The Listening Heart ~ Our Father
“Our Father” is whom we address our prayers to. He is the masculine parent of all rational and intelligent beings whether angels or men because He is our Creator, Preserver, Guardian and Protector of all spiritual beings and for the same reason, of all mankind. As we have been talking about Matt. 6:9-13, we have been praying as Christ is teaching us and acknowledging Father, who is Creator, and worshiping Him in His Majesty and Sovereignty.
We now appeal to Him as Preserver for our most basic daily needs in Matthew 6:11-12. In this appeal to Him we approach Him knowing He not only knows our sustaining needs, but supplies them - not from someone else’s table, not sold or lent to us, but GIVEN from His supply. I love how God did this for the Israelites while they were in the wilderness after their Exodus from Egypt, providing manna for them each morning. Their clothes did not wear out and their feet didn’t swell over the course of forty years (Neh. 9:20-21). This is our dependence upon His provision for our preservation and His portions are enough for us. But it is more than that, we opened this prayer with Jesus, addressing and acknowledging God as our Father and He responds to us in that role with the compassion and concern for the needs of His children. His tenderness toward us is a gift to us.
This prayer continues to flow in line with the Father’s character and role in our lives, Creator, Preserver, and Guide. In the Scripture references to this part of the prayer, we have many reasons for seeking God’s forgiveness - His letting go of our debts by not demanding what we owe for the penalty of our sins. Here are a few:
1-release of our future descendants from bearing out the consequences of our sins (Ex. 34:7)
2-knowing that our sin is covered (Ps. 32:1)
3-that we may fear the Lord because forgiveness is with God (Ps. 130;4)
4-that we can live in courage and health restored (Mt. 9:2)
5-Jesus willingly shed His blood to make provision for the forgiveness of our sin (Mt. 26:28)
6-we are the beneficiaries of the riches of His grace in redemption and forgiveness (Eph. 1:7)
7-we do not live in deception when we do confess sin and seek His faithful in forgiveness, we are cleansed (1 John 1:7-9)
These are some of the benefits of praying not only for our physical sustenance but also the spiritual, mental, emotional, and relational as well. In addition, He guides and instructs us to extend the same grace that He has shown us, to others. If we are to live in the blessing of Father’s forgiveness, we too need to give up demanding the punishment of people who have not yet made amends with us. Those who may have injured, wronged, or offended us in some way. This is not only the MESSAGE of the Gospel but the MINISTRY of it! Reconciliation is the Father’s heart and guides us to live in a peace that cannot be purchased!
Food for thought:
Can you think of someone that you don’t want to pray for and that doesn’t deserve your forgiveness?
Ask Father to help you to pray for them and their needs.
Be sure to thank Him for the grace He has shown you when you didn’t deserve it, and the grace He will give you to bless those who don’t deserve it.