Our Father

11/17/2007

Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be Thy name.
Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.

Prayers…the Lord’s Prayer…the one taught by Jesus to His disciples after He said, “…your Father knows exactly what you need even before you ask him!” (Matthew 6:8 NLT) So, why do we take the time to ask God for anything, if He already knows? What difference does it make? Can we really utter any persuasive words that will change God’s mind about things just because we take the time to pray? Sometimes it seems prayers have great power, sometimes it seems they vanish into thin air…

There are many examples of prayers being answered in the Bible. In 2 Kings 20, there is the prayer of Hezekiah who had become deathly ill. The Lord said to Isaiah, “Go back to Hezekiah…Tell him…I have heard your prayer and seen your tears. I will heal you…I will add fifteen years to your life…” What about an example of unanswered prayer from a man of God? How about David’s example when Bathsheba’s baby was deathly ill? “Then on the seventh day the baby died.” Why didn’t the Lord change His mind with David’s child as He had with Hezekiah? Both had a deathly illness, both were visited by a great prophet, but the results of their prayers were very different.

The strange ways of God…who can figure? Is God listening, is He paying attention, is He truly able to help, or to mend or to fix or to heal? He must be, because even Jesus took the time to pray, and He had come down from Heaven to walk this earth. Jesus had been there when prayers ascended to Heaven, He had heard them, He must have known what the sound of our cries were like in the Throne Room and watched our Father’s response to them. And yet, even Jesus didn’t get every prayer answered the way He would have liked it to have been--the greatest example of this was right before Jesus was arrested--He fell face down on the ground praying, “My Father! If it is possible, let this cup of suffering be taken away from me. Yet I want your will, not mine.” God’s Will was the Cross for His Beloved Son. What does this tell us about Our Father which art in Heaven? Perhaps it tells us exactly what the Lord’s Prayer reveals, but we really don’t want to admit…that our Father is in Heaven, and His will is done on earth, as it is in Heaven. We can plead our case--He gives us that right--and sometimes it will change the outcome, sometimes not. Are we willing to let go of any and all control we think we might have, even trying to control God through our prayers? Do we want to believe in a God with that much power? Or the better question might be, “Would we want to believe in a God with any less power than that?”

It’s in our times of prayer that we begin to understand that everything God is doing in our lives, and in the lives of others we pray for, is preparation for meeting Him face to face one day. Our Father doesn’t say it’s fun, easy, likeable…accepting what’s happening in our life can be a hard, but we don’t know what’s best for our eternal future and for the eternal future of those around us, only our Father does. And we can ask Him to change what we see and are experiencing, and sometimes He will, but sometimes He won’t. Sometimes we are just called to cooperate, praying, “Thy will be done…” Amen.