Cultivating a Deep Relationship with God as Father
Text: Matthew 6 : 1 - 18
The most natural way in which a believer should relate to God is to regard Him as Father.
Vain repetition would never cultivate any kind of meaningful relationship with God as Father. Prayer, if understood and practised correctly could contribute significantly towards the cultivation of a deep relationship with God. Prayer is not just the means to present petitions to God. It was meant to help cultivate the development of a meaningful and lasting relationship with the Lord.
A DEEP AND RICH DOCTRINE
The concept of God as Father may be traced all the way back to the most ancient times. Moses taught the children of Israel about the Fatherhood of God in these words.
“And in the wilderness where you saw how the
Lord your God carried you, as a man carries his
son, in all the way that you went until you came
to this place.”
The mighty Lord God of Israel was described as a man (father) carrying his son in the terrible forty years sojourn in the wilderness. Only a God with a genuine father’s heart could sustain and bear the ungrateful and rebellious children of Israel for so many years without giving up on them.
Yet, the sad fact is that the children of Israel never did establish a meaningful relationship with God as Father. There was acknowledgement of the Lord as God, but there was a want of effort on the part of the children of Israel in the cultivating of a deep and intimate relationship with Him.
Moses was not the only person who understood and taught the children of Israel about God as Father. The psalmists did not fail to do their part in pointing out that God was indeed a Father to be treasured. Consider the following texts written by king David.
“A father of the fatherless, a defender of widows,
Is God in His holy habitation.”
“As a father pities his children, so the Lord
pities those who fear Him.”
To those who truly understood God, the most meaningful relationship a person could attempt to establish with Him must be that of a child to a great but wonderfully loving Father. Regrettably, very few ever developed a meaningful relationship with the Lord as Father. By and large, it would appear that only the servants of God ever understood what it meant to have a relationship with God as Father.
THE LACK OF A MEANINGFUL RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD AS FATHER
God always wanted to have a meaningful relationship with His children, but apparently few ever managed to cultivate that rapport with Him. The last prophet that God sent to speak to the children of Israel had this to say to Israel!
“A son honours his father,
and a servant his master,
If then I am the Father,
Where is My honour?
And if I am a Master,
Where is My reverence?
Says the Lord of hosts… ”
Israel then and now seemed to have taken their relationship with God for granted. They turned to Him only in their hour of need. They never did learn to love God as their Father in heaven. Prayer was just a practical means to an end!
A FATHER IN HEAVEN
In all the Gospels, Jesus always exemplified the most desired relationship that a believer ought to consider. The new birth that comes through faith in Jesus opens up a special opportunity to relate to God as Father. What a privilege it is to be able to think of God as Father, and we as His children. The Apostle John captured this idea very well in the following text.
“But as many as received Him (Jesus), to them
He gave the right to become children of God,
to those who believe in His Name.”
How well do we really understand and appreciate our relationship with God as our Father in Heaven? This knowledge was supposed to affect the very manner in which we commune with Him in prayer.
TREASURE THE KNOWLEDGE OF GOD AS OUR FATHER IN HEAVEN
Praying in a very formal manner would never result in a close relationship with God. Offering vain repetitions in prayer would certainly never cultivate a meaningful rapport with the Lord. The very best way to cultivate this relationship seems to lie in practising what Jesus taught – address God as “Father in Heaven”.
As in any relationship, the initial attempts may cause one to feel awkward. In time, and with diligent practice, a deep and very significant relationship with God as Father can occur. What a challenging thought this is! Let us recall how close Jesus was to His Father! How meaningful His prayer life was. The Apostles of Jesus over time had also cultivated a deep relationship with the Father. Their lives and ministries were singularly blessed as a result. How well do we relate to God as our Father in Heaven? Let us learn how to treasure this knowledge of God as our Heavenly Father.