ICE BREAKER: Would you rather always have Season Tickets to your favorite sports team, OR always have free meals from your favorite restaurant?
This week, Pastor Lee Wong continued our conversation on prayer.
We looked back at a familiar passage, the Model Prayer. However, this time Lee focused on the verses surrounding the famous "Lord's Prayer." When Jesus was on earth, people generally thought of God as a giant, galactic dictator. They only referred to him with terms of servitude, and they were genuinely afraid that He was ready to judge them at the drop of a hat!
How do you think about God?
Do you tend to see Him as an authoritarian?
Is this the depiction of God you grew up with?
The people around Jesus didn't realize it at the time, but Jesus came to display exactly who God is! Jesus himself was God incarnate - God in human flesh. The people who followed Jesus realized that he prayed WAY different than everyone else. One day they asked Him to teach them how to pray and he started by calling God a VERY strange term - FATHER.
"Our Father, who is in heaven..."
No where in recorded history do we see anyone on earth referring to God as their "father." God's name was sacred and holy, He was the supreme master. But now, Jesus is saying we can call God a name we are all very familiar with, "Father."
How does it change your perception of God to address him with a more familiar term?
Jesus told a few stories to emphasize this new view of God. In one story he talked about a neighbor who comes in the middle of the night to ask for some food. As much as you tell them to go away, they keep knocking. Eventually, you give in because of their persistence. Jesus is making the point that even a neighbor will listen if you are persistent enough. God is ready to listen! He doesn't have to be begged.
Later, Jesus compares the Heavenly Father to earthly fathers. He makes the point that if a child asks their father for a piece of bread, the dad isn't going to hand them something dangerous like a scorpion. If we, as humans, can get that right - how much more so will our perfect God?!
When we go to God in prayer, it is important to have the right picture of WHO we are praying to. God is a good, good father who is eager to talk to His children! Although we can't always see his plan in real time, he is working for our good. His greatest joy is to be with us and to give us good things!
What is ONE WAY you will challenge how you think about God this week?
As we seek to become people of prayer, let's take up Pastor Lee's challenge and address God as "Father" every time we pray this week!
As you pray together, confess the wrong pictures and ideas you have had about God. He already knows them, but there is power in naming it! Thank God for being a Father who loves us with a perfect love!