“What father among you, if his son asks for a fish, will instead of a fish give him a serpent; or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!” (Luke 11:11-13)
I spend a great deal of time on social media engaged in discussions about theological and church related topics. I once got into a discussion about prayer which degenerated into a heated argument when some folks insisted that it is acceptable to pray to dead relatives and Saints, in particular to Mary the mother of Jesus. The idea was that Mary and the saints are more compassionate than God and can influence Him to answer our petitions.
My contention is that such prayers are unbiblical and idolatrous. They ignore the fact that, as Jesus says here in Luke 11, no one is more kind, compassionate and loving than God our Father. In addition prayers not addressed to God as the source of all that is, ascribe to human beings the power and glory due God alone, a direct violation of the first commandment.
When the disciples asked Jesus to teach them to pray, He gave them what we now call the Lord’s prayer. The prayer was presented as a model outlining what prayer is. And it is addressed to God the Father. In this prayer, Jesus taught that the proper focus of all prayer is God the Father. As we acknowledge Him as our Father, we are saying he is our Lord, our Head, and our King. We owe allegiance and loyalty to no one other than Him. And we are saying that no one is more powerful than He.
We glorify Him by placing Him first in our lives because we place him first in our prayer. And by calling Him Father we are acknowledging that He is merciful and loving. We want to come and sit on His lap as a child sits on his daddy’s. He wants to hear our thoughts. He wants to love us and take care of us. A good father is loving and kind and knows when his kids need to be held and when they need a hug. He is the source of all comfort and love. No one is as loving as He.