The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. Romans 8:16
John Sowers in his book Fatherless Generation writes that “No generation has seen as much voluntary father absence as this one with 25 million kids growing up in single-parent homes.” In my own experience, if I’d bumped into my father on the street, I wouldn’t have known him. My parents were divorced when I was very young, and all the photos of my dad were burned. So for years I felt fatherless. Then at age thirteen, I heard the Lord’s Prayer (Matthew 6:9–13) and said to myself, You may not have an earthly father, but now you have God as your heavenly Father.
In Matthew 6:9 we’re taught to pray, “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name.” Previously verse 7 says not to “keep on babbling” when praying, and we may wonder how these verses are connected. I realized that because God remembers, we don’t need to repeat. He truly understands, so we don’t need to explain. He has a compassionate heart, so we don’t need to be uncertain of His goodness. And because He knows the end from the beginning, we know His timing is perfect.
Because God is our Father, we don’t need to use “many words” (v. 7) to move Him. Through prayer, we’re talking with a Father who loves and cares for us and made us His children through Jesus.
When have you tried to “move God” in prayer by using many words? How does having a relationship with Him as your Father help you to trust Him?
Dear heavenly Father, thank You for making me Your child and for being a Father that welcomes me into Your presence through prayer.
Read Talking with My Father at DiscoverySeries.org/HP171.
Though prayer is the focus of Matthew 6:5–13, in the broader context of Jesus’ teaching (vv. 1–18), two other practices of righteousness (v. 1) come into focus: “giving to the needy” (vv. 2–4) and “fasting” (vv. 16–18). Christ’s teaching notes that legitimate deeds of piety can have a wrong motive: desiring to be recognized and applauded by people. Jesus encourages His followers not to be like the hypocrites (vv. 2, 5, 16). The Greek word is hypokritḗs, which referred to masked actors—pretenders who portrayed themselves as someone they weren’t. This word is used seventeen times in the Gospels and only by Jesus; thirteen usages are in Matthew. With a hypocrite, what you see isn’t what you get. Believers in Jesus aren’t to be like the hypocrites because we have a Father who “sees” and “knows” the hearts of all.