Family Talk

Bible Book: Matthew  6 : 9
Subject: Prayer; Lord's Prayer
Series: The Heavenly Prayer Language

Prayer is without a doubt the greatest means of communication ever given to man. Today we are in overload when it comes to communication. We are on the "information highway." The means of communication have exploded in recent years.

Cell phones! Everyone has a cell phone! Instant touch with people anywhere in the world! Just think about it. What would we do if Al Gore had not invented the internet and email?! Don't you just love it?!

One man had been teaching his three-year-old daughter the Lord's Prayer. Finally the day came when she wanted to go solo with the prayer. The father listened with pride as the little girl prayed. She enunciated every word right up to the end of the prayer:

"Lead us not into temptation but deliver us from some email. Amen." I agree with her!

With no technology, just a willing heart, a person through prayer can communicate with the God of this universe. But we must understand what prayer really is.

"Prayer is not a fetish or gimmick, it is a Scripture-ordained act of obedience, a means of humbling ourselves before God, drawing close to Him and making room for Him to speak and act in our lives."

P.T. Forsythe says, "Prayer is the highest use to which speech can be put." Clement of Alexander stated, "Prayer is keeping company with God."

Prayer is not a duty, it is a delight. Doug Hill, a cartoonist, characterized a person praying. The caption read..."Lord, I lay before you the prayer concerns voiced this morning...even though most sound like whining to me."

Listen, prayer is not whining, it is loving on God and coming into His presence. The very first thing you must get down in prayer is:

I. The Family Connection

A. Starting It Right

It Is Important That You And I Begin Our Conversation With God In The Right Way

Listen, The Way You Address Someone Really Does Matter

Let me put it to you this way. Maybe you can remember a time when you were going to speak with someone and the conversation would carry great importance and impact in both your lives. What do you do? You think about what you're going to say because you have discovered the way you address someone really does matter.
What You Say To God Really Matters

Ted Koppel, upon receiving the "Broadcaster of the Year Award" in 1986 made a tremendous statement. "Consider this paradox. Almost every word that is publicly said these days is recorded, almost nothing that is said is worth remembering."

I totally disagree. When it comes to prayer the God of this universe bends His ear to us to hear, remember, and answer every prayer of His children. We need to make sure we start it right.

B. Say It Right

Jesus Tells Us How To say It Right.

"Pray then in this way; Our Father, Who art in heaven..."(v. 9) Many say, "It is so childish, it is so simple." No, I say, "It is so childish, it is so spiritual."

Jesus Is Speaking From His Context And Knowledge

Prayer To Jesus Was Just Speaking To His Father

Go Through The Gospels And Study The Prayers Of Jesus Christ - He Starts His Prayers Not With Cold Religion But With Compassionate Relationship. Jesus by example teaches us a powerful insight and that is, "Prayer is not between strangers but it's between a father and child." In other words, it is family talk.

In Matthew 6:6 Jesus says, "Pray to your Father."

From the beginning of His ministry to the day on the cross, He prayed to His Father. Remember in the Old Testament there were only 14 references to God as Father and that was always in regard to the nation of Israel. In the New Testament in the Gospels alone the term Father, in reference to personal God, is found 60 times. Theologians have said because of Jesus' intimate use of the word Father they ascribe to Christ..."No one has ever prayed like this." The word Christ uses is Abba which is translated Daddy. In the Lord 's Prayer Jesus is driving home a point. You can't pray to God whom you do not know. You must know Him as Father in the way that a son would know his father. So when you come to prayer, you come to your Dad who is in Heaven.

II. The Father's Character

A. What Jesus Knew

1. God Is Love

Everett Fullam was a missionary to a remote tribe of people in the interior of Nigeria. The tribe was so isolated that it had never heard the word Africa much less America. They had a pagan, pre- scientific view of creation so simplistic that when Fullam mentioned to the chief the then-recent phenomenon of two Americans walking on the moon, the old chief looked hard into Fullam's face then up at the moon and exclaimed in an angry tone, "There's nobody up there, besides, it's not big enough for two people to stand on!" The old chief meant it! He had absolutely no idea of the size of the moon or its distance from the earth.

But there in the forgotten wiles of West Africa Fullam had a memorable experience that drove home to him what it means to know God as Father. He baptized three people who had come to know the love of the Father through faith in Jesus Christ and Fullam described the experience in this way."

There were two men and one woman who stood on the banks of the muddy river wet and happy. I had never seen three more joyful people. 'What is the best thing about this experience?' I asked. All three continued to smile, the glistening water emphasizing the brightness of their dark-skinned faces. But only one spoke in clear, deliberate English. 'Behind this universe stands one God, not a great number of warring spirits as we had always believed, but one God and that God loves me!'"

How beautiful an illustration! Those three Africans prayed, "Our Father" and experienced the same sense of love that we know!

