Prescott Conference 2019
Saturday March 6, 2019 AM
No matter what comes of this relationship, it will not change. We are His sons and daughters and He is our Father. Whatever comes from the Father, the relationship is satisfying to our hearts.
Our very natures are bound to God through the person of Christ. No other relationship in life is like it. Other relationships may help us understand it; but while it is only considered under earthly figures, we are in danger of forgetting that underneath there lies the substantial reality of our sonship to God.
It is the sort of Fatherhood that a man finds and ceases to be homeless and a wanderer, a fugitive, a vagabond upon the face of the earth - ceases to be a mere withered leaf borne helpless on the wind, who origin none cares to trace, and whose destiny none turns to see. The son who prays “Our Father” has found his place in the universe, a place designed just for him, he has found a hold and a hope; and however in himself unstable, weak, and incapable, he rests enduringly in the unchangeable Father. He has been outside, thinking the world a strange, cold, barren, friendless, and unsatisfying place; he has wondered about, not seeing through the thick cloud, and still less dreaming that One was seeing and caring for him; and now he finds he has a Father - One to love, One to serve, One to glorify, One to worship.
ISA 44:21 O Israel, you will not be forgotten by Me.
ISA 44:22 "I have wiped out your transgressions like a thick cloud, And your sins like a heavy mist. Return to Me, for I have redeemed you."
PSA 142:1 Maskil of David, when he was in the cave. A Prayer.
PSA 142:3 When my spirit was overwhelmed within me, Thou didst know my path. In the way where I walk They have hidden a trap for me.
PSA 142:4 Look to the right and see; For there is no one who regards me; There is no escape for me; No one cares for my soul.
PSA 142:5 I cried out to Thee, O Lord; I said, "Thou art my refuge, My portion in the land of the living.
Every day we are to begin on this path. “Our Father”. Speak to Him before you speak to anyone else. Use the words that your Lord gave you and know them, search for their depth throughout every day for your entire journey on this earth.
Father must not be seen as figurative. This isn’t the reality. He actually is my Father in every good and personal sense.
We might say, “He has treated me like a Father and have given to me as a Father.” No. This doesn’t go far enough. It brings us no closer to Him. This only misleads us. Christ is the door of the sheepfold and I have walked through that door by faith. Only thieves and robbers try to find another entrance. The Shepherd of my soul has made His Father my Father. He is my Father.
JOH 20:17 Jesus said to her, "Stop clinging to Me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father; but go to My brethren, and say to them, 'I ascend to My Father and your Father, and My God and your God.'"
All are to use this prayer. The only qualifications are being human and believing in Christ. It is not for a special group.
Come to Him as you are. He is always your Father regardless of your current condition.
I also, and please wait to hear what I mean, do not have to be currently pure in mind and heart. The sinner comes to the throne of God and says “Our Father,” though he is currently struggling mightily. It goes without saying that he would be confessing the sin before His Father. He couldn’t get to “hallowed be Your name” while he had no opinion or care about his sin, unless he is just repeating the words for the sake of only saying them. When we say, “sanctified by Your name,” we cannot be harboring sin in the same heart that we desire Him to be set apart in. In fact, approaching the word “sanctified” we deal with sin in our lives, and that by grace before the One who has forgiven and cleansed us in Christ. We could never call Him Father if that were not true.
The entitlement to use this prayer is not in the petitioner but in Christ.
The rich, the poor, the spiritual, the sinner, the famous, the unknown are all to use it. One who is comfortable and safe and one that is wrecked and lost are to use it.
The words may be abused, but we only deceive ourselves. We must be most careful not to deceive ourselves by plainly knowing the word of God. As children of God we are to be like Him. That must always be remembered, and if it is, it will steer us away from self-deception.
MAT 5:44 "But I say to you, love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you
MAT 5:45 in order that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven; for He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.
Calling Him Father is the first step. When a child learning language says “daddy” for the first time, the father reacts with joy and love and that word spoken strengthens their bond. When confidently say, “Abba, Father,” because we know that we are His adopted sons, God the Father must have a similar reaction in His mysterious, divine way. The earthly father cares little for the correct pronunciation from his baby. He cares only that his baby knows and it gives him great pleasure. But it doesn’t end there. As the child matures the good father wants to see his characteristics in his child. The child still calls him father, but the child is now challenged with good and evil. But what if that child thinks his old man is a crackpot and doesn’t consent to agree with his father’s good? That breaks every father’s heart. We are commanded not to grieve the Holy Spirit. “Sanctified by Your name,” is the child’s agreement. The path of holiness has begun.
“Our Father who is in heaven.”
