Monthly Archives: October 2015

Greater Intimacy with the Father

And when you fast, do not look gloomy like the hypocrites, for they disfigure
their faces that their fasting may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you,
they have received their reward. But when you fast, anoint your head and wash
your face, that your fasting may not be seen by others but by your Father who
is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.
~Matthew 6:16-18 (ESV)

In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus moves from teaching about prayer to instructions about fasting, two intimate forms of communicating with the Father. Moreover, two ways the Son modeled communicating with the Father throughout his earthly ministry. Because for Jesus it wasn’t a matter of if he fasted but when he fasted, perhaps I shouldn’t wait so long between my times of fasting. By waiting too long, I wonder if I am missing times of greater intimacy with the Father. Perhaps I am missing times of miraculous transformations in the secret parts of my life that will prepare me for a more blessed life in the Kingdom where I am called to love other as I have been loved.

Don’t wait for some miracle to be performed on you from without, lifting you above your fears and doubts and self-centeredness. You help God from within by turning in outgoing love to others, and miraculously your fears and doubts and self-centeredness will vanish. The miracle starts within, not from without.
~E. Stanley Jones

As you and I communicate with the Father whether by praying or fasting, may we inwardly know the reward of greater intimacy with the Father who loves us with an everlasting love.

Prayerfully Meeting the Father

Pray, then, in this way:
‘Our Father who is in heaven,
Hallowed be Your name.
Your kingdom come,
Your will be done
On earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our debts, as we have forgiven our debtors
[letting go of both the wrong and the resentment].
‘And do not lead us into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.
[For Yours is the kingdom and the power
and the glory forever. Amen.]
For if you forgive others their trespasses [their reckless and willful sins], your heavenly Father will also forgive you.  But if you do not forgive others [nurturing your hurt and anger with the result that it interferes with your relationship with God], then your Father will not forgive your trespasses.
~Matthew 6:9-15 (Amplified Bible)

Jesus amplifies what he says about forgiveness in his teaching on prayer. How foundational forgiveness is in God’s kingdom! First and foremost, I am a prideful sinner in need of salvation that comes only through the One who lovingly teaches me how to pray. What a humbling reminder these words are of my humanity.

Secondly, I can choose to forgive others but cannot do so without the power of the Father’s gracious assurance that as I seek to forgive others I am forgiven also. Clarence Jordan paints a beautiful picture of just how relational our life of faith is:

One meets the Father one one’s way back
from being reconciled with his brother.

May you and I prayerfully meet the Father, by humbly seeking to forgive as we have been forgiven.