God, as a loving God, established a pattern for how he is to be approached. God isn’t some angry tyrant who doesn’t want visitors! But God is God, and He is the one who establishes the way in.
- Exodus 20:3 There are no other gods before God. It’s not like we get to choose the approach.
- Exodus 32:4 When Aaron, in his pastoral care, provides gods/or god (Elohim) then Exodus 32:5 A feast to the Lord (Yahweh)—he makes a dangerous error.
- Exodus 25:40; Hebrews 8:5 We are to follow the pattern set up by God—not by Man
Coming to God by the Father’s Will
God’s pattern is in accord with the entire triune Godhead. The Father sends the Son for a specific mission: to speak His words and then to die as a savior of the world to bring people in.
- 1 John 4:14 God the Father sent the Son into the world to be the world’s savior
- John 17:18 Jesus knows that the Father sent Him into the world
- John 3:16 God loved the world and sent the Son
- John 5:19-20 The Son is therefore to do only the things the Father would have him do.
Approaching God through the Son’s Work
In so doing, the Father establishes that anyone has access to Him only by the work of the Son. He joyfully sends the Son to happily bring people into His presence, by the willing work of the Son.
- Matthew 11:27 Only the Son truly knows the Father—no one else does
- John 14:9 But seeing the Son helps us understand the Father. The Son loves therefore we know the Father loves. The Son is sacrificing for people therefore the Father’s love is sacrificial.
- John 14:6 No one comes to the Father except through Jesus.
- 1 Tim 2:5 There are not multiple mediators between God and Man. Just one. That’s Jesus.
- Heb 10:19-22 That mediation was accomplished by Christ’s death
- John 20:17 Jesus extends God’s Father-ship and His Sonship to his disciples at His resurrection
We Approach God by the Spirit’s Power
The Son, in doing the work of the Father, sends the Holy Spirit by petitioning the Father. This one is another advocate—like Him—who is to come alongside God’s people. It’s a joyful thing the Spirit is doing because it is by His coming and application that anyone is able to come to the Father. Yet, the Holy Spirit only can come because of what the Son has done.
- Eph 2:18 We can only come to the Father through the Holy Spirit because of what Christ has done
- John 14:16 Jesus specifically asked the Father for the other Advocate like Him who will never leave like how Jesus had to leave
- Gal 4:4-6 It is by that one Spirit that we receive the adoption of Sons and cry Abba Father
- Romans 8:14-17 The Spirit confirms we are God’s children and we cry Abba Father through Him
We Approach The Triune God in Prayer
Whenever we pray as Christians—not as other religions—we are praying only because of the involvement of all three persons of the triune Godhead. The Father’s successful mission, the Son’s successful work, the Spirits successful application and we enter in calling God “Abba, Father”.
- In prayer, we ask by the authority of, and relationship with, Jesus the Son of God—we’re free to ask Jesus (John 14:14)
- In prayer, we ask the Father and He will give (John 16:23-24)
- In prayer, the Holy Spirit works the prayer (Rom 8:26) since He, as God, knows the mind of God (1 Cor 2:11)
When we read our Lord’s lesson on prayer, yes read it in context and yes, learn some lessons for the future millennium—but apply the riches of God’s established pattern to the prayer. Read this as a prayer that only a Christian, a worshipper of the only true God—not a Jew or a Muslim or a Mormon—can pray
- Praying: because we have access by the triune God’s work and because all three persons are involved in the creation of our faith
- “Our Father” because of what Christ has done, and because the Spirit applies that we are God’s children forever
- “Forgive us..” because we have our debts forgiven by Christ’s death, applied by the Holy Spirit, as planned by the Father
- “Give us..” because even in our very mundane needs, we are in utter reliance on the triune God
“Abba, Father,” we approach thee In our Savior’s precious name! We, thy children, here assembled, now thy promised blessing claim. From our sins His blood hath washed us, it is through Him our souls draw nigh. And thy Spirit, too, hath taught us, “Abba, Father,” thus to cry.