We understand God as in heaven and that our prayers reach Him. He is holy and all powerful. We also acknowledge that earth is not enough for us. We don’t hate the earth. It is God’s creation, but we see anything good on earth as a gift from heaven. Nothing is intrinsically good. One God is good, and what he gives us is good.
JOH 3:27 "A man can receive nothing, unless it has been given him from heaven.”
JAM 1:17 Every good thing bestowed and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation, or shifting shadow.
We look to heaven as the only source of power and goodness.
God puts Himself in heaven and so our minds can focus. None of us can focus on omnipresence.
Such a characteristic has not point but includes all points. But God has given us a place to turn our mind’s eye towards and know that Father is there. A place of holiness, goodness, and power.
We also know that Jesus sits at the Father’s right hand as our Mediator and intercedes for us.
There was a moment when your voice was first heard in heaven, in the halls of the kingdom of God, when as a new child of God you said, “Our Father who is in heaven.”
From the darkness of earth in its confusion, its perplexity, and its suffering, we pray to Him who sits above, seeing to the end, and ordering all things; from the trouble and weakness of earth we cry up to the “blessed and only Sovereign, God over all, blessed forever.”
1TI 6:13 I charge you in the presence of God, who gives life to all things, and of Christ Jesus, who testified the good confession before Pontius Pilate,
1TI 6:14 that you keep the commandment without stain or reproach until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ,
1TI 6:15 which He will bring about at the proper time — He who is the blessed and only Sovereign, the King of kings and Lord of lords;
1TI 6:16 who alone possesses immortality and dwells in unapproachable light; whom no man has seen or can see. To Him be honor and eternal dominion! Amen.
It is good for us to remember as we begin our prayer that there is a heaven and an earth. That there is a place where God’s rule is seen and obeyed, and all is harmonious, well-ordered, steady, peaceful, and separated from us by an enormous blue vault.
It is our comfort, that while we are involved in this world we can appeal to the one above it, and uncontrolled by it. We did not try to bring God down to earth and bind Him with our own petty laws, nor change Him into something He’s not. We went right to heaven petitioned Him there, very high above us indeed.
When the utmost skill and strength of the child have failed, he runs to his father, never doubting that with him is more skill and sufficient strength. We must not lower the Father to our level. We must seek His level, the words and lovely ways of heaven itself. If we cannot see a solution, we must never think that God sees none either. He sees as we cannot and nothing will be impossible with Him. Pray to “Our Father in heaven” and know that He sees clearly the solutions to all problems, the small and the great.
It is amusing to think that when our human skill is fruitlessly spent, there is no more that God can do; that, when everything goes wrong with us, there is no help for us in God. Too often we pray to a God whom we do not set in the heavens, to whom we do not in fact ascribe as much wisdom and power as we do to men, whose help we do not as fully trust in as we should in the combined help of some on earth we know of, whom we scarcely trust in much more than in ourselves, else we should be found despairing when we see no remedy for our ills, and when our own strength is exhausted.
This invocation sets before us a God of heavenly holiness as well as of heavenly power. It is of His nature to help us in grace and mercy. It is His nature to bless to the utmost. He is also free from all suspicion. He knows our frame, that we are but dust.
PSA 103:6 The Lord performs righteous deeds, And judgments for all who are oppressed.
PSA 103:7 He made known His ways to Moses, His acts to the sons of Israel.
PSA 103:8 The Lord is compassionate and gracious, Slow to anger and abounding in lovingkindness.
PSA 103:9 He will not always strive with us; Nor will He keep His anger forever.
PSA 103:10 He has not dealt with us according to our sins, Nor rewarded us according to our iniquities.
PSA 103:11 For as high as the heavens are above the earth, So great is His lovingkindness toward those who fear Him.
PSA 103:12 As far as the east is from the west, So far has He removed our transgressions from us.
PSA 103:13 Just as a father has compassion on his children, So the Lord has compassion on those who fear Him.
PSA 103:14 For He Himself knows our frame; He is mindful that we are but dust.
He appreciates the feeblest beginnings good in us, cherishes and fosters into life what man would count dead and lost, knows nothing of grudging, or the malice , of the faultfinders; but watches how He may encourage us in the slightest efforts towards righteousness, watches how He may insinuate His help, and in proportion to His own freedom from all taint or shadow of evil, deals delicately with the sinner in all His way, until our eyes begin to open to the perfect rectitude, simplicity, and loveliness of His character; and we see that in Him there is help for us in all good, and deliverance from evil. And when we see something of the holiness of God, we shall be careful to restrain such desires as are inconsistent with His purposes, but shall very boldly expect that He will straighten that which is crooked.
