“Who do you say I am?” (Matthew 16:15)
The walk around the sea, really a lake, was a long one. They were tired and dusty. As they approached the border tensions mounted. They were about to enter an especially hostile area. The people there had many gods they worshiped. Their very presence in the area would challenge the locals to make a choice. The temptation for them to choose unwisely must have been strong. It must have been important that this small band of travelers already know their answer. Because that day, Peter was challenged by Jesus to answer this question. Who do you say I am Peter?
For Peter that question had one answer: “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”
How do we answer that question?
Every day can be like that long walk around the lake and by the end of it we are tired and maybe just a little dusty. This world we travel in is hostile towards us. Many of the people we encounter have multiple gods and there is tremendous temptation for us choose other gods in answer to our needs. And our needs are many. The concerns on our hearts are great and heavy. Where do we turn? What do we say when Jesus asks “Who do you say I am?”
How we answer that question says everything about Who we believe God to be and what we believe God capable and willing to do.
Maybe just a little unknowingly, we answer that question in the way we pray.
Jesus teaches that we begin our prayers Our Father. “Our” is important because if Jesus had said “My” we might believe God was Jesus’ Father but not necessarily ours. “Father” signifies that God is a personal God and together they establish us as His children.
When we begin our prayers “Our Father” we are saying we are a part of the community of faith and are establishing ourselves as rightful heirs to God’s eternal kingdom. That is a powerful beginning to a prayer! I wonder how many of us actually stop long enough to think about the significance of those words? I know I often do not. Just like I do not necessarily comprehend the significance of the other words I use in my prayers. The other words that also answer the question “Who do you say I am?”
The words we use in our prayers say a lot about who we say God is.
When we pray for healing we are saying God is a healing God.
When we pray for employment we are saying God is a providing God.
When we pray praises for a beautiful day or a beautiful newborn baby we are saying God is a creating God.
When we pray over hurts we are saying God is a caring God.
When we pray for direction we are saying God is a guiding God.
When we pray for others we are saying God is an intervening God.
When we pray out of fear we are saying God is a protecting God.
When we pray for forgiveness we are saying God is loving and saving God.
When we pray repentance we are saying that God is a forgiving God.
Do you see the active power in the verbs we use to say who God is? Try this – the next time you pray, consciously think about what it is you are praying for and what you are asking God to do. And then purposefully state “God! I declare that you are a ___________________ God!” Experience the power of a prayer rooted in faith in an active God.
The temptation will be great to pray a weak prayer; lacking confidence. The temptation will be to look to other gods for the answer. The temptation will be to believe God is not active – particularly if the answer doesn’t go our way. We must know today Who we say God is. Claiming it in confidence sets our hearts in position to pray powerfully.
How do you answer the question “Who do you say I am?”
Love and blessings,