Prayer is the primary way God releases His power through His people. Does this statement strike you? Prayer is one of those topics that elicits more thoughts of failure than excitement. The disciples were excited to pray. They observed Jesus praying to the Father and said, “Lord, teach us to pray” (Luke 11:1). We don’t see the disciples asking Jesus to teach them how to preach, cast out demons, or even how to pray for the sick and demon possessed, but there was something so invigorating about His life of prayer that it moved them to ask. The disciples were so struck by the beauty of Jesus’ prayer life that they were moved to say, “Lord, teach us to pray…”
A Life of Prayer
The two most important aspects to having a prayer life is having daily set apart time and having a plan. Jesus gives us a model and springboard for our prayer lives, not merely a liturgy. The Lord’s Prayer is the most powerful, concise, simple, and comprehensive prayer Jesus gives us to pray. What a gift and privilege it is to learn about prayer from the One who is the greatest teacher and who had the greatest prayer life!
Matthew 6:9-13 is one of the most familiar passages in the Bible, yet so few have searched out its deeper treasures. Of the 6 petitions, 3 are directed to God (:9-10) …His name, kingdom, and will and 3 toward human needs (:11-13) …physical, relational, and spiritual. I encourage you to read through it and then note the three points below.
God is our Father
For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named.
Father would have been “Abba” in Aramaic and was the word used by Jewish children for their earthly fathers. The idea of praying to God as “Our Father” conveys the authority, warmth, and intimacy of a loving father’s care. In the time of Jesus, the Jewish people saw God as transcendent creator and King, but Jesus taught them that God was also their Father. “In heaven” points to the Father’s powerful transcendence. Jesus combined these two ideas about God, showing that He is both powerful and personal. He contrasted God’s fatherly love with His heavenly power, His transcendence with His tenderness, and His exalted place in glory with His bowing down so low.
God is a Father who longs for a relationship of deep partnership with us in which He trains (disciplines), provides for, protects, and directs us with tenderness. Notice that the entire Lord’s prayer is also plural. “Our Father” …our, us, and we are used 8 times. It reminds us that just as we are born into an earthly family so we are born again into the church, a spiritual family. Our Father has seen to giving us new spiritual life and birthed into a spiritual family. You are part of family and your siblings need your prayers.
Satan is the evil father
I speak of what I have seen with my Father, and you do what you have heard from your father.” They answered him, “Abraham is our father.” Jesus said to them, “If you were Abraham’s children, you would be doing the works Abraham did, but now you seek to kill me, a man who has told you the truth that I heard from God. This is not what Abraham did. You are doing the works your father did.” They said to him, “We were not born of sexual immorality. We have one Father—even God.” Jesus said to them, “If God were your Father, you would love me, for I came from God and I am here. I came not of my own accord, but he sent me. Why do you not understand what I say? It is because you cannot bear to hear my word. You are of your father the devil, and your will is to do your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of lies.
The Bible tells us that there are two fathers. Jesus is talking to the unredeemed and telling them that their father is the devil. The enemy’s objectives are clearly seen: murder and deception. The father of these Pharisees is a murderer that “prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour” (1 Peter 5:8). He stalks people and tries to murder every area of their lives. Therefore, Paul tells us to, “Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil” (Ephesians 6:11).
Satan is the evil father and is always lying. His consistent ongoing form of communication is deception. The Bible tells us, “He (Satan) was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of lies” (John 8:44).
This means that where there is deception, there you will find the realm of darkness. Satan is a liar and lies all the time. If we are not aware, he will put thoughts in our minds. If there is a thought in your mind that contradicts God’s Word, it is a lie from the enemy. “God is mad at me” or “He has not forgiven me” or “God does not love me”. These are deception that stand against the truth of God and come from the evil father, Satan.
God is the Good Father
Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God,” for God cannot be tempted with evil, and he himself tempts no one. But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death. Do not be deceived, my beloved brothers. Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.
Every good gift and perfect gift is from above. This means that everything evil in your life did not come from God. The truth is that God cannot be even near evil. There is absolutely no evil in God. James tells us that if there is something that is evil in your life, Satan took a desire you had and lured you away. Everything that is evil comes from the enemy and everything good comes from the Lord. Why would you talk to a person that you think brought evil to you?
One of the things I love in life is being a husband and father. My wife and I have four children that each have their own distinct callings and destiny. My daughter holds a special place in my heart as my only girl. She will many times come back her way under my arms while I am talking with someone. She will take my arms and put them around her. At times, she will take a deep breath which communicates to me, “I am safe”. She knows that when she is with her daddy, she is safe, taken care of, and watched over. How much more are we invited into with our Abba Father that “is good and does good” (Psalm 119:68) all the time?
It is very common to trace back the bondage areas of our lives to the roots of a father wound. We react out of a rejection that we are born into due to our sin nature. However, we are accepted when we are born again. Little boys and girls get their affirmation from their fathers. Grown men and women look to earthly fathers for affirmation. Due to father wounds in our lives, it can be hard to approach our Father in prayer. Is there any residual of a fathers wound still in you? These are areas where the evil father has used a human to bring deception into your life. Invite the good Father that sent His Son for you to redeem your past and future. Pray for wholeness and life to overshadow every area of your life.