Rev. Dr. Paul Jinadu
‘This, then, is how you should pray:
‘“Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name,” Matthew 6:9
Honestly, I don’t know how anybody can call God “Our Father” and not see Him. We are not saying prayers, we are not reciting set prayers, we are not going through a religious ritual, we are actually talking to God, the Almighty, who has chosen to become our Father. It’s only polite to look at someone when you are talking to them. Father is a sign of intimacy, relationship, belonging, family. God wants us to belong, and not just use prayer to force his hand to aid us in our hour of need.
The way God talks to us shows the way He wants us talk to Him
The best way to learn how to talk to God is to find out how He talks to us. Then we will have a good idea of how He wants us to talk to Him. I have noticed that on many occasions God never speaks to people abruptly. Usually He gets their attention first. Here are some example:
1. Adam in the Garden
Gen 3:8-10, 8 “Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the Lord God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the Lord God among the trees of the garden. 9 But the Lord God called to the man, “Where are you?” 10 He answered, “I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid.”
This is the reason behind why God wants to get our attention first before talking to us. After the Fall Adam and Eve no longer felt comfortable in God’s presence. They felt the need to make themselves more presentable. So God calls out to them first, and awaits their response. Prior to the Fall God moved freely with Adam and Eve, without having to announce Himself. It is amazing that the all-knowing God would be asking Adam: “Where are you?” It would seem like God really does respect man’s right to privacy.
Jesus ask permission to come in: “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If any man hears my voice, and open the door, I will come in.” Jesus never forces His way in. God follows this protocol if one’s not in good terms with Him, or a bit distant.
2. Paul had an encounter with Jesus
“As he neared Damascus on his journey, suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him. 4 He fell to the ground and heard a voice say to him, “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?” 5 “Who are you, Lord?” Saul asked. Acts 9:3-5.
When Paul didn’t know the Lord, He throw him off his horse first before speaking to him. It was a different approach in a later encounter with the apostle. Acts 18:9-10, “One night the Lord spoke to Paul in a vision: “Do not be afraid; keep on speaking, do not be silent. 10 For I am with you, and no one is going to attack and harm you, because I have many people in this city.” Here there was no need to get Paul’s attention. They were on speaking terms.
As we get closer to God, we can become more aware of His moods and attitudes as we approach Him in prayer. We should endeavour to get His attention first, and then speak to Him. Quite often worshipping or reading the Word can indicate to heaven that we want an audience with the Father. Other times, its just being quiet and still and thinking only about Him. I know of a prayerful man who was heard saying ‘Father, Father’ for about 30 minutes before He proceeded to pray. The more we live in His Presence, though, the less we need to ‘knock’