narratives I have about God, but for some reason, these images above help me. Thinking of myself as the those little children is helpful, but thinking of God as the father is even more helpful, because I am a father. I know what it’s like to wish so badly my children knew my love for them. And I think that’s how God is, he wants us to know the depths of his love, just as Jesus did.
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