Pray then like this: “Our Father in heaven hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” I John 3:1, “See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are.”
Let me start by quoting Tozer—this is a quote that I probably used of him several times. But he says this, “What comes into our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us.” Then he goes on to say “Worship is either base or pure as the worshiper entertains high or low thoughts of God.” So, your worship can be pure worship or base worship depending on how you view God. Hopefully we have high thoughts of God and we will if our minds are constantly being regulated by our bibles. We’re going to think God’s thoughts after him, even how God tells us to think about him. Jesus certainly wants us to have high thoughts of God. Go back to that prayer and look again at how he taught us to pray, “Our Father in heaven.” That word “heaven” puts God in a category all by himself. Heaven points to the supernatural realm but even more it points to God’s transcendence, that he is far above us.
There are many places we can go in our bibles to get a sense of how great God is, how majestic he is, and how transcendent he is. Maybe you have some texts that come to mind, Isaiah 1:39 where we hear the palmist celebrating God’s omnipresence as well as his omniscience. You have Isaiah 40 which again reminds us of how powerful God is and how sovereign he is. Isaiah also says in that chapter, “The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He does not grow faint or weary.” So, again that’s speaking of God how great he is and how majestic he is. But he is not just an Almighty King, is he? He’s not just a Holy Sovereign. But he’s our Father. That was the favorite word used by Jesus when he prayed. Thirty times he called God his Father. You can say that the word Father is like a huge invite. It’s like a big welcome sign. God always has his arms open to his children. There is no reluctance ever on the part of God. He wants every one of his children to come to him. You can almost say that he saying this, when we gather for prayer, I want to fellowship with you and I want to hear from you. I want to know what’s on your heart. So, that word Father is an intimate word. So, here is what we have to keep in mind, as big as God is, as far above us as he is, how different he is from us, he’s not a faraway God. He’s not a distance, detached, uncaring, or unloving God. He’s a perfect Father who loves his children. Going back to what John said—it’s like John puts an exclamation mark here. “Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed upon us that we should be called the children of God.”
The great puritan theologian John Owen said, “If the love of the Father will not make a child delight in him what will? Arguably, the greatest incentive to coming to God in prayer is you’re a child of God. Dr. Packard in that excellent book “Knowing God” has a great chapter on adoption. He said, “If you want to judge how well a person understands Christianity, find out how much he or she makes of the thought of being God’s child and having God as his Father. If this is not the thought that prompts, controls his worship and prayers and his whole outlook on life, it means he does not understand Christianity well at all”. How do you view your relationship to God? This is a crucial issue of identity. Who are you? You are a child of God if you’ve been saved born from above—you are a child of God. We belong to the family of God. So, we’re here tonight to talk to our heavenly Father. That should be our great desire to talk to with him but also to have his name hallowed, pray his kingdom come, and his will be done.