Our Father (pt.1) - Matt 6:5-14
I have always found that having a conversation with someone face-to-face is far better than any other method. Many of us grew up in a world where the means of communication was either face-to-face, by mail, or telephone. But we live in a world where things have change dramatically. We can talk to people anywhere in the world, face-to-face through any number of technological means. Sure, people text a lot, but they also talk and video-conference, exchange photos and images, and communicate in ways many of us still don’t understand. Yet in all of this, there still seems to be a level of personal detachment.
Personal detachment has created and reinforced a form of individualism that is fundamentally destructive to ourselves and our world. It scares me to think of science fiction scenarios where people are created in test-tubes and raised in a detached state as individuals without any social connections or manipulated social connections. We need each other, we need families, and we need people to share our life. We can’t survive in a detached state. We can’t find meaning and purpose in life isolated from everyone else. As tough and as painful it may be at times, our social and personal connections shape us into the people we have and are becoming.
When Jesus begins to teach the disciples the Lord’s prayer, he starts in a very personal way. He uses the language of a child and a loving, caring father. Just pause for a moment, picture God and close your eyes. What do you see? For many they will see their own parents, or someone else who has filled a sort of parental role in their lives. This is not always the best, for not all our parents have been the best example of a loving God in our lives. So close them again, and picture God in you mind as one who is gentle, caring, reaching out to you with all His love and grace. What do you know see? This is the image of God Jesus portrays through the Gospels, and in his own life. The sort of God he asks us to engage when we begin the Lord’s prayer.
When you pray, don’t rush into it to get it done and move on quickly. Pause for a moment, close your eyes, picture your heavenly Father reaching out to you in love, and then begin your prayer. Prayer is not some detached expression or experience of faith. It is a personal face-to-face encounter with God himself. He invites us into this space and looks forward with great expectation for the moment you pause to enter it. He asks you to invite him into your life, to pour into your soul the grace and mercy only he can offer. Prayer is life changing, transforming us from detached people into people who God loves in a very personal and intimate way. A love that comes from a loving parent to their most precious child.
In a world that is getting more detached each day, where the lie of individualism is destroying the souls of our world, the Christian witness of a life spent in prayer becomes a powerful message. Our heavenly Father desires an intimate and life-fulfilled relationship with everyone. That’s why Jesus came, to offer life abundantly to all who seek God. Your prayer life, and the way in which it reconnects you to a loving God, becomes a source of hope for those looking for love in all the wrong places.