The word “Our” by no means prohibits the individual and private use of prayer. Our Lord, viewing the need of the entire body.
Viewing the needs of the entire body, Jesus gives one prayer for all, for we all need the same thing, a relationship with a holy Father and the kingdom of God firmly rooted in our hearts. How God transforms our thinking and faith will be unique for each individual, but when we each pray to “Our Father” for the same purpose, it is obvious that we are united in purpose.
PHI 2:1 If therefore there is any encouragement in Christ, if there is any consolation of love, if there is any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and compassion,
PHI 2:2 make my joy complete by being of the same mind, maintaining the same love, united in spirit, intent on one purpose.
We ascend to the heights of heaven with a common voice. Around this prayer the desires of all the faithful cluster, and here we enjoy the communion of the saints. We know that our brothers and sisters all over the world, in different languages, are all heard along with us in a common purpose brought to heaven, to which God always says “Yes.”
We all begin with “Our Father in heaven” and during this utterance we must look past our immediate circumstances, our sorrows, our anxieties, our sins, all of which are incident to our common humanity, and we seek only our Father in heaven in all His holiness. We lay aside one master, the flesh/world, and sit at the feet of the other, our only Master, our Father.
This prayer leads us away from prayers that center on the particular benefits which touch only what is peculiar to our present case. It expands our view to larger blessings from heaven that overflow our current particulars like a tidal wave.
To the holy Father we ascend, but we cannot do so while harboring sin, evil, or earthly desires. These opening words force us to lay them all aside.
Thus, our Lord’s prayer is fitting and full, though brief and simple.
We begin confidently and lovingly, He is our Father. We begin humbly because we call the Almighty, Father because of the humiliation of God the Son. We begin carefully because He is holy. We approach Him thankfully because we could have never dreamed of such a relationship and such an access.
If we are approaching prayer recklessly because the set time for prayer has come upon us and we are busy or occupied with other things, “Our Father in heaven” brings to mind the toil of Christ that gave us a Father in heaven. His incarnation, His passion, His victory in resurrection all slow our minds down and bring us to a longing and hungering for prayer. What is the business we are occupied when juxtaposed with Him and His work? Are we not also reminded that our desire for blessing in life; joy, hope, fulfillment, cannot come at a distance from God the Father? It must come, and can only come in close connection with Him in a near and friendly relationship that is enduring and growing nearer and more familiar. This relationship is the foundation and beginning of all hope and blessing.
Prayer is more than a posture. It is more than an exercise. It is at its heart a transaction of time and blessing with a personal, present, living God who dwells in the holiness of heaven. No matter who we are, where we are, and what is currently happening or bothering us in life, this introduction fills each of our souls with suitable and appropriate thoughts which attract us and encourage us to pray properly and rewardingly.
Let us, then, use this common prayer with intelligence, striving always to fill it more fully with meaning and desire. Let us wait for no other introduction than the one our Lord gave to us. Let us see that it is no stranger that asks for our worship, but our Father, and let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace and expect help and mercy. Let us know that no other knows our heart like He does and that there is no one nearer, more intelligent of our condition, more considerate, and more painstaking about us. Let our desire to worship be relieved.
PSA 90:1 Lord, Thou hast been our dwelling place in all generations.
Hallowed by Your name.
It is proper that we first contemplate and seek God’s holiness before we tell the wants that are gnawing our spirits with very sensible agony.
There is time to get to our personal desire, but a clear drawing forth of His holiness to our minds will always alter towards the way of God what we seek for in our personal desire.
We would not say that we should give into a habit of putting first in our petitions which ranks last in our desire. If our greatest desire is our own immediate one and our least desire is God’s holiness set apart in our hearts, then the first three petitions will only be posturing on our headlong rush to the words “give us.”
This condition is addressed in our prayer. “Our Father in heaven, sanctified be Your name,” must be spoken and handled sincerely. If we feel the pull to leave them as quickly as possible, we must remain here and ponder as well as ask our Father why His glory is less important to us than our own desires, and when we find the answer, which we will if we are listening, then our view of our desire will transform as we look at it through the lens of God’s holiness.
Of course, we must allow for the situations in which our personal deliverance is so pressing that we could not possibly think of anything else before that deliverance is secured in our minds. These are not the most frequent prayers by any means. They are rare and infrequent, whereas praying with an unperturbed mind is by far the more common prayer. Though our minds may want immediate deliverance, our prayer forces us to seek God’s glory first. When the blessing of sanctifying our Father in our hearts is secured, all else will go well.
