We’re excited to be starting a week of prayer together as a church – during these weeks God speaks to us as a church family and often surprises us.
When Jesus taught His disciples to pray He encouraged them to start by saying: “Our Father…”
All too often the enormity of this passes us by. Prayer is the means of relationship, it’s about connecting with the One who made us and who loves us.
The self-revelation of God is that He is Father. Our Father.
He doesn’t say our Master, or our Leader, or even our Shepherd… He doesn’t say our healer, or our deliverer, even though these things are all true.
The way in which God draws us to Himself is firstly as our Father.
So often I come to God with a low expectation of His desire for me, and for my participation in His wonderful working.
But this Father who loves with a purity, a warmth unlike any other human father, has great desire for us. He loves to draw us intimately to Himself, to shower us with affection, and to affirm His delight in us. More often than not we believe a lie that we need to somehow win his affection, that we need to show Him that we’re worth it.
As my wife and I were praying for our church this morning she had a picture of God being like a gardener in our lives. He delights to take the ‘raw material’ and make something beautiful out of it, to His glory. He turns over the soil and plants new seeds. He waters the dry parts. He uproots weeds that have no place in the garden of our lives. He prunes away dead leaves and branches, making room for fresh growth. Sometimes that process can be painful, but even the cuts He makes are for multiplication and beauty in us.
He stoops down and tends us. What an incredible picture! Our God, the Sovereign King over all that is made and can be made, bends down to care for us.
As we start our week of prayer, before we even get to the words ‘Hallowed be Your Name…”, let’s take time to delight in His love for us.
Often this means that we need to recognise lies that we believe about God’s heart toward us. We feel somehow unworthy of His love and acceptance. We are quick to disqualify ourselves, to protect our hearts from the potential disappointment of not encountering Him with unbelief. But He has accepted us fully, adopted us through the sacrifice of Jesus. And He promises that He will draw near to us as we draw near to Him.
He is our Father. How about taking some time to affirm God’s heart towards you? That He loves you without reservation. That He responds to you as a Father. That He longs to lead you into a deeper and fuller view of His love for you before He calls you to accompany Him on His mission.
Don’t rush to the mission, or to your needs until you have dwelt a while here, in the wonder of His adoption.