What is Prayer 3 Talking to the Father
What is Prayer 3 – Talking to the Father NV 6/17/01 am
Jamie Buckingham tells a story in his book, Power for Living. It was a story first told by Fred Craddock while lecturing at Yale University. He told of going back one summer to Gatlinburg, Tennessee, to take a short vacation with his wife. One night they found a quiet little restaurant where they looked forward to a private meal—just the two of them. While they were waiting for their meal they noticed a distinguished looking, white-haired man moving from table to table, visiting guests. Craddock whispered to his wife, “I hope he doesn’t come over here.” He didn’t want the man to intrude on their privacy. But the man did come by his table. “Where you folks from?” he asked amicably. “Oklahoma.” “Splendid state, I hear, although I’ve never been there. What do you do for a living? “I teach homiletics at the graduate seminary of Phillips University.” “Oh, so you teach preachers, do you. Well, I’ve got a story I want to tell you.” And with that he pulled up a chair and sat down at the table with Craddock and his wife. Dr. Craddock said he groaned inwardly: Oh no, here comes another preacher story. It seems everyone has one.
The man stuck out his hand. “I’m Ben Hooper. I was born not far from here across the mountains. My mother wasn’t married when I was born so I had a hard time. When I started to school my classmates had a name for me, and it wasn’t a very nice name. I used to go off by myself at recess and during lunch-time because the taunts of my playmates cut so deeply. “What was worse was going downtown on Saturday afternoon and feeling every eye burning a hole through you. They were all wondering just who my real father was.
“When I was about 12 years old a new preacher came to our church. I would always go in late and slip out early. But one day the preacher said the benediction so fast I got caught and had to walk out with the crowd. I could feel every eye in church on me. Just about the time I got to the door I felt a big hand on my shoulder. I looked up and the preacher was looking right at me. “Who are you, son? Whose boy are you?’ I felt the old weight come on me. It was like a big black cloud. Even the preacher was putting me down. But as he looked down at me, studying my face, he began to smile a big smile of recognition. “Wait a minute,” he said, “I know who you are. I see the family resemblance. You are a son of God.” With that he slapped me across the rump and said, “Boy you’ve got a great inheritance. Go and claim it.”
The old man looked across the table at Fred Craddock and said, “That was the most important single sentence ever said to me.” With that he smiled, shook the hands of Craddock and his wife, and moved on to another table to greet old friends. Suddenly, Fred Craddock remembered. On two occasions the people of Tennessee had elected an illegitimate to be their governor. One of them was Ben Hooper.
TS] Some are blessed with good earthly fathers and others are not. But, if you’re a Christian then you are a child of God, and He is the Perfect Father.
I. Draw your conclusions about ‘father’ from heaven, not earth.
A. Matthew 6:9-13 & 7:9-12
1. Earthly fathers make mistakes and rarely measure up to the ideal of fatherhood, but God measures up in every way.
B. The NT brings the message of God as Father.
1. Mark 14 36 “Abba, Father,” he said, “everything is possible for you. Take this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will.”
2. Romans 8 15For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.” 16 The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children.
3. Galatians 4 6Because you are sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, “Abba, Father.” 7 So you are no longer a slave, but a son; and since you are a son, God has made you also an heir.
II. Father’s Day and “What is Prayer?” go hand in hand. (Necessary/Privilege) Prayer is talking to your Heavenly Father.
A. Matthew 7:9-11
1. The Parable is simple, yet the closer you look the more you see.
2. There are lessons here about asking and receiving.
3. There is a great lesson here about relationship.
B. The prayer of a child owes its influence entirely to the relation in which he stands to the parent.
1. A great example is the Prodigal Son in Luke 15.
2. He broke the relationship with the Father when he left.
3. His father could not even hear his cries when things turned bad in that distant country.
4. He received more than he could imagine when he repented, came home, and restored that relationship with his father.
C. We cannot live in a distant country (a lifestyle of sin) and converse with our Father in heaven.
1. Being a Christian is more than just going to church, Christianity is a relationship with Almighty God.
2. That relationship is a Father/Child relationship.
D. When we live in God’s house of prayer we have access to the Father 24/7.
1. When you talk to the Father tell Him how you feel. Psalm 139 “O Lord, you have searched me…” vs. 22 “I have nothing but hatred for them; I count them my enemies.”
2. When you talk to the Father ask Him for what you desire. TEXT
TS] If Prayer is simply talking to the Father then a deeper implication rises to the surface.
III. What is Prayer? It is everything concerning your relationship with God. (exclude prayer-exclude relationship/include prayer-include relationship)
A. It is plain common sense.
1. How long is your marriage going to last if you don’t talk.
B. I am afraid our priorities and our focus have been misguided over the years. We have spent so much time on worshiping like the bible says that we have forgotten all about living like the bible says.
1. Your Christianity is determined first by your relationship with the Father. (Prayer away from Church)
2. Worship should be done in Spirit and Truth, but even that is entirely impossible without a relationship with God.
3. In the absence of relationship worship is simply going through the motions. When the relationship is there you can’t keep your heart out of worship. You sing every song to your Father, and you converse with your Father in prayer. There should be a connection between you and the father during each part of our assembly. That is truly worship in Spirit and Truth.
C. The Father/Child relationship that develops through prayer will revolutionize not just your worship, but also your everyday life.
1. When you speak often with the Father it affects how you face the ups and downs of each day. Prayer will change your attitude, because prayer places God the Heavenly Father at the center of your life.
2. When you speak often with the Father it affects your marriage, your family, your work, …every facet of your life.
3. Life will be better because that is how God designed us to live…in fellowship with Him.
D. The ultimate goal of the Christian faith is fellowship with God, and that comes through prayer.
1. John 17 3 Now this is eternal life: that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom You have sent.
2. Knowing God includes knowing Him as Lord, Master, and Creator, the Almighty Only True God.
3. Knowing God also includes being able to climb up in His lap and pour our hearts out to Him.
E. Illustration: I knew the Psalm, but He knows the Shepherd. Relationship makes all the difference in the world, and that relationship is built in prayer – talking with the Father.
Do you know the Shepherd this morning? How are things going with the Father in your life today? Today we honor our earthly fathers, but have you been honoring your Heavenly Father by how you live? When’s the last time you had real long talk with the Father? Have you drifted to that distant country like the prodigal son?
The Father awaits your return. I just imagine that in a crowd this size there is someone that the Father wants to come home. He’ll see you coming from a long way off, and He’ll meet you half-way with open arms.
Don’t keep the Father waiting.