After pausing to acknowledge our personal relationship with God as our Father, now we are to think about the position He holds as the one true God. The idea of heaven brings to mind His majesty and glory. Revelation speaks of his throne of crystal. Isaiah described his throne as being “high and lifted up.” He is the King! All powerful, all knowing, holy. Praise Him for being all these things.
The angels and cherubs surround Him and sing His praises. Yet, he is our father–full of grace and truth. He rules over all, and orders all things to the praise of His grace. All events and circumstances are worked out for our good and the magnification of the favor He shows us. It is unmerited, unearned, a gift of salvation to those who trust in His only begotten son, the Lord Jesus Christ. Such a mystery all! Yet, we are to acknowledge all of this when we start to pray. Just thinking of it causes us to praise Him for the grace He has shown us in Christ. We are humbled and grateful to be able to come before the King with our requests. Thanksgiving and praise spill from our hearts to our great God who loves us in spite of our many failures.
We are fortunate to have some prayers of Charles Spurgeon as examples of how to pattern our prayers like this. He was, like Thomas Watson, a warm-hearted Calvinist. Spurgeon also lived in London, two centuries after Thomas Watson, but he had this same pattern to follow. Here is a portion of one of his pulpit prayers:
Our Father, which art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name, Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” We fear that we often begin our prayer with petitions for ourselves, and put our daily bread before Thy kingdom, and the pardoning of our sins before the hallowing of Thy name. We would not do so today, but guided by our Lord’s model of prayer, we would first pray for Thy glory; and here, great God, we would adore Thee. Thou hast made us and not we ourselves. We are Thy people, and the sheep of Thy pasture. All glory be unto Thee, Jehovah, the only living and true God.
With heart and mind, and memory and fear, and hope and joy, we worship the Most High. It well becomes us to put our shoes from off our feet when we draw near to God, for the place whereon we stand is holy ground.
Notice the adoration and love he expressed. Both are part of this acknowledgement of “our Father which art in heaven.” Adoration, love, gratefulness, praise are to be part of our prayers before we ever get to our daily needs and requests. Practice doing this yourself. I have found that most of the time I am in a hurry, and tend to rush right in with my requests. Lately, I’ve had a lot of sick friends to pray for. That is my excuse. But, would I do that to a sovereign monarch or even to Queen Elizabeth?
Be sure to teach this to the children. They are childish and have their eyes on their desires, and so are quick to tell God what they want. Model before them this pausing to praise our heavenly Father. Require them to do the same. Jesus’s teaching couldn’t have been off-base. “After this manner therefore pray ye” (Matthew 6:9):