By Jesse Horton / Cowboys of the Cross
We’ve recently been studying the topic of how God communicates to us. We all want to know what God’s will for our lives is, but most of us are unsure how to determine what that is or if God will even communicate that to us. Let me assure you, God wants you to know him, and as you know him personally and intimately, his will for your life will become increasingly clear.
We’ve established that the primary way God speaks to us is through our study of and meditation on the Scriptures, and that the secondary way God speaks to us is through prayer. We conclude our examination of Jesus’s model prayer – called The Lord’s Prayer – today.
For yours is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory forever and ever. Amen.
This has given me such great comfort and perspective in my life over the past year or so. Why? Because it is so easy for me (and probably for you too!) to let my prayers be focused on either my needs or the needs of others. Someone is sick; we pray for them to get better. Someone is injured at the rodeo; we pray for their healing. Someone lost their job; we pray for them to find another one quickly. But couldn’t God be using some of these circumstances to achieve a more perfect faith for those affected? A person may be laid out in a hospital bed and on the couch for a few months, but God can bring about a lot of changes in that person’s life in that time. Jesus’s prayer began with an acknowledgment of the holiness of God and then moved on to the first request Jesus said we should make to God. Do you remember what it was? Your kingdom come. Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.
Let’s be honest. In my sinful, fallen, self-centered existence, I want to establish my own kingdom where I am sovereign, and everything works together for my personal definition of what is best…and you’re just like me because you’re a sinner too! The first request Jesus taught his disciples to make was that God’s kingdom would invade and overtake our world, which presently is the kingdom of Satan because Adam and Eve traded obedience to God for the lies of the devil. Now, at the end of this model prayer, Jesus teaches us to remind ourselves that everything we ask is in submission to God’s perfect kingdom rule.
Now by grace, we can set aside our selfish ambitions and welcome God’s kingdom rule in our lives, but Jesus didn’t call us to sit on the sidelines and wait for that to happen. He’s called us to be his ambassadors – to represent his kingdom in this kingdom! We have an active role in bringing God’s kingdom to earth. I don’t know about you, but that seems to me to be a huge task, the weight of which I am certainly unable to bear! But Jesus teaches us to remind ourselves that the power is God’s! That’s one of the most comforting truths about being Jesus’s disciples – everything he requires of us he accomplishes through his own power! It’s just like in Luke 5:4-11. Jesus asked Peter, a professional fisherman, to push out into the water and let his net down for a catch. But Peter had been fishing all night and caught nothing. Nevertheless, Peter chose to obey Jesus, and as a result they caught so many fish that two boats nearly sank trying to haul them in! When God asks us to do something, our part is obedience, and when we obey the results are in his hands.
Finally, Jesus’s model prayer reminds us that all we do, all we say, and all we pray should have as the core purpose God’s eternal glory. In Luke 6:40, Jesus teaches that “everyone when he is fully trained will be like his teacher.” As Jesus’s disciples, we are to be learning and training to love as he loved, serve as he served, and suffer as he suffered. And remember, he did it all with a purpose: “I glorified you on earth, having accomplished the work that you gave me to do” (John 17:4). Just as Jesus’s earthly life served the purpose of giving God glory, our lives should do the same, and our prayers should reflect that purpose.
Now that we’ve completed our examination of The Lord’s Prayer, I want to break it down into an easy-to-remember acrostic that will help you pray as Jesus taught us without having to say the same words he said. After all, he didn’t say, “Pray these words.” He said, “Pray in this manner.”
Praise – Jesus began his prayer by honoring the holiness of the name of God. God is your daddy who loves you faithfully even when you are unfaithful and rebellious. He is your provider, freely giving you all good things by his grace. Spend some time praising God for who he is.
Repent – The word repent means to turn around or turn away from one thing and toward another. Jesus’s prayer reminds us to repent of the desire for our own wills to be done and our own kingdoms to be established, and instead to submit to God’s will and his kingdom.
Ask – Jesus taught us to ask for daily provision (we do not live independently from God), forgiveness for our sin and a forgiving spirit toward others, and protection from temptation, sin, and the schemes of the devil. With the Father’s glory in mind, we ask for God to meet our needs and the needs of others especially in these three areas which have eternal consequences.
Yield – It’s all about God’s kingdom, God’s power, and for God’s eternal glory. Bookending your prayers with these reminders is a great way to make sure your prayers stay focused on these and do not slip into the self-centered me-ism of praying to God like he is a genie in a bottle who exists to do your bidding.
Now, may the grace of prayer to our loving Father strengthen and sustain you as you seek his will and his glory.