I recently attended MAF’s annual day of prayer. Our various offices across the world met together, although separately, to pray for the work we do.
Members of MAF UK and MAF International met together in Ashford, Kent, to sing, hear from the Bible, and pray for situations facing MAF across the world.
I was struck particularly by the words our guest speaker, Rev Sheila
Porter, brought in her message. She dissected the Lord’s Prayer in order to show us the way prayer should be approached.
Our Father in heaven…
The Lord’s Prayer is a model for how we should address God when we speak to Him – though the prayer itself tells us a lot about Jesus’ relationship with the Father.
When we speak to God we are speaking to a loving Father, not one who is distant or indifferent to us. He loves us as one of His children – as a brother or sister of Jesus!
Despite the failings of our earthly fathers, there is one in heaven who loves us perfectly, and we can approach Him with confidence, knowing that He will listen to our every request.
…hallowed be Your name…
‘Hallowed’ speaks of holiness and this reminds us that, although God the Father is kind and approachable, we also should acknowledge that He is a God of purity, justice and wrath.
It’s quite easy to assume that God being a loving Father and God being a God of wrath and justice is a bit of contradiction, but it’s not.
God is love, but it’s not the kind of sentimental or romantic love portrayed in films. His love is a pure and fierce love. A love that hates what is evil yet holds its arms open, as the father welcomed the prodigal.
…Your kingdom come, Your will be done on earth, as it is in heaven…
When sin entered the world, the world was broken, but Jesus came so that the Kingdom of God could be manifested on earth once again.
When we pray ‘Your Kingdom come, Your will be done’, we’re praying that God will do what He wants to do in restoring the world back to its original purpose. To bring glory to Himself.
Today, we believe that a big part of His restoring the world can be found in overseas mission. This is the reason for MAF’s existence – that the most remote communities in the world would come to know who God is, so that God’s Kingdom might advance on the earth!
…give us today our daily bread…
We are entirely dependent on God, and this part of the prayer recognises that even the most basic provisions come from Him, hence the words ‘daily bread’.
From the simple, everyday needs of life, to getting permissions from foreign governments to fly in their country, God provides for both – and everything in-between!
…for yours is the Kingdom and the power and the glory forever and ever...
I know what you’re thinking: ‘He’s missed out a whole section of the Lord’s Prayer!’ Yes I have, but not because I don’t think it’s important, it just takes us on a bit of a tangent.
Sheila mentioned how this flawless framework for prayer begins and ends with God Himself because it’s all about Him! It’s for His glory alone that we should be doing – or asking – for anything!
Prayer should be a dialogue that puts God firmly in focus. But it should also allow us to ask for the things we need in order for God’s Kingdom to flourish.
It is in this framework that we see how much Jesus loves the Father.
It’s out of His love for the Father that He desires the things the Father wants doing, and this informs the way He prays. It should also be the same for us.
The more we get to know God, the more we’ll love Him. The more we love Him, the more we’ll want to see His Will unfold through our prayers!