“Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God, believe also in me.”
If I asked the question what’s the most important thing we need to remember when it comes to prayer? I think there is a pretty simple answer. We need to remember who God is, right? When Jesus says--teaching us how to pray that prayer of prayers—“Our Father which art in heaven,” that’s where he starts focusing upon the Father in heaven. But what if I asked this question: What is the most important truth about God? That’s not as simple to answer. I think an argument could be made, that the most important truth to remember when it comes to prayer is that we are praying to a three--person God, the doctrine of the Trinity. Again, go back to the upper room discourse where this is the last night that Jesus is with his disciple friends. What does he tell them? What is the great emphasis in upper room discourse? Well it’s the revelation or the exposition of the Trinity. That’s really what it is. Dr. Ferguson in a book titled “The Heart of God”—I forget the exact title. But he says this “Would you have expected Jesus to give an exhortation to faithfulness? Remember he knows he’s going to die and he knows that there is big trouble ahead for his disciple friends so would you expect Jesus to give them an exhortation to faithfulness? He does but that is not the big emphasis in those four chapters. Would you expect Jesus to talk about his love for his disciples in upper room? Well he does. He talks about his love for them--greater love has no man than to lay down his life for his friends. But that still is not the big emphasis in the upper room. The big emphasis, what he talks about more than anything else is that he talks about himself, his relationship to the Father, and the Holy Spirit. Ok, so he talks about his Father 40 times I think. The name “Father” is used in John 13 thru 17. Again, remember the disciples’ hearts are troubled and he is seeking to encouraged them and get them ready for the darkest hour of their lives.
How many times do you think about the Trinity in the course of everyday life? When it comes to suffering, when it comes to prayer, I think we should. The three-person God should encourage us to pray more than anything else. Even in the midst of trials it’s good to focus on the three-person God. What can we say about the Father? Well we could say all kinds of things about the Father, couldn’t we? But I just want to make a few suggestions. The simplest and most precious thing I think to know about the Father is that he is the Father. He’s your Father. That word “Father” is a very pregnant word as you know. When Jesus opens up the fatherhood of God in the Sermon on the Mount it tells us that our God is not a distant God. He is a near God, not a God who is far away. He is a Father. I’m sure most of you are familiar with the Apostle’s Creed. It wasn’t written by the apostles but was written about 1500 years ago and probably the oldest or one of the oldest confessions or ancient creeds. It has three major sections and starts off with this, “I believe in the Father, I believe in the Son, and I believe in the Holy Spirit.” They understood the importance of the doctrine of the Trinity. Here how it starts off with respect to the Father, “I believe in the Father Almighty.” That’s a good way to think of the Father. There is no one greater. He is the Almighty over all, over all history, over all people, over all circumstances, over the devil himself. He’s Almighty over suffering. Don’t forget the love of the Father. First John 3--Behold the love of the Father he has lavished on us that we should be called the sons of God or the children of God. So that’s the Father. What about the Son? Jesus talks about himself in the upper room with respect to prayer. Remember what he says in John 15—whatever you ask the Father in my name he will give it to you. He’s telling us that we are to come to the Father in the name of him, the name of his Son. Whatever you ask. That shows us the potential of prayer, doesn’t it? Whatever we ask in his name—there is a limitation there—in his name, but it does show us the great potential of prayer. John Newton said, “Thou are coming to a King, large petitions with thee bring.” No one can ask too much when you come to Jesus Christ, the King of kings.
The third person of the Trinity is the Holy Spirit. In the upper room Christ talks a lot about the Spirit--that God is going to send the Spirit. Remember Dr. Sinclair Ferguson recently talked about the special word that he uses to describe the Spirit in John 14, 15, & 16. It’s that Paraclete word. It’s the Counselor, it’s a very rich word, and it has a lot of nuances to it. He’s the Teacher, he’s the Helper--he comes along to help. Paul picks up that concept in Romans 8. Remember he’s talking about the Holy Spirit. He’s the Spirit of adoption, he comes to help us when we come to pray—Abba Father. So that’s a wonderful thought, brethren when we come to pray. We are praying to a three-person God. He is one God, but three persons.