Sunday, March 1, 2015

Teach us to Pray, part 7: Much-loved children

And He said to them, "When you pray, say: 'Father, hallowed be Your name. Your kingdom come. 'Give us each day our daily bread. 'And forgive us our sins, For we ourselves also forgive everyone who is indebted to us. And lead us not into temptation.'" (Luke 11:2-4 NASB)

How incredible it is that we, you and I, have a relationship with the Lord of Lords and King of Kings! He is not some distant celestial being who is just in charge of planets and constellations. He is intimate and personal. He knows us, knows our needs, and provides for and protects us, just as an earthly father does for his much-loved children. The part of this that absolutely astounds me is that, according to the Scripture, in some very incredible way, we are not just servants of the Most High God, but His much-loved children, just as Jesus was His much loved Son.

A friend of mine is volunteering in a very dangerous area, and they have to be careful about electronic communications. When I receive emails from her, she never uses the words "God" or "Lord" or "Jesus". When she asks for prayer, she says, "Please talk to Papa about..." and mentions the need. The first time I read it, I was moved. "Please ask Papa to help me." Somehow, that simple phrase enhanced my understanding of God as father, because I know a few Papas. 

Grandparents these days have an entirely different set of names by which they are called, and my brother-in-law is referred to as "Papa Joe" by his grandchildren. He's funny and firm and kind and not a little ferocious when someone he loves is threatened. Every time I see my friend's messages, asking us to talk to Papa, I think of Papa Joe and of how much he loves his family. If I told Papa Joe his granddaughters needed him, he'd be right there, ready to help. In that same way, when I talk to our Heavenly Papa on behalf of my friend, I'm sure He's interested and eager to help as well. In fact, Jesus spoke about His willingness to respond to our needs:

"Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened. Or what man is there among you who, when his son asks for a loaf, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, he will not give him a snake, will he? 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 7:7-11 NASB)

As much loved children of God, my brothers and sisters, we have the great privilege of speaking with our Papa and taking our needs, our hurts, and our dreams to Him, knowing He will respond. Today, let's be sure to talk to Papa about those who are serving Him in the most dangerous places, our family who is in danger from persecution, and those of us who are so comfortable in our safety that we assume persecution will never come here. Talk to Papa.