What is God saying to you through the scriptures today?
I’ve often seen and heard A. W. Tozer’s powerful line quoted in sermons & books, ‘What comes into our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us.’
It’s a simple but sharp wake-up call for us to examine the connection between our ‘theology’ (whether conscious or unconscious) and everything else about our lives. And I’ve used that quote myself many times. In my experience, it helps people take a step back and reflect on that connection. What kind of a God do I believe in? What kind of a God don’t I believe in? How might that then shape me in various ways?
Order of things matter and Jesus teaches his disciples in our passage that when they pray, start by seeing God as your heavenly father. To refer to God as a father may be as normal as prayer itself for us in the modern church. But it was anything but normal for the first century Jews when Jesus taught them to approach God as their Heavenly Father. Before we jump to what we pray about, Jesus wanted the disciples to know who they were praying to. And the God of Heavens is also their Heavenly Father whom they can know and be confident that they are loved for who they are and not for what they’ve done. Whenever we get this order mixed up, we drift towards seeing God’s love to be something we work for rather than the gift that is to be received. We can never earn God’s love. We are simply loved by him and therefore, we trust and follow after him. I am far from being a perfect father. And yet Jesus’ words in our passage to recognize God as our Heavenly Father reminds me that I am loved more than I am often willing to see and receive. So, pray with confidence that you belong to him and he is well pleased with you today.
Pray with confidence that God hears you and wants to spend time with you. “Father, I come to you in prayer today, thankful that I am your child. I know I have fallen short, but you have forgiven me and accepted me as your own, and I am so grateful to call you my Father. Thank you for loving me as I am. And I love you.”
Write a journal entry expressing how the unconditional love of God changes everything. Scripture tells us that perfect love drives out all fear. In what ways has fear kept you from moving forward in your life? Be it in a relationship, your career, or your pursuit of your dreams, whatever it is that fear has had a grip on you, how would God’s perfect love drive out fear from those areas? Write a journal entry about your fears and start praying the truth of God’s unchanging love over those areas. Identify one practical step to move from fear to trust. And remember, God love you and is cheering you on!