Remember, you pray with your mind and by means of the Holy Spirit. Seeking God’s will in the first three petitions will be found as the Holy Spirit guides us in prayer. You will hear without hearing and see without seeing.
God’s glory and our good are so connected that we cannot desire the one without the other.
The holiness of God is not something separate from our own good. Yet we do not desire it for the reason it contains our good only, but because of all the good it contains.
If our Father in all His holiness does not sit on the throne of our souls with His kingdom firmly established around Him, then nothing good can come to us or from us. In Him is all hope, love, security, confidence, and power.
“Sanctified be Your name,” cannot be removed from the invocation, “Our Father in heaven.”
The gods that we, mankind, have made for ourselves, our pagan gods so to speak, are distant, unmoveable, sympathising, grudging; inhabiting another world but never making themselves a part of our own, separate from, and even ignorant of, all influences which move us; having a will to humble and tyrannize over and baffle us. To such a god we would say holy, but never would we call him Father. Our God, our Father, is holy, and He came into our world, became one of us, clothed Himself with our nature, sympathizes with our weaknesses, seeking our good, and loving us like no other could.
Christ tells us to call upon our Father, and to make Him holy in our own hearts. We have misunderstood God, but Christ who revealed Him, set us straight. The veil has been lifted, or torn if you rather that, and the holy place has been laid open to our eyes to the vision of eternal and unalterable love that moves us to humility and wondering devotion.
He shows us that while we were not thinking about Him, He was thinking about us. While any thought about Him was filled with suspicion and aversion, His thoughts towards us were precious, fraught with ineffable compassion, forbearance such as the patience of God could alone exhibit, and a marvelous goodness which has taken up every feature of our necessity, and being still unexhausted by our draught upon it, has liberally and rejoicingly showered upon us lavish and unthought of blessings. While we were running from Him, He was chasing us. While the one sheep went astray, He left the ninety-nine behind and came and found us and saved us, and He asked for nothing in return except that we should worship Him in Spirit and in truth.
What is more important to your Father than you? Our good is His greatest interest.
He brought many sons to glory. He gave us Himself; Father, Son (brother), and Spirit (Helper). He came to seek and to save those who were lost, to set the captives free, no material or historical thing is more important to Him than you are. Sanctify Him in your hearts.
HEB 2:9 But we do see Him who has been made for a little while lower than the angels, namely, Jesus, because of the suffering of death crowned with glory and honor, that by the grace of God He might taste death for everyone.
HEB 2:10 For it was fitting for Him, for whom are all things, and through whom are all things, in bringing many sons to glory, to perfect the author of their salvation through sufferings.
There is one family in heaven and on earth called by the name of the Son of God who came down from heaven and made His Father our Father. When we survey and understand what we can of this stupendous act of mercy, we will burst with feeling saying, “sanctified by Your name.”
We have His name. Our Father calls us His children and has given us the name Christ or Christian. What could be more honorable to us in life than to possess the name of our Father.
REV 3:12 'He who overcomes, I will make him a pillar in the temple of My God, and he will not go out from it anymore; and I will write upon him the name of My God, and the name of the city of My God, the new Jerusalem, which comes down out of heaven from My God, and My new name.
REV 3:13 'He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.'
God’s name is not God Himself, neither is it our idea of God; but it is that expressed idea of Him which He Himself would have us to possess, and which may be gathered from His own revelation.
We have all been guilty in the past of entertaining the idea of God’s name which was not entirely correct. His name is the idea of Him that He wants planted in our souls. It remains shallow to sanctify His name if our idea of it is wrong or only superficial. We all start off shallow, but we must go deeper. “Father, sanctify Your name. What is Your name?”
The name of God is not the nature of God, nor His relationship to us; but if the conception which God would have us to cherish of Him can be summed up in one word, then that word is the name of God.
GEN 4:25 And Adam had relations with his wife again; and she gave birth to a son, and named him Seth, for, she said, "God has appointed me another offspring in place of Abel; for Cain killed him."
GEN 4:26 And to Seth, to him also a son was born; and he called his name Enosh. Then men began to call upon the name of the Lord.
Those who know His name, the name that God warrants by His dealings and revealed scripture, will trust in Him.
PSA 9:10 And those who know Thy name will put their trust in Thee; For Thou, O Lord, hast not forsaken those who seek Thee.
God’s dealings and teachings are not themselves His name, but rather the utterance of the name. The idea in our minds of all that God has said and done, combined with the full revelation of His character is His name. We can say God is _____. And though He reveals several hundred different names for Himself, we can still say God is ______ , and know in our hearts that we have it just right. “Sanctified be Your name.”
