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JESUS TEACHES US TO PRAY
The second thing Jesus wants us to focus on as we begin to pray is that our Father is in heaven.
Matthew 6:9 “This, then, is how you should pray: “‘Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name,
Just step back a minute and ask yourself a question: “Doesn’t God know He’s in heaven?” The answer is obvious: Of course our heavenly Father knows He is in heaven! Then why do you think it is important for us to begin our prayer time by telling our Father that we know He is in heaven?
Jesus instructs us to begin praying by remembering that our Father is in heaven for OUR benefit. We are to remind ourselves that the One we are praying to lives in a glorious place beyond the boundaries of time and space. Heaven is a place where sin and evil do not exist.
As a side note, notice please that we still have made no request of God. We have not asked Him for a thing as we’ve followed Jesus’ instruction on prayer. Instead, we’ve begun our prayer by simply focusing our thoughts on the Person and Place of God. He’s our Father. He’s in Heaven.
Why does Jesus want us to focus our thoughts on the fact that God is in heaven? To answer this question let’s look at some passages of scripture that describe heaven.
- Our Father is the ruler of heaven:
Psalm 103:19 The LORD has established his throne in heaven, and his kingdom rules over all.
Isaiah 66:1 This is what the LORD says: “Heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool. Where is the house you will build for me? Where will my resting place be? 2 Has not my hand made all these things, and so they came into being?” declares the LORD. “This is the one I esteem: he who is humble and contrite in spirit, and trembles at my word.
- Our Father sees and knows everything as He rules heaven and earth:
Psalm 33:13 From heaven the LORD looks down and sees all mankind; 14 from his dwelling place he watches all who live on earth– 15 he who forms the hearts of all, who considers everything they do.
- Our Father in heaven knows and understands infinitely more than we do.
Isaiah 55:8 “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the LORD. 9 “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.
- Our Father is not limited by any circumstance. Nothing is impossible for Him.
Jeremiah 32:17 “Ah, Sovereign LORD, you have made the heavens and the earth by your great power and outstretched arm. Nothing is too hard for you.
Job 42:2 “I know that you can do all things; no plan of yours can be thwarted.
Isaiah 40:21 Do you not know? Have you not heard? Has it not been told you from the beginning? Have you not understood since the earth was founded? 22 He sits enthroned above the circle of the earth, and its people are like grasshoppers. He stretches out the heavens like a canopy, and spreads them out like a tent to live in. 23 He brings princes to naught and reduces the rulers of this world to nothing. 24 No sooner are they planted, no sooner are they sown, no sooner do they take root in the ground, than he blows on them and they wither, and a whirlwind sweeps them away like chaff. 25 “To whom will you compare me? Or who is my equal?” says the Holy One. 26 Lift your eyes and look to the heavens: Who created all these? He who brings out the starry host one by one, and calls them each by name. Because of his great power and mighty strength, not one of them is missing.
Mark 10:27 Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but not with God; all things are possible with God.”
- Our Father is constantly being praised and worshipped in heaven
Revelation 4:1 After this I looked, and there before me was a door standing open in heaven. And the voice I had first heard speaking to me like a trumpet said, “Come up here, and I will show you what must take place after this.” 2 At once I was in the Spirit, and there before me was a throne in heaven with someone sitting on it. 3 And the one who sat there had the appearance of jasper and carnelian. A rainbow, resembling an emerald, encircled the throne. 4 Surrounding the throne were twenty-four other thrones, and seated on them were twenty-four elders. They were dressed in white and had crowns of gold on their heads. 5 From the throne came flashes of lightning, rumblings and peals of thunder. Before the throne, seven lamps were blazing. These are the seven spirits of God. 6 Also before the throne there was what looked like a sea of glass, clear as crystal. In the center, around the throne, were four living creatures, and they were covered with eyes, in front and in back. 7 The first living creature was like a lion, the second was like an ox, the third had a face like a man, the fourth was like a flying eagle. 8 Each of the four living creatures had six wings and was covered with eyes all around, even under his wings. Day and night they never stop saying: “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty, who was, and is, and is to come.” 9 Whenever the living creatures give glory, honor and thanks to him who sits on the throne and who lives for ever and ever, 10 the twenty-four elders fall down before him who sits on the throne, and worship him who lives for ever and ever. They lay their crowns before the throne and say: 11 “You are worthy, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they were created and have their being.”
These are just a few passages to think about as we consider our Father in heaven. Scripture contains much more instruction about heaven. However, based upon these few observations, how does focusing on the place of God help us as we pray?
First, we should pray with great humility. How awesome and fierce is our God! Who are we to demand of Him? How awesome is it that He wants to listen to His children?
Second, we can pray with great hope. God has the power to accomplish anything we ask for according to His will. There is no situation or circumstance in this life that is beyond His power. When we pray to our Father He is able to go outside of what we know to be possible and do anything that brings glory to His name!
Third, we submit to His answers to our prayers knowing that His knowledge and understanding are well beyond ours. Our Father deals with us from an eternal perspective. What seems crucial to us here and now may not be crucial to Him. We can trust His answers to our prayers because He is in heaven. He sees the whole picture. He understands everything.
Fourth, our Father is worthy of all our worship and praise. Part of our prayer time should be used to praise Him and worship Him. If praise and worship are practiced by the heavenly beings surrounding His glorious throne, praise and worship should be a regular part of our daily lives as well.
REVIEW and EXERCISE
Read the scripture passages in this lesson again. Draw a picture of God’s throne room based on Revelation 4. Can you see yourself in that setting worshiping God? Our Father has promised to bring all who are in Christ into His presence. What a glorious future we have in Christ! What does it mean to you that your heavenly Father loves you like that?