Audience of One

You can tell Jesus never went to Bible college. If He had, he would have begun His sermon with a joke, worked through three points and ended with a punchy quote. But Jesus was on a mission; He had three short years to communicate everything His heavenly Father wanted Him to say  to the world. And after that, He faced the cross. So He packed everything in.

One of His most important teachings was about prayer. The Lord’s prayer (Matt 6:9-15) is undoubtedly the world’s famous prayer; it combines two perspectives that can help us today. First, in prayer we look beyond ourselves to God: His nature, His holiness, His kingdom and His will. Second, we focus on the day-to-day issues: food, forgiveness, strength to avoid temptation. At the very least, prayer involves worshiping and requesting. Without a balance of these two perspectives, our prayers become lopsided and eventually less effective.

But for Jesus, prayer wasn’t just a verbal formula. It was the natural extension of a lifestyle focused on doing His Father’s will. Notice how many times Jesus refers to ‘your Father’ in the second half (Matt 6:6,8,18,32, etc). Whether He’s talking about prayer or fasting or giving or any subject, the point is we are to do all things with our Father God in mind. Or as writer Os Guinness has put it, we are to play to ‘the audience of One‘. when that becomes the central focus of our lives, worries about things like money, possessions,clothes or food all take their proper place (Matt 6:33).Created with Microsoft Fresh Paint

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