In Matthew 6, we have Jesus giving an example to His disciples on how to pray. In verses 5-7, Jesus identifies how not to be like those in the culture during that time who were praying just to be seen by people. In verse 8 Jesus says: "Do not be like them. For your Father knows the things you have need of before you ask Him." Let's focus on this verse today.
Jesus identifies God the Father here in verse 8 as "your Father." Let's start with the question: Who is a child of God? Is every human a child of God?
Let's consider what the Bible has to say...
1 John 3:1: Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God! Therefore the world does not know us, because it did not know Him.
Here in 1 John 3:1, we are first given an identity that we are called the children of God and then a division showing that there are some who do not know us, who are not part of our family.
Let's consider another passage...
John 1:10-13: Jesus was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him. He came to His own, and His own did not receive Him. But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name: who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.
Here in John 1:10-12, we see that only those who receive Jesus are given the right to become children of God. You are not naturally born into God's family, you cannot put yourself into God's family, and no one on earth can get you into God's family. Only God can get you into His family.
The only way to enter into the family of God is through accepting Jesus Christ. Jesus Himself said in John 14:6: "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me." God gave the provision for man to enter into the family only through Jesus.
The famous passage in John 3:16-17 says: "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved."
Consider also verse John 3:18: Jesus says: “He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God."
These verses spell out that the only way we can be in the family of God is through Jesus Christ. Now, it's not the knowledge of Jesus but the active participation of a higher relationship with Jesus.
We have all heard the Bible lesson about how Jesus came and died on a cross for our sins. But do you know why He died? Sin is in the way of us joining the family of God. God is perfect and He has never sinned and He does not allow sin to be in His presence. So we have to get the sin out of our lives before we can be a part of God's family. Because you can't wash sin out, you can't will it out, and you can't even yell at it and attempt to chase it a way, a sacrifice was necessary to take the penalty for our sins. This is where Jesus came in. Sin is inside us and it's a part of our lives from the moment we are born. The only way that sin can be removed is by a pure and holy sacrifice. Jesus is the Son of God, He is the essence of purity.
When Jesus died on the cross, He took all of the sins of mankind onto Himself and made the sacrifice so that we could be forgiven of our sins. God has allowed the door to Him to be open through Jesus' sacrifice. How do we enter into the family?
Romans 10:9-10 tells us: If you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.
When we humbly pray out loud to Jesus, confessing that we are a sinner, that we are not perfect, and admitting that He is the Son of God, that He is perfect, and that He died on the cross for us; when we believe in Him not from our mind but from our core - our soul, and we ask Him to forgive us of our sins and let us join His family, we are welcomed in to God's family. Only then do we become a child of God.
Just to clarify, there is no perfect prayer. Prayer is simply talking to God. There is no saying the right things or wrong things. It's more about speaking from your heart than following a prescribed way of doing things. Just be real. God knows when we are lying to Him or lying to ourselves.
Only upon trusting in Jesus can we be have God as our Father. This is step one of learning how to pray well. Take some time to study the passages provided today and think about what changes you may need to make in your life before having a successful prayer life.
We will be praying for you.