In the OT, many names were given, but they were shadows of the real name, the full name. But when the Son came, He showed us the Father and the revelation of the name was completed. Nothing now can be added to the name; in it all that God is has been summed up.
We are the beneficiaries of His fullness.
EXO 6:2 God spoke further to Moses and said to him, "I am the Lord;
EXO 6:3 and I appeared to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, as God Almighty, but by My name, Lord, I did not make Myself known to them.
It was obvious that to Moses He was going to reveal more of His character.
When He gave this name, He was about to bring out of an idolatrous country, and plant in the midst of an idolatrous world, a people in whom the knowledge of the on God was to be maintained for all generations. Yavah distinguished Him from all other usurpant gods.
In Exo 3, Moses asked for His name in order to validate his God given role as liberator and leader and God simply answered him, “ehyeh asher ehyeh” or I am that I am, to which He added, “The God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, the God of Jacob.”
The imperfect ehyeh means that He keeps on being in the past, now, and onward that which I keep on being. It is pure eternal existence but also pure eternal purpose. God’s essence is purpose. In this name He claims for Himself exclusive proprietorship of life and a name above every name. Jews scattered all over the world would still call upon it and still do. Who is calling on Zeus or Jupiter or Baal anymore?
The I am has no revolution of years nor succession and lapse of times. If He “is” now all that He ever has been, all that He ever shall become; if all time as well as all place is embraced in His existence; if by the name He has given us of Himself He has taught our faculties to strive to annihilate time and its changes and rise to His eternity, to resist our sinkings and waverings of faith and our varying moods, and to live now in all the peace and joy of a life that we have in the eternal. Rest is not here or there or then or now, but only in Him.
Almighty came to include Yavah, I am that I am, and Yavah included Father when the full name was revealed in Christ. Almighty, all powerful, eternally existent, eternally purposed, sovereign of all life, and Father.
It was this name that the hearts of God’s people were unconsciously yearning after through all other names that were given, until the Son came forth, for whom all revelation of God’s nature and relation to us was preparing, and in whom all revelation is summed up. Jesus is the eternal Word and He has magnified His Word above His very own name.
It is this name that we are to sanctify. It is a name that shows His relation to us but also reveals His nature fully as all powerful, eternal, all knowing, and also all loving and merciful, fully manifested at the cross of Christ.
Worship Him, or sanctify His name, as your Father.
God would have us, first of all, to worship Him not as the Ruler of all worlds, but as bound to this world; not as attending to all parts of an infinite universe, but as regarding us; not, in short, as the Head of all things that are, but mainly and in the first instance as “Our Father”. He confines our view that we may see more distinctly. His name confines our view to only that which is between ourselves and Him. His name delivers us from being distracted and lead us straight to only that which we can know and should be concerned with.
We spend our entire lives learning the depth of this name, which is unfathomable. Learning what God is, we ask that that name be sacred in our hearts, regarded by all as a true and holy thing that is at any cost to be maintained in esteem, even under all temptation.
May the idea of God, which He would have us to possess, be held as the choice possession of our spirits, the treasure on which our hearts rest, and to which they ever return. May the name never be clouded by adversity, temptation, carelessness, or falsehood. May His name be always holy and revered in our hearts. If this is true, everything else will go well. All things work together for good to those who love His name. We find our lives when we lose the old ones for His name’s sake.
He is absolutely good. He never does to us what needs to be undone. He does not change toward us based on new fashions or ideas. He came to earth in the Son of God and left to return to heaven so that He might prepare a place for us.
When prayer becomes laborious, mundane, or a distraction, God’s name has not been sanctified by you. Something else is fighting for your allegiance and winning.
We will find it easy to worship Him at times. He will seem near and living, as a friend at your side, patient, holy, loving, and all so keenly evident that you will experience an impossible levity and rapture that all other objects fade away and you will worship Him with reverence. Yet, then another time, looking for the same experience you will find the same prayer laborious and hard task. For whatever reason; fatigue, busy duties, distraction with people or entertainment, sin; the name of God has not now been hallowed by you. Something else is fighting for your allegiance and winning.
The race of the world has hurried you past the voice of God and the restraining sense of His holy presence has been supplanted by indifference and forgetfulness. I decided to fight my own battle, even a small one, and I wiped the name of my Father from my heart.
Yet, I am forgiven and cleansed from all sin and I need just repeat the opening words of prayer and ask Him again why other things are more hallowed to me than His name. I consider why He is my Father and I think of the cross of my Lord and my busy, fleeing mind begins to slow and to be restrained by heaven itself.
Our idea of the name of God will distinctly affect our living.