Sunday, July 27, 2008

Our Father

Our Father

By Abraham Israel

9 In this manner, therefore, pray: Our Father in heaven, Hallowed be Your name. 10 Your kingdom come. Your will be done On earth as it is in heaven. 11 Give us this day our daily bread. 12 And forgive us our debts, As we forgive our debtors. 13 And do not lead us into temptation, But deliver us from the evil one. For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen. (Matthew 6:9-13).

This prayer that Jesus taught the disciples is usually called as the Lord’s prayer. But actually Jesus was teaching the disciples to pray ‘the disciple’s prayer’. The disciple is a person who believes in the ideas and principles of someone [i.e. Jesus Christ] and tries to live the way they do or did. Up to that time of teaching this ‘disciples prayer’, most of His disciples always used to pray only Jewish religious prayers which forbids calling God as their father because that would amount to blasphemy making them equal to God as a part of His family (Luke 11:1). For this reason the Jews even tried to kill Jesus Christ because He called God as His Father (John 5:17,18). Jesus was a radical who never entertained religiosity and had always rebuked it as hypocrisy (Matt 6:5). The most wonderful thing that Jesus taught, which I believe if understood will change our prayer lives too dramatically. Here Jesus was telling His disciples to pursue the relationship [note: not religion which says do this or don’t do this] with God as a part of His family as His family member, hence starting the relationship with Him by calling Him as “Our Father…”. This is the privilege that we have through Jesus Christ which even the Old Testament prophets did not have (Matt 11:11,25-27). The knowledge of intimately knowing God as our Father is a revelation that can only be experienced by those who come to God through Jesus Christ only (Luke 10:17,20,21-24). We are able to call God Almighty as “our Father…” because of what Jesus has done and achieved for us on the cross through the blood covenant [promise] that Jesus has made with God the Father and hence crying out “It is done!” at the end of sealing that covenant (John 19:30). Jesus is calling forth His disciples to purse a relationship with God more than anything else. Are we hearing it ‘Christians [disciples of Jesus]!’. So only the Bible calls Him as the mediator of the new covenant (1 Tim 2:5). A person cannot call somebody as father unless His nature [i.e. genes] is in them. To the most if a person is not the real father they will acknowledge themselves as only a surrogate father of somebody. But Jesus urges us to call God as “Our Father” because the moment we believe and receive Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior, God’s genes which is His Word gets implanted in to us and we become His child and part of His family, hence from there on to pursue our relationship with God as “Our Father” (1 Peter 1:23).

The moment we call God as “Our Father…”, we must understand that it is based on family relationship that we are drawing near to God and not based on our works that we do or have done for God. In a family setting a child doesn’t need to do something or achieve something to call its father as “daddy!”. A child calls its father as “Daddy!” because it has got its right to call him, and the child is a member of the larger family which is produced by the will of the father. It is God who has planned you to be “born again” in to His family by His decision, so you have the rights to call Him as your Father (1 Peter 1:23). This is the reason God the Father has sent His Spirit in you to enable [or make you understand] you to call Him “Our Father…” (Rom 8:15-16,26). Oh! What a privilege! Thank God for it!

We can be intimate and very close to His heart because He loves us as His very own children and this is the very basis of our relationship with God through Jesus Christ. Here Jesus is teaching His disciples the pattern by which they can pray and relate to God.

“Our Father in heaven…” Just because we call God as our father, we do not lose our natural identity and hence our physical father’s identity (Matt 23:9). Because we are born Spiritually anew through Jesus Christ, from that point of time as a child of God there is no need of any spiritual in-between that is needed for you to approach God. Spiritually He becomes as your only Spiritual Father. When you say ‘My [Our] Father who is in heaven’, it describes the Spiritual materiality of your connection in your spirit with Him. This is possible only through His Spirit who acts as the one and only agent of this Spiritual Connection that you have established through Jesus Christ.

From that moment we have started calling Him as “Our Father in heaven…”, all the nature and character of our father in heaven will start to get activated in us as He is revealed more and more through our Lord Jesus Christ acting in us and through us to others (John 6:44-46). Jesus said “…He who has seen Me has seen the Father…” because He revealed to us exactly the essence of God the Father’s character which had been revealed in the Names [i.e.character or essence] of God in the Old Testament and manifested it through His entire life time on earth as an absolute example for us to follow and imitate Him (John 17:6). So only once we call God as “Our Father in heaven…”, all these following revelations will begin to be unveiled to us and through us. Only when something Spiritual is revealed to us and we start applying it out in our life, it will be revealed through us to others when they see it manifest in our lives.

The name ‘Jehovah’ is a covenant name which can be used only by those who are part of that covenant (Exodus 6:2-8). Through Jesus we are part of that new covenant that He made with the Father through His death and resurrection, which testifies that God the Father has agreed to that initiated covenant to be active from that time on forever (Heb 9:11-12). By us calling God as our Father all these following Name of God becomes our right to experience it in time of need,

Elohim => Creator,
Jehovah => Contains Covenant,
[The name Jehovah contains the new covenant which Jesus made with God as His Father and His God, and hence through that covenant, God becomes “Our Father and Our God” through His perfect obedience (Matt 3:17; 26:39,46;John 20:17).]
El-Shaddai => My Supply/My Nourishment,
Adonai => My Master,
Jehovah-Jireh => My Provider/My Vision/ The one I see,
Jehovah-Rophe => My Healer,
Jehovah-Nissi => My Victory,
Jehovah-Mikkadesh => My Sanctifier/My Sanctification,
Jehovah-Tsidkenou => My Righteousness,
Jehovah-Shalom => My peace,
Jehovah-Shammah => My God’s Presence/He is there
[where? In my heart which is His temple].

