Tuesday, April 4, 2017

An Appointment with God

Part 3 of Talking to God

Text: Matthew 6:9




“Pray then like this: ‘Our Father in heaven…’” (Matt. 6:9). 


An Appointment to Keep

I’m sure most of us had a few appointments on our calendars this past week. An appointment to see your doctor. An appointment to get your car repaired. An appointment to have coffee with a friend. We do our best not to miss our appointments.

We have an appointment to meet with God each day—to hear his voice through his word and speak to him through prayer. But many Christians miss that appointment. This is nothing new. Martin Luther—who lived 500 years ago—wrote a letter to his barber about how to pray. In the letter he said this:
It is a good thing to let prayer be the first business of the morning and the last at night. Guard yourself carefully against those false, deluding ideas which tell you, “Wait a little while. I will pray in an hour; first I must attend to this or that.” Such thoughts get you away from prayer into other affairs which so hold your attention and involve you that nothing comes of prayer for that day. [1]
If you struggle with taking time to pray, my purpose is not to make you feel guilty about your lack of prayer. My purpose is to encourage you—starting today—to make sure you keep your daily appointment with God. How am I going to do this? By emphasizing the incredible privilege it is to meet with God each day.


Our Father in Heaven 

The Lord’s Prayer begins by focusing our attention on God. “We address God intimately as Father, but we immediately recognize his infinite greatness with the addition in heaven.” [2] This is something we should do regularly. “Be still, and know that I am God” (Ps. 46:10). Who is God? Who is the one to whom we pray?

God is triune. He is one God who exists in three persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Augustine, while walking along the beach one day was puzzling over the doctrine of the Trinity. He saw a young boy with a bucket, running back and forth to pour water into a little hole. Augustine asked, “What are you doing?” The boy replied, “I’m trying to put the ocean into this hole.” Then Augustine realized that he had been trying to put an infinite God into his finite mind.

God is our Creator. He possesses infinite power and wisdom. We often talk about the vastness of the universe, but have you ever stopped to consider how vast the universe really is? In 1977, two unmanned space probes were launched, Voyager 1 and Voyager 2. In 1987—after a 10-year, 4 billion-mile journey—Voyager 1 passed the orbits of Neptune and Pluto, completing its mission. The Voyager 1 is nearly the fastest vehicle ever made. It continues to travel through space at a speed of 11 miles every second. The closest star to the earth (other than the sun) is Proxima Centauri, a little over 4 light years away. At 11 miles per second, Voyager 1 wouldn’t reach Proxima Centauri until around the year 73,500. That’s amazing.

God is personal. He is our Father who is in heaven. “True prayer is not a technique nor a performance, but a relationship.” [3] Philip Yancey writes, “I have come to see prayer as a privilege, not a duty. Like all good things, prayer requires some discipline. Yet I believe that life with God should seem more like friendship than duty.” [4]

John Wesley said, “Bring me a worm that can comprehend a man, then I will show you a man who can comprehend God.” God’s greatness is incomprehensible. But so is his love!

Does this sound like someone you’d like to meet each day? This about the incredible privilege it is to meet with God each day. Probably none of us would miss an appointment with [name a celebrity]. We shouldn’t pass up the opportunity to meet with our Father in heaven.


Direct Access

When you call to make an appointment with your doctor, you don’t speak to your doctor. You speak to your doctor’s receptionist. And you almost never get to see your doctor immediately. You have to make an appointment to see your doctor on a future day. Then when that day finally arrives and you go to your doctor’s office, you have to sit in a waiting room and wait.

It’s very different when we want to meet with God. “Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need” (Heb. 4:16). “The eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and his ears are attentive to their cry” (Ps. 34:15). We have direct access to God!

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[1] Martin Luther, A Simple Way to Pray.
[2] Leon Morris, The Gospel According to Matthew, 144.
[3] R. T. France, “Matthew,” New Bible Commentary, 913.
[4] Philip Yancey, Prayer: Does It Make Any Difference?, 17.