By Kyle Patterson
The distinguishing mark of a true believer is intimacy with God. We are not saved to live a better life only, though that comes as God works in our life. To be a Christian is to know Christ in a way that includes two way communication.
21 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.22 On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ 23 And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’ Matthew 7:21
It’s not that Jesus didn’t know who these people were who worked in his name, they just didn't share a relationship with him. They stayed busy doing a lot of good works, they were productive, they were ambitious, but they didn’t know him. That word "know" is referring to an intimate knowledge. It the difference between knowing God in our heads and really knowing him in our hearts. You could describe the Christian life accurately when you say it's at its core a journey of knowing and loving him more.
Daniel’s relationship with God was characterized by an ever deepening relationship with the Father that included two way communication. In chapter 6 we saw Daniel’s faithfulness to prayer and in chapter 7 God speaks to Daniel with a vision and revelation in the form of a dream.
Daniel had a dream, and visions passed through his mind as he was lying in bed. He wrote down the substance of his dream. Daniel 7:1
Prayer is in effect a two way dialogue between us and God. As believers we need to be devoted to prayer because it is the primary way God has ordained that we should know him and grow in a relationship with him. The Lord’s prayer teaches us much about how we should pray and relate to God.
Our Father. God is not an impersonal being, but an intimate loving Father who cares for us deeply and loves us intensely.
In heaven. God is holy and exalted. The truth that he is in heaven reminds us of a number of things. He has eternal perspective, sees all things, and knows the end from the beginning. He has your best in mind and will not fail you.
Hallowed be your name. When we come to God, we should not only bring our needs, but our adoration and worship. Take time to adore God for who he is. Spend time with him because you love him with no agenda.
Thy kingdom come, thy will be done. As God’s vice-regents on earth, we are invited to play a part in his mission on earth. Our prayers are a channel God uses to bless the world and reveal himself.
Give us this day our daily bread. Now we move into bringing our daily needs to the Father and trust him to take care of us. Once we understand that he is a loving Father, sovereign over all things, and desiring good things for all mankind, it is an easy step to believe he can and will meet our needs.
Forgive us our sins. Thankfully God’s mercies are new each morning. Making repentance a habit in prayer, frees us from the burden of sin and regret and helps us to realize our need for his grace and worship afresh when we remember his death and resurrection that forever frees us.
As we forgive those who sinned against us. Harboring bitterness toward those who have hurt and offended you is rooted in pride. We can’t forgive those who we think we are better than. The gospel teaches us that we are all sinners in need of God’s saving grace and it’s only by Christ that we can be made right. All our attempts to save and justify ourselves apart from Christ's finished work are futile.
Lead us not into temptation, deliver us from evil. We need God’s guidance and help to walk with him. We so quickly go our own way, this portion of the Lord’s prayer reminds us that there is a way that seems right to us but it’s end is death. We need Christ to lead us as our Good Shepherd.
For yours is the kingdom, power, and glory. We acknowledge all things are God’s, he is able to do this because all things are his and has supreme power.
Spend time today in prayer, adoring God for who he is and develop intimacy with him. It pays eternal dividends.