The more we know our Father in heaven, the more we will want to pray. As we learn about His character, we’ll grow more fond of Him and desire to spend more time with Him. The good news for us is, God has chosen to reveal Himself to us in His Word. We know exactly where to go to learn more about Him. So, let’s embark on an exploration of what theologians call God’s attributes, focusing today on the sovereignty of God as it relates to prayer.
Even though we are born in different places, at different times, and under different circumstances, there is a common thread that binds us together. We all have a story.
Perhaps, like me, your parents did not plan for you to be born. But God always had a plan for you (Acts 17:26). Before your dad met your mom and could not resist her smile, God loved you. Before your DNA gave its exquisite genetic instructions to form your tiny hands, your beating heart, and your perfect eyes, God knew you (Psalm 139:14). You may have been an accident to your parents. But you are no accident. You were created by divine purpose for a divine purpose.
Our Father in heaven is sovereign. This means God is working through the actions of humans to accomplish His purposes, to eventually redeem, restore, and heal all of creation and those who trust in His eternal Son, King Jesus. God will “bring everything together in Christ, both things in heaven and things on earth in him” (Ephesians 1:10). Ultimately God’s sovereignty is expressed in the redeeming work of Jesus and His blood.
“For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, and through him to reconcile everything to himself, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.” – Colossians 1:19-20
The One who hears our prayers is the sovereign One.
When we pray “Our Father,” we are praying to our sovereign Creator, the One who has eternally loved us with unmatched tenderness; the One who holds us with unparalleled strength. Our Father in heaven crafted us with infinite care and precision. Before we ever looked in the mirror and recognized our face, El-Roi, the God who sees (Genesis 16:13), eternally saw us. When you feel forgotten and unseen, our Father sees you. You are known. There is nothing random about you or your life.
“Before a word is on my tongue, you know all about it, LORD. You have encircled me; you have placed your hand on me. This wondrous knowledge is beyond me. It is lofty; I am unable to reach it.” – Psalm 139:4-6
God knows the end from the beginning (Isaiah 46:10). Jesus is “the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end” (Revelation 22:13); “He is before all things, and by him, all things hold together” (Colossians 1:17). God the Holy Spirit “knows the thoughts of God” because He is God (1 Corinthians 2:11). When we pray, “our Father,” in Jesus’ name, through the Spirit’s power, we are praying to our eternal Creator, who is all-seeing, all-knowing, all-powerful, and all-loving. He is worthy of our allegiance.
“You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit me together in my mother’s womb . . . You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed.” – Psalm 139:13;16, NLT
God Knows Everything.
If God knows everything, why should we pray? If He is sovereign, what’s the point?
This question assumes that prayer is like making wishes to a genie in a bottle—but we do not pray like that. That approach is the problem with the American gospel where Jesus has become a consumer good instead of a good God whom we serve for His glory. Jesus did not go the cross and rise from the dead to serve us like a butler. He rose from the dead “so that he would be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters” who embody the kingdom of God on earth as it is in heaven (Romans 8:29). Jesus restores our divine birthright as “a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his possession, so that [we] may proclaim the praises of the one who called [us] out of darkness into his marvelous light” (1 Peter 2:9).
We pray because we love Him and want to know Him more.
We pray because we want to experience His beautiful life-giving presence.
We pray because we want to inhabit the world as God’s people on God’s mission for God’s glory.
Abba is un-surprise-able, but He will surprise us when He invites us into His kingdom. Like the loving parent He is, God patiently teaches us through the Holy Spirit how to live in a new and better story of grace as citizens and royal priests in His kingdom. We needed a better story, so God, out of an endless ocean of love, gave us Jesus’ story. God rescued “us from the domain of darkness and transferred us into the kingdom of the Son he loves” (Colossians 1:13).
Jesus’ life, Jesus’ story, and Jesus’ achievements are forever ours, by grace through faith (Colossians 3:3-4).
We have been transferred into Jesus’ kingdom. We have a new zip code. We are relocated in the Messiah Jesus. This is our new story. As we read Scripture, we are learning Jesus’ story and how we fit in it. We are discovering our destiny.
This post was adapted from Dr. Derwin Gray’s new book, God, Do You Hear Me?