All these covenant Name of God comes in to action when we just call God as “Our Father…”. Then we are acknowledging His sovereignty by saying, “Our Father in heaven, Hallowed be Your name.” By acknowledging His sovereignty from heaven over all (2 Chronicles 20:6), we are praising His Name and Lifting Him up because He is in control of everything that is happening around us and in the universe.

“Your kingdom come.” Here we are asking and beseeching God to establish His kingdom dominion to come in us and through us. This is an act of surrendering our-self to God and beseeching Him for His kingdom control and power to increase in our life through the Spirit of God in every area of our spirit, soul and body. This is also connected with the proclamation of the Gospel verbally and through our daily lives. That is why the Bible says, “The Kingdom of God is not in eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and Joy in the Holy Ghost.” (Rom 14:17). We are supposed to be full of the Holy Ghost by being filled again and again, this is the evidence of God’s Kingdom being extended through us (Eph 5:17,18-21).

“Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” God will is perfectly done in the highest heaven, but it is not fulfilled on earth because of satanic influence through his demonic agents influencing people. Hence not only we are asking the Lord to fill us again and again with the Holy Spirit, but also we are asking God to influence and direct our will constantly through the guidance of the Holy Spirit. Also we are asking God for the Kingdom Power to flow through us for the extension of God’s kingdom. We are also aligning ourselves to God’s will, based on our family relationship with the Father which we have through the new man in us. For example, a son will always inherit his father’s property hence he will always serve his father unconditionally. His longing will always be to fulfill his father’s will through his provision and resources that he supplies, because he knows it is his father’s good intention to give him all that he [i.e. father] owns to him [i.e. son] in the future (Luke 15:31;Matt 25:34). So we as his sons and daughters are aligning ourselves to do our Father’s business by praying in this manner.

“Give us this day our daily bread.” Then as a part of the family of God (Eph 3:14-15), we are asking each day expectantly for all the provision and nourishment that he has promised to give us when we ask Him (Matt 6:34; 7:11-12). As in any family where the child will look towards their father for their daily provision, we as a part of the family of God we look toward our heavenly Father who is the head for all our daily needs. Hence He becomes “Our Vision, the One we look towards in expectation”. He becomes our Pro-supply for our vision to be fulfilled. He becomes the one we see daily with expectation so that our joy will be fulfilled each day as we receive from Him (John 16:24).

“And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.” We are asking for His forgiveness because of His nature acting in us as a family member. We are coming before Him on the basis of identifying with Him based on His genes and character of forgiveness which is acting in us because of our perfect alignment through the Holy Spirit already. Hence forgiveness is the root through which the whole person of our being will be nourished by the goodness of God (Matt 13:20-21;Eph 3:17;4:32; Col 2:7). Without forgiving others, we will never be forgiven (Matt 6:14-15). Hence forgiveness [forgiving others] is the most important quality through which our identity with God who is love can be established and cemented (1 John 4:7-11;3:10-12). The expression of our love towards others is shown only when we forgive others as God also expressed His love toward us by forgiving us (Matthew 18:21-22,35). If we hate our brothers then we are murderers (1 John 3:15). Even if we are angry with a cause, it is we who should approach our brother and set it right before we come to offer any gift to our God (Matt 5:21-26).

“And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.” Here basically we are asking our heavenly Father for Divine protection and strength for us to overcome the evil thing or mistake that manifests in us daily without our control over it, so that we may not do the same mistake that we have done a day or week before. If we do not have a forgiving heart, we will surely be in demonic bondage because of torturers [demons and demonic activity]. You will be permitted to be in their extortion because God will allow it until you again receive a forgiving heart to forgive others (Matt 18:34-35; 5:25-26; 6:14-15). You will be given the heart of forgiveness when you take a decision to forgive others, who might or might not have wronged you and tell it to God.

When you are having a forgiving heart, you can ask the Lord any time not to allow you to sin again and again in the same way because of bondage to it and hence deliver you from it (James 1:14-16;Ps 34:17;Gen 20:6). He will be there for you to deliver you always from every evil and will protect you from falling in to the same sin again and again by empowering you (1 Cor 10:12-13). When you are able to resist the devil by the empowerment of the Holy Spirit, then you will begin to experience, How the power of the Greater One in you [God the Holy Spirit] is greater than the power of the enemy [satan and his demons] who is in the world (James 4:7; 1 John 4:4).

“For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.” At last we are acknowledging to our Heavenly Father and affirming it to Him that the kingdom and the power and the glory belongs to Him. In other words we are telling it to Him that He can only fulfill all that we have asked to Him because He owns everything including us. We are giving Him back the Honor that He deserves for all the things that He has done for us, doing in us and all that He will do for us in the future. Finally we are telling to Him “Amen-So be it!”. In other words we are telling Him, ‘Let all the things that I have told you happen in my life exactly by You fulfilling it according to the promise of Your Word and hence its fulfillment is no more with me but it is in Your Hands.’ Praise the Lord!

This should be the outlook, pattern or essence of the prayer of every believer and hence fulfilling the title “Disciple’s Prayer”, as we have called this prayer as. As we align ourselves according to this pattern that Jesus had taught us, every prayer that we make to the Heavenly Father will be fulfilled in due time, if we do not lose heart (Galatians 6:9,10). Glory be to God!


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