Posted by: Rolf | June 19, 2011

A Father’s Prayer

Every child needs a father who calls his or her name before the Lord. By attending their events, getting involved in their interests, and expressing affection, we show our sons and daughters that we care. However, nothing demonstrates our love as powerfully as prayer does.

Praying for and with our children is part of a father’s responsibility. No one else will talk to the Lord about them with the same fervor that parents can. That is why it’s important to take the time to focus on specific needs. A hasty request like, “Please bless my children and keep them safe,” will be honored by God but will not satisfy our kids’ need for intercession. If a father prays with his daughter that the Lord would bring to mind the material she has studied, then she can walk into a final examination, confident of God’s provision and her dad’s love.

Adults often dismiss kids’ problems—like tests, sibling squabbles, and bouts of puppy love—as petty, compared to “real world” trials. Situations that seem huge to others, causing them tears and fears, can look like anthills to us. But one day, they too, will have big, adult problems with which to contend, possibly even bigger than our own. The best salve for their hurting hearts will still be a father who bows his head on their behalf. And, more importantly, we will have taught them to be praying men and women themselves.

Our Father who is in heaven, hallowed is your name. Jesus contrasted two types of prayer attitudes: some people pray to be admired by their peers, while others talk to God in secret. The former have their reward in the praise of men while the latter will be honored by God and receive an answer. We know there is an important place for public supplication, but it will be only as effective as our private prayer life. Before others, we are to speak simply and to the point; in private, our words are to bring us humbly into God’s presence with praise and thanksgiving.

Your kingdom come, your will be done. As believers, we are declaring our faith in the coming kingdom of God, and we are asking that the rule of Christ be over our lives. We are also promising to say yes to whatever the Lord requires of us. To pray words like these without a willing spirit reduces the Lord’s Prayer to a ritual—don’t let it become meaningless babble that will have no effect on the heart of God.

Different types of hindrances can block the effectiveness of our prayers. One does not know God’s will for our circumstances. He says “yes” when our petition is in agreement with His purposes for our life. Even when Scripture does not specifically address our situation, it still gives indications of God’s will, as in 1 Peter 2:15 and 1 Thessalonians 4:3 and 5:18. Having low expectations that God will answer is another obstacle. As believers, we’re to ask confidently. (Ephesians 3:12)

A third problem is doubt. Uncertainty is like a foreign intruder in our conversation with God. It short-circuits faith and the power of prayer. Doubt can derive from listening to the wrong voices, embracing beliefs out of line with the Word, or looking at the difficulty instead of the Lord. If God delays His answer or responds in an unexpected way, skepticism can sneak into our thinking. To deal with doubt, we must learn God’s ways. When we center our prayers on who He is, faith rises and doubt decreases. Disbelief will vanish as we discover His will and learn to shape our requests around it.

Too often, believers are lazy in prayer. We say, “Lord blesses so-and-so” without giving a single thought to what form the blessing should take. God does not work in generalities; He makes deliberate movements in every person’s life. And He is pleased when we use His Word in communicating with Him. The prayer from Colossians 1 includes God’s greatest desires for His children. When we go before the Lord and continuously read our own name or the name of a friend or family member into this passage, we are praying His specific will for that person.

Results may not be instantaneous. We could wait weeks or even years before we see a loved one turn to Christ or finally witness that gossipy neighbor bear loving fruit instead of rotten. But behind the scenes, the Lord is working to build that per-son’s spiritual understanding and impress on him or her desire to choose a faithful lifestyle. Our responsibility is to keep praying in a Christ-centered and specific manner.

A second reason for assurance is that we are praying according to God’s will. This idea often seems perplexing, so let’s look closely at it. We know certain things are never in God’s plan, such as lying, cheating, and actions prompted by pride, malevolence, or rage. (Proverbs 6:16-19; Colossians 3:8) And insignificant matters like which colors we wear or common-sense decisions like wearing a seatbelt are left to our discretion. But what about desires falling in neither category?

The night before His death, Jesus spoke to His followers about prayer. He introduced a new concept—asking in His name—and told of the power attached to it: “The Father will give you whatever you ask in My name” (John 15:16b). Supplication in the name of Christ means that we are declaring our:

What makes it possible for us to approach God through prayer is our relationship with Jesus. At salvation, we went from being foreigners and aliens to being children of God. (Ephesians 2:19) Our Creator has become our heavenly Father. He hears our requests because we have been made family through the redemptive work of His Son. The presence of Christ’s Spirit within us proves we are one of His own.

Jesus’ death opened the way for us to have immediate, unhindered admittance to the Father’s presence. When Jesus finished His work in making the final priestly sacrifice (Hebrews 7:28), the veil in the temple, which closed off the Holy of Holies from man, was torn in two. (Mark 15:38) This symbolized the spiritual truth that access to God was now open to all who believe. Through the Holy Spirit, we have the right to talk to God directly without a human intermediary. (Ephesians 2:18)

Because of Jesus Christ, our sins are paid for, we are in a new family relationship, and we have unhindered access to the Father. Let’s stop right now and give thanks to God for the incredible privilege of prayer!

In His Grip and Serving Grace…

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