Jesus started off the model prayer He shared in Matthew 6 with a brief salutation. But what it may lack in length, it more than makes up for in depth.
This prayer is addressed to “Our Father in heaven.”
Those four words tell me several things:
I’m not an orphan. I have a Daddy who calls me His child.
And I’m not an only child. I apparently have brothers and sisters, hence “our Father.”
And our Father is in heaven. This tells me He has a different perspective on my life. He doesn’t just see it as it unfolds day-by-day, like I tend to view it. God sees my life from beginning to end.
He sees where I fit into His timeline and His purposes. He sees who my contemporaries are and how He created and designed us to do Kingdom work together.
He sees what’s around the bend and over the next hill. He knows the mountains I need to be prepared to climb and the valleys I will go through along the way. And because He’s my Father, He has designed my life so I’ll be prepared to climb those upcoming mountains and He’ll be with me as I walk through the valleys.
And because He’s OUR Father, I can always know that I’m never alone on my journey. Never.
And there will be times in life that make that truth difficult to remember.
A great example is in the book of I Kings when Elijah got depressed after the showdown on Mount Carmel.
Elijah had essentially set up a prayer duel between himself and all the prophets of Baal, to prove whose God was worth worshiping. And Jehovah God showed up there in an incredible way and proved Elijah was right and King Ahab and all the prophets of Baal were wrong. God proved that He is God and Baal is not. HUGE victory!
But afterwards, Ahab ran back home to Jezebel with his tail between his legs and tattled on Elijah, telling her how Elijah had humiliated Ahab in front of all his friends. So Jezebel threatened Elijah and told him he would be dead within 24 hours.
And even after all he had just witnessed God do on Mount Carmel, Elijah responded to Jezebel’s threat by running away and hiding. He told God he’d had enough. And He told God to just go ahead and take his life.
Then after some food and rest, Elijah tells God that he’s the “only one left, and now they are trying to kill me too.” Cue the Pity Party song.
God responds to Elijah’s self-pity by telling him about his next mission, which included other God worshipers, and then informed him that there were 7,000 people in Israel who had not bowed down to Baal or kissed him. I think Elijah got the message. He was not alone.
When we’ve gone through a highly emotional time or been in a tough spiritual battle . . . even when the outcome is extremely positive . . . it can be easy for us to get depressed, to feel alone, to want to hide.
Sometimes what we need to do is rest and eat and rest and eat.
But then we need to engage with God again and get ready for our next mission. And we always need to remember that we are never alone in our journey . . . even though we may feel like it at times.
Our heavenly Father’s presence lives inside us — Holy Spirit — and there are other God worshipers who walk beside us.
We are not alone.
How do you address God when you talk to Him?
How often do you feel and act as though you are a spiritual orphan? A spiritual only child?
What is your Kingdom purpose and who has God placed in your life to work with you?
How is God preparing you for your future?
Where are you now? On a mountain? In a valley?
When is the last time you felt depressed and totally alone in your mission? What did you do to recover? How did God help you gain clarity?
“Our Father Who is in heaven . . . .” Matthew 6:9 Amplified Version (AMP)