Over the next few posts I’m going to dissect some prayers that I think are pretty important for the lives of those who profess to follow Christ.
Today, I’m thinking about the Lord’s prayer.
Personally, it’s been easy to overlook this amazing gem that Christ himself gave to us. I think it’s because we’ve heard it so many times. I don’t know about you, but I need fresh life breathed into this.
Before you go on, if you’re even interested at all, ask the Father for eyes to see what I’m saying here. Ask God for new little kid eyes that can see things new instead of the hum-drum doctrines that have grown stale on our shelves and in our pews.
Imagine it, seriously, I want you to close your eyes and imagine sitting there in front of this amazing man on that mountain side, as he picked apart, expanded and filled the law and the prophets. Everything that you were raised being taught, was now being clarified with authority and power. The birds are chirping and the wind is gently blowing.
Jesus, the very Son of God, the Word made flesh, was teaching.
People flocked around, desperate to hear this fresh interpretation of all of this old and seemingly oppressive scripture.
Sit there on the hill. Crave the fresh words pouring from his mouth. Imagine his eyes and his laugh. Imagine him getting still and quiet, and starting into his sermon. There’s a hush among everyone, as they wait for what he’ll say next. “Blessed are you who are poor…” he starts off with.
Time seems suspended as you hang on every word he says. Suddenly, he starts talking about prayer, and to your surprise, he’s making fun of the scribes and religious leaders. This guy knows… you’ve passed those religious folk so many times, and it just felt off. But at the same time, you didn’t know what else to do, so, you had to follow their lead.
But not any more. Here, this man was going to teach you what to do.
“Pray then, in this way…
Our Father who is in heaven, hallowed be Your name.
Your kingdom come.
Your will be done, on earth, as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our debts, and we also have forgiven our debtors.
And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from evil.”
and then he goes on…
“For if you forgive others for their transgressions, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others, then your Father will not forgive your transgressions.”
Stop reading now… pause, look inside. Re-read each and every line. Let the meaning reveal itself to your spirit and let it penetrate your being.
This is a life changing prayer, not something to say flippantly.
Did you have a rough time digesting this?
Can you pray like this… I know it certainly shuts me down.
But here’s what’s real.
There is a much higher will and calling for our lives. This amazing prayer starts with the confession that God is above and beyond us. Even his name is holy and set apart. We begin with recognizing the Father’s very nature; higher and above all things.
That can often be the easy part. This recognition is also an acknowledgement of who we truly are. This is where our pride can flare up. We cannot understand or fathom His depths. We, humans, are small and stained. In one way or another, we have strayed from the Father and His awesome and perfect will.
Next, we bend our world and our will to His. We ask that His will be done and that His kingdom would come. We want it to be just like it is in heaven, here on earth.
We long for the Father’s perfect rule in all things. And we bow our knee to it.
Next, we ask that He provide for our needs, and the flip side to this is that if those needs are already taken care of, we take no credit. We actively acknowledge God as the provider of all things. He is our all in all.
Then we ask for His mercy, and in doing this we state that we have given the same mercy we are pleading for.
If you have a hard time with that, you most likely have not had to plead for mercy or acknowledge that you even need to. I’ve done terrible things to people, and the capability to do worse is in my very DNA. I need mercy desperately… And the humiliation and revelation of asking for that mercy typically can make it much easier to give the same away.
Finally, we come to the request that the Father won’t allow us to be lead into temptation… And beyond that, that He won’t lead us there, but instead, that He would truly and ultimately deliver us from evil.
Sorry to end abruptly, but that’s all I have to say. I hope you get quiet and kneel in awe of Him. I hope that I can do the same.