“And he said unto them, When ye pray, say, Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, as in heaven, so in earth. Give us day by day our daily bread. And forgive us our sins; for we also forgive every one that is indebted to us. And lead us not into temptation; but deliver us from evil.” Luke 11:2-4
When one acknowledges something or someone they are ascribing or giving them credit that they deserve. Here, opening His teaching on prayer, Jesus jumps in without hesitation, stating, “When ye pray, say, Our Father which art in heaven.” Now, notice first that Jesus didn’t say “if” ye pray. He point-blank expected that His people should have an active and working prayer life so He said, “When ye pray.”
Starting with the statement, “Our Father which art in heaven,” Jesus acknowledges to whom one’s prayers should be directed. And, in the verses following God gets the credit for everything! This is acknowledgment.
“Our Father which art in heaven,” points one in the right direction. There are many voices that try to offer advice and insight to the world we live and to the troubles and woes we face. Yet, none can have the insight as He who created all things. None is Sovereign as He to really be our champion for real change. That can only come from He who is enthroned in heaven for all eternity; by He Whom everything takes its commands: “Our Father.”
“Our Father” describes the intimate, relational context in which God wants to be committed to us. Did you get that? God wants to be “Our Father” so much that Jesus, God incarnate, instructed us to address Him as such in prayer. Man may not always step up to the plate to fill this role, but God does. He willingly takes on the role of “Father,” meaning more than provider in my view. He takes on the responsibility to love, care and nurture those who come to Him seeking Him as daddy. Romans 8:15 describes it as this: “Ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.” This adoption is an on-purpose act of love that He is seeking to fulfill as the role of “Father.” God “will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty,” (2 Corinthians 6:18).
“Hallowed be thy name.” Part of acknowledging prayer is respecting His holiness. Oh, I cringe when I see people take the name of the Lord in vain. God’s name is not like any other and should not be treated as it is. His name is holy (Isaiah 57:15), and He is the one who “dwell in the high and holy place.” When one invokes God’s name in prayer it is not a plaything. We are seeking His holiness to come in on our behalf; garnering His stamp of approval. Heaven knows how to treat His name so much that they speak the word “holy” three times: “Holy, holy, holy, is the LORD of hosts,” (Isaiah 6:3).
Acknowledging prayer recognizes God’s authority, His power, His Sovereignty, His control, His kingdom, and His will overall. “Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, as in heaven, so in earth.” No wonder at the end of the parallel of this prayer found in Matthew 6:13 it states, “For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.” We should want to see the glory of God’s will take over the atmosphere of this old stale world “as in heaven.” We should have heavenly visions of God’s power reclaiming this earth.
Acknowledging prayer recognizes that God is the provider of all. “Give us day by day our daily bread.” “Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think any thing as of ourselves; but our sufficiency is of God,” (2 Corinthians 3:5). We, as all other things created, are dependent on Him as our provider. “Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they?” (Matthew 6:26). God will provide.
Acknowledging prayer knows that forgiveness comes from God: “And forgive us our sins; for we also forgive every one that is indebted to us.” 2 Chronicles 7:14 declares, “If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.” God wants to spiritually heal people from their sin-sick ways. “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness,” (1 John 1:9).
In return, we are expected to offer forgiveness to those who ask for it. Gulp! Yes, forgiveness in any form can be a hard pill to swallow. But, let me ask you this. How many times has God said no to us whenever we sought for healing and restoration for the wrongs we have done? Exactly, He hasn’t! Forgiveness, much like love, is nothing to be played with. It is not lip service to please others rather, it is a heart service to the Lord. It is, in a sense, showing to others the same grace and mercy that God showed toward us. And, we acknowledge that this is His will for us.
Acknowledging prayer shows God as a deliverer: “And lead us not into temptation; but deliver us from evil.” God doesn’t tempt people into sin. “Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man,” (James 1:13). Sin is a choice and so is choosing to let God lead and trusting Him to keep you in those hard times. “O keep my soul, and deliver me: let me not be ashamed; for I put my trust in thee,” (Psalm 25:20). “Keep back thy servant also from presumptuous sins; let them not have dominion over me . . .” (Psalm 19:13). He is a keeper to them that know Him as a deliverer and He is a protector against the ultimate enemy, the devil.
The Bible gives us this wise advice: “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths” (Proverbs 3:5-6). Acknowledging prayer says that there is no part of our lives that is untethered by the touch of God’s love. Therefore, in everything, and in every way, I lean into God, trust Him, and acknowledge Him in every area of my life.
Modified excerpt taken from 4 Keys to Powerful Prayer
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