Jesus said when you pray say, “Father/our Father.” What a wonderful way to begin a prayer, from the beginning it speaks of one who gives us life and secondly cares for the life that he gives us. We are his children – wonderful! A relationship has been established, a relationship that can never be lost, however young or old, however weak or strong etc.. God is our Father, we are his forever children. There’s no need for striving here, we are not trying to become his children, we are, and he is our Father.
The problem is so much of our Christianity can be about performing up to God, earning his love, earning the right to pray and get our prayers answered. We end up concerned with saying it the right way, doing it the right way, saying it long enough, saying it loud enough, but in the model prayer that Jesus gave us there’s none of it – none. Jesus just says, “when you pray say, ‘Our Father…'”
That’s it. That phrase enables us to relate to God the Father just as Jesus the Son does. To be with him as he is, to talk to him as he does. It gathers us up and draws us into the very fellowship of the Trinity, Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
Prayer before anything else is about encounter and relationship with God the Father, and the Father with his children. It’s about being, rather than doing. And that’s part of our problem, we live in an action world, there’s stuff that needs to be done, and our praying can be more about doing, getting something done, albeit for the kingdom. We are more interested in the gifts than the Giver.
The Psalmist spoke about being still and knowing God. I wonder whether we might reinterpret that in a New Testament way and say, “Stop, be still, stop your activity – even all your prayerful activity – and know that God is Father.”
Why not find some time, and just pray, “Our Father..” No more, just be with him. Get to know him. Talk to him without request, delight in him and what it means to be Father/son or Father/daughter.