2. God Is Forgiveness

Jesus knew He was the Way that would pave the road to forgiveness out of the Father's heart. The sense of God's forgiveness is so clearly defined by the Father and the Prodigal Son's story of Luke 15. It is significant that the first word to fall from the Prodigal Son's lips when he returned home was, Father! (Luke 15:21) And those words were followed by forgiveness. (Luke 15:22) The more deep-seated our sense of God's fatherhood, the deeper will be our sense of forgiveness.

3. God Is Always Present

He is there to care for every need, to love when we have been rejected, to strengthen when we're weak, to lift up when we're downtrodden, to counsel when we're distraught, to build up when we've been torn down.

Illustration - When my oldest son, Stephen, went off to college, it was an earth-shaking experience for his Mom and me. One of the last things we said to him as we drove away from that campus was, "Son, whatever you need, we'll always be there for you." My son knew then and he knows now I am always one phone call away. Our heavenly Father is just one prayer away.

B. What You Can Know

1. God Can Be Your Father

By entering into a personal relationship with Him through Jesus Christ.

Admit your need.

Believe in Jesus the Messiah.

Confess Jesus as Lord.

Remember because of our adoption as sons of God, God becomes "our Father."

Paul could not get over it when he penned...For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again, but you have received a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, 'Abba Father.'

(Romans 8:15)

2. God Our Father Grants Us Privileges

Because He is our Father we can have confidence He cares about us and desires the very best for us.

Illustration - I love my children and there are a lot of times I get a lump in my throat when I think about them. I cannot imagine a time when I would be too busy to help them or would brush them off if they needed something from me. When one of my three children asks for something that I know is good and important to them, I do everything in my power to ensure they get it. I rejoice in their accomplishments, support them in their dreams and endeavors, and take 100 times more pleasure in their successes than any of my own. I love to pick up the phone and hear their voice say, "Hey, Dad!" It makes my day. When my kids hurt I feel their pain. When they cry, I weep right along with them. When they struggle, I, like so many other fathers, lay awake at night thinking about them. Listen, if I'll do that, is there any doubt that our heavenly Father will do any less?

I don't know about you but this knowledge alone would make me want to come into His presence and stay there throughout the day.

3. God Our Father Calls Us Into Accountability

A father's love is not always a broad smile and an open hand. Sometimes it is a stern voice and a disciplined touch upon our lives.

We're all sinners who make our mountains of mistakes.Through our words, attitudes, and motives, many times even unintentionally we bring dishonor on the very Christ we claim to worship.

As our Father He calls us into accountability. (Hebrews 12:7-10) Mark it down. Being a child of God comes not only with its privileges but also its responsibilities. To call Him Father reminds us that we are welcome at His side but that we're also willing to receive His correction as one of the gifts fathers give to their children. There are times even with my own kids I have to look at them and say, "I love you too much to let you get by with this." I'm so thankful I had a father who disciplined me. I'm so thankful my heavenly Father always brings correction and holds me in check. It makes me want to call out to Him, "Our Father, who art in Heaven, how I love you!"

4. Our Father Provides For Our Every Need

The Scripture promises us that He meets every need we have.

If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give what is good to those who ask Him! (Matthew 7:11)

The Scripture teaches that our Father owns the cattle on a thousand hills. (Psalm 50:10) There is no shortage of supply that stops the love of God from showering us with everything we need in order to live as He wants us to. His promise is to take care of all our needs as we live obediently in His Kingdom. Oh my friend, our job in prayer is not to inform God but to enjoy God! Let our focus stay on our Father who is in Heaven.


In Corey Ten Boom's gripping autobiography, The Hiding Place, which tells of her family's effort to shelter Jews from the Nazi forces in Holland during World War II, she describes in disturbing detail the conditions of the German concentration camp where she and her sister, Betsy, were interred for their role in the resistance. Upon their arrival at Ravensbruck, they discovered that they had landed in hell. It was a vicious labor camp where whatever shred of human dignity was stripped down to the shoes at the entry gate and ended up in a pile of charred bones in the gas chambers.

She walks us into the rancid dormitory where the smell of raw sewage and soiled bedding was so overpowering it took your breath. Narrow tiers of rotting bunk platforms were so hopelessly overcrowded the prisoners had to sleep with others' feet in their faces and knees in their backs. And the fleas...everywhere, biting, infested fleas!

She wailed to her sister, "What are we going to do? This is more than I can bear! How can we live in such a place?"

Betsy's reply came in short, wondering tones, "Show us, show us how."

Corey writes, "She said it so matter of factly that it took me a second to realize she was praying. More and more the distinction between prayer and the rest of life seemed to be vanishing for Betsy."

Church listen, so it does for those of us who approach our Father in Heaven through His Son on His terms, in His love. The fleas do not become the issue. Perhaps like for Betsy, the fleas become a reason for renewed faith, but the issue becomes our faithful Father.

Let us pray, Our Father, who art in Heaven.