We all know the awkward moment when you are on one end of a phone call with a wrong number. Maybe you dialed it or received it, maybe you sent the right text message to the wrong person, or maybe you went to the wrong room to meet someone.
Do you have a time in your life when your communication got messed up and you thought you were talking with someone else? I have.
I had two text threads going one day and sent a message to someone else that was intended for my wife. Awkward…
Conversations with the wrong person are awkward. Prayer with the wrong person are fundamentally ineffective.
Your concept of God is incredibly vital concerning your prayer life. If you don’t truly understand who God is, you don’t know how to talk with him.
People’s misconceptions concerning God drastically change their prayers.
Our goal is to work through some of these misconceptions. If we know to whom we are praying, our prayers become more specific and our faith becomes more steadfast.
Out of all the things the disciples saw Jesus do, they asked him to instruct them concerning how to do one thing: “Lord, teach us to pray…” (Luke 11:1). The next words he spoke were recorded and are often recited as the Lord’s Prayer (Matt. 6:9-13; Luke 11:2-4). Out of all the language Jesus could have used and all the names he could have called upon, he called upon God in a specific way. Read the verse below and make any marks and notation to take note of Jesus’ prayer.
“Therefore, you should pray like this: Our Father in heaven, Your name be honored as holy…” -Matthew 6:9
Instead of praying with lofty titles of grandeur, Jesus prayed to our Father. Abba. Daddy. Papa. This was a very intimate term to use in this rabbi’s prayer. He is our Father. He is our Father who lives in heaven, but He is our Father! And yet if Jesus’ instruction concerning to pray started by approaching God as our Father, shouldn’t we process all that designation entails?
To get a good grasp on who our Heavenly Father is, we have to learn to differentiate between him and our earthly fathers. It’s easy to make God pay for mistakes people make. This activity may be challenging to do. We are going to have to unpack some things to be able to continue on this journey, but this process is absolutely necessary.
Oftentimes, people view their Heavenly Father the way they view their earthly fathers (harsh, absent, pushover, etc.). God is not like your father. Your earthly father may have characteristics of your Heavenly Father, but the reverse is not true.
Even if you had the best in an earthly father, your Heavenly Father’s character greatly surpasses the character of your earthly father.
Take a moment to read Matthew 7:7-11 to help you understand our Father.
7 “Keep asking, and it will be given to you. Keep searching, and you will find. Keep knocking, and the door will be opened to you. 8 For everyone who asks receives, and the one who searches finds, and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened. 9 What man among you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone? 10 Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? 11 If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good things to those who ask Him!
Prayer and theology go hand in hand. You must approach God as your Father to get prayer at a fundamental level. Have you talked with your Dad today?
“My Father! If it is possible, let this cup pass from Me. Yet not as I will, but as You will.” -Matthew 26:39
Travis Agnew serves as the Lead Pastor of Rocky Creek Church in Greenville, SC. His most recent book is Distinctive Discipleship. He is married to Amanda and the father of two sons and one daughter. Travis graduated from North Greenville University with a B.A. in Christian Studies and earned his M.Div. and D.Min. from The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, with his doctoral focus on family discipleship.