Some crash and burn. Others grin and bear it. Still others, turn to their God for His direction. If that disciple is loaded down with the attitudes and expectations of the culture in which he/she lives, then all bets are off; they loose. That person may respond in almost any way, without reference to the Faith that is supposed to be the bedrock foundation of life. Often, the onset of hard times brings out the worst in us: arguments, rage, heavy drinking, self destruction or marital failure. Sometimes, the hard times are the result of nothing we have done: loss of employment or serious illness, for example. Still, how we respond to these situations demonstrates to us and to those around us, who we really are.
If we are Disciples of Jesus, then our response is that we begin to pray. We start to seek God’s Face, asking Him a number of questions as we search our own hearts. Trying not to get to Me-Centered, we look inside. Have we erred in some area? Is there un-confessed sin in our lives? Is our relationship with our families, co-workers, and friends in good order? God, what are You showing us? Is this simply the result of living in a fallen world, or is there spiritual warfare afoot? How can we stay the course, continue in our Faith, and be strong, when all that is within us is crying out desperately for help?
We don't always bring prayer to the front when we experience setbacks in our lives, do we? It is as though we are asleep. The alarm is ringing in our ears, and we seem deaf to Prayer’s insistent call. Romans 13:11 exhorts us to wake up. This Sunday, we will look at the Matthew 6 passage concerning the prayer Jesus taught us to examine several reasons why we need to be praying seriously right now. Then, we will do just that: we will take some of our time together to pray, because we need to seek the Lord as a community, and we need to do that together today. (Thanks Ed for the words and ideas...)
Last week, we started on our study of what is called the Lord’s Prayer. We followed the prayer right up to this section and will, most likely, finish today.
1. “Give us…”
“Give me!” is one of the first things children say. Or “Mine!” “Satisfy my longings!” is the statement that child says as (s)he grows up. “I need!” continues to be the theme over the years up until death when “I need more medicine!” is heard above the sounds of the heart machine.
Our call in life:
So many times we are eager to ask God for things WE need and we do forget about those others who are needing more than us.
One of the easier pitfalls we might fall into is to want things for ourselves. There is a great book out today that has been so very helpful to many as they look for principles to live with concerning the treasures of the heart. I am tempted to just read/preach the book straight from the pages. The Treasure Principle by Randy Alcorn. Unlocking the Secret of Joyful Giving.
In a nut shell, here it is: We should not live for the dot but for the line. He writes: “The person who lives for the dot lives for treasures on earth that end up in junkyards. The person who lives for the line lives for the treasures in heaven that will never end.”
Yes, we do need things. Yes, it is right that we ask for them. Yes, it is OK to ask for things we really don’t need but don’t place your Salvation on getting it. All that we ask or even think … according to our needs in Christ Jesus. An X-Box? Trip to Hawaii? That great looking man? The job of your dreams? The experience of a life-time? The answer to the questions of life? Does it fit with what we need in Christ Jesus? If yes, than ask. Which leads us to the ONE thing we all need: forgiveness for our sins.
I heard once that if the patients in mental hospitals could deal with guilt and forgiveness, there would be very few there. Lack of forgiveness kills us--literally kills us. It most be dealt with!
2. “Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors…”
Here is a promise! If you forgive, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. We must forgive, as we hope to be forgiven. Those who desire to find mercy with God, must show mercy to others. Christ came into the world as the great Peace-maker, not only to reconcile us to God, but one to another.
We are taught to hate and dread sin while we hope for mercy, to distrust ourselves, to rely on the providence and grace of God to keep us from sin, to be prepared to resist the tempter, and not to become tempters of others. There is a condition here!
Again, as one man put it, this prayer puts it all together: comprehending all our real wants: FORGIVENESS, expressing all our lawful desires: to be forgiven. If we desire Forgiveness from God, we NEED to give forgiveness to anyone who has sinned against us. If we can not, His forgiveness is not ours. It will not come to us--unless we forgive.
3. "And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil" — We do live in a wicked world with all sorts of temptations in front of us. The Lord does not tempt us--according to
We do not HAVE to fall. When we do, we can ask for forgiveness. God has made a way for us to escape, through His Son, Jesus, so that we may be more than conquerors. Through His love, through His Son, we are more than conquerors over sin and all the consequences of sin. This part of the prayer is connected to the part on forgiveness. He is working with us--well, He is wanting us to work with Him in His Plan to bring His kingdom to come, as in...
4. "For Yours is the Kingdom" — The sovereign right of all things that are or ever were created: Everything is His. All that we have is His. All that we ever will be is His. We can’t get away from His possession of us. He, after all, made us and all that we have around us. To look at the world any other way is to be selfish. This is His Kingdom. Not the dot but the line. With eternity in mind.
"The Power" - His executive power, as Sovereign Lord God, whereby He governs all things in His everlasting Kingdom: The power of creation, the power of the sun rise, the power of the Resurrection, the power of a changed life. All this Power is found in Jesus.
And "the Glory" - The praise due from every creature, for His Power, and all His wondrous works, and the mightiness of His vast Kingdom, which endures through all ages, even for ever and ever.
It is to be seen, that though this doxology (the ending), as well as the petitions of this prayer, all this is directed to the Father, to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit. This prayer shows us not only how to pray, but also what are the things in our lives we will need to be exposed to His sight and touch. Listen to Jesus, when He said: