During the three and a half years that Jesus’s disciples walked with their Master, there were at least two important spiritual matters they couldn’t completely understand. One, as we noted in a previous devotional, was prayer, so the disciples asked Jesus to teach them to pray. The other was faith.
This brings us to the “golden rule of prayer,” which is that prayer begins when we believe in and acknowledge God’s existence and qualities. The “law of faith” establishes that we cannot believe in something if we are not certain such a thing exists. Accordingly, we can’t believe in God if we don’t know that He is real. Scripture clarifies that “without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him” (Hebrews 11:6). When we pray, we are affirming our belief that God is real and is available for us, here and now.
Thus, through faith, we believe in the existence of God and in the reality of the invisible realm. Then, through prayer, we affirm our belief, because if God didn’t exist, there would be no reason to pray to Him. The origin of our prayers is therefore God Himself. Only fools deny His existence (see Psalm 14:1), but God doesn’t expect anyone to believe in what they don’t know. We believe in God because He exists and has revealed Himself to us. Everything between God and man begins with the knowledge of Him.
Jesus said, “In this manner, therefore, pray: Our Father in heaven, hallowed be Your name” (Matthew 6:9). In other Bible versions, the word “hallowed” is translated “holy,” “sanctified,” or “honored.” We begin to receive the revelation of prayer when we affirm or recognize the holiness of God and give Him honor, because He is worthy to receive our adoration. We cannot just enter His presence and immediately give Him our list of petitions. No petition should be brought before the throne of God unless we first recognize His existence and honor Him for who He is. In accordance with the golden rule of prayer, we must acknowledge the Lord as Almighty God, Holy One, Everlasting Father, King of Kings, Lord of Lords, and the great I Am.
When we don’t take time to affirm and honor God, we are in violation of this golden rule of prayer. What does our affirmation do? It recognizes and declares that no one can put limits on the eternal God. “God is not a man, that He should lie, nor a son of man, that He should repent. Has He said, and will He not do?” (Numbers 23:19). It is written in the Scriptures that God is not a man! Therefore, we should never think of Him and His capabilities in human terms. He is the highest authority in heaven and on earth. He is our Creator and Father, a supreme Being with supernatural abilities, who requires that we worship Him “in spirit and truth” (John 4:23, 24).
Many people tend to believe that God is a distant Being, living far from them. One reason they believe this is that, in the Old Testament, God revealed Himself only outside of human beings because, after the fall of mankind, He no longer dwelled within people. The case of Moses is just one example. When God called Moses, He spoke to him from a burning bush (see Exodus 3:1–4); later, when Moses asked to see God’s glory, he could only glimpse His “back” (see Exodus 33:18–23). As tremendous as this experience must have been, Moses never had a revelation of God living inside of him.
Today, many Christians believe that God is similarly beyond their reach, but man’s relationship with the Father changed after Jesus’s death and resurrection and the gift of the Holy Spirit. The good news is that God now lives within His people by His Spirit. This was one of the purposes of the work of Christ on the cross. Although Moses never had the revelation of God living inside of him, he still spoke with God as a friend. (See Exodus 33:11.) How much more can we know the Lord as our Friend through the Spirit? Remember that when Jesus died, the veil of the temple separating God from man was torn in two. Since then, those who believe in Him and have received Him into their lives have free access to God’s presence, anytime and from any place.
Thought: When we pray, we affirm that God is alive and is with us and in us.