January 13, 2014
“Pray then like this: Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name.” (Mt 6:9 ESV)
“All true prayer begins with the spirit of adoption.” (Charles Spurgeon)
I know I don’t pray enough. In my mind I believe (that is, I know) the doctrine – prayer is a means of grace, through which God brings about His sovereign plan, but I often feel like God won’t give me what I want, or he will make me wait longer than I want. So, I am slow to pray.
The bottom line is that I think I am nicer to my children than God is to me. I’m not a perfect father (just ask my kids), but I like meeting their needs. For some reason, I don’t see God as a caring Father; rather, I see him as one that I have to coax and sweet-talk in order to get what I want. I think, “If I just pray enough times, I’ll wear him down.” Yet, when Jesus teaches his disciples about prayer, he begins with a reminder of who God has made himself to be to us – a Father whose nature and character is completely unique (i.e., holy or hallowed).
And who has he proven himself to be?
The person who said, “Pray like this,” is the person the Father sent to save me from my selfish desire for what is not good, my cold indifference to the blessings already received, and my vain attempts at eliminating all that is inconvenient in my life. By nature, it is easier to be the spoiled child who has moved away from the care of a father than to be the grateful dependent who trusts the one who has proven to be unequivocally worthy.
In the end, the solution is to believe (that is, trust) the doctrine found in God’s Word. The pastors at the Westminster Assembly put it well: “Our Father in heaven teaches us to draw near to God with all holy reverence and confidence, as children to a father, able and ready to help us …” (WSC 100). Or, as the hymn-writer Joseph Hart wrote, “He is able, he is able, he is willing; doubt no more.”