I’ve heard and read a lot about prayer – its purpose, goal, how to do it…etc. Some of it is good. Some of it not so much. The most common concept of prayer is, God give me this, God grant me that – the list is endless. This is okay, but it misses a primary point – orientation.
We’ve heard it said that we should pray Father, Abba. That’s what Jesus taught. In his series on the Book of Mark, Tim Keller notes that prayer needs to start with father. “Father” orients us as children. When we start with Father it puts everything in it’s proper place.
When we orient ourselves as children of the loving God of the universe, we open ourselves to experience the deep love of God the father. When we think of our list of wants, needs, and desires, we need to set this against who our Father is. Keller says this, paraphrasing, to the degree we know the fatherly love of God (how well we are orientated) – is the degree to which we don’t need human power, or comfort, or praise, we can handle losses, pain, suffering – we’re totally free.
Prayer to the Father allows us to experience our sonship. Imagine not worrying about what others think of you, the clothes you wear, or the car you drive. Imaging not letting culture dictate your every move, but instead being totally free in yourself basking in God’s love. When we know how much we’re loved, when we know we’re valued, when we know how important we are in the eyes of him who created it all, everything changes. Prayers for things fall away and become, command me, I’m yours, and if you’re willing, please help me with this.
This is in no way to suggest that we should not be praying for specifics – we can be as specific as we like. We just need to be aware of who we are praying to and what that really means. To miss the love of the Father is to miss life itself.
Thanks for reading,
~ Ted Olson