Summary: An 8 week series examining the Lord's Prayer
Bent into Shape – His Provision
Being it’s Mother’s Day let’s begin this AM w/ a few things that come from the mouths of our children:
After sitting in big church one Sunday AM, little Johnny sobbed all the way home. Frustrated she couldn’t console her son, his mom asked 3x’s what’s wrong. LJ finally replied, “The pastor said he wanted all of us to be brought up in a Christian home, but I want to stay w/ you and dad!”
Dear God, I bet it’s hard for you to love all the people in the world. There are only 4 people in my family and sometimes I find it hard to even like them. Sally
Dear God, thank you for my baby brother, but what I really wanted was a pony! Maybe next time! Bruce
To stay in sync w/ our series – 3 yr. old Reese prayed – Our Father who does art in heaven HOWARD be thy name…
If you’re just joining us – we’re in a series on the Disciple’s Prayer (Lord’s Prayer) seeking to understand what Jesus was teaching His followers (and us) about how to commune w/ God. So when Jesus offered this prayer He was inviting His disciples into intimate, face-to-face conversation w/ God.
pray (proseuchomai) pro = facing toward – refers to one who seeks God’s face. euchomai = to utter aloud. Meaning prayer is a personal, face-to-face encounter w/ God.
Jesus was teaching His disciples the pattern for prayer and not a substitute that we might get face-to-face and bent into shape w/ Him.
This, then, is how you should pray: Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.
Up to this point, Jesus was teaching us that the absolute focal point of prayer is the name/glory of God and the fulfillment of His Kingdom coming. This emphasis was to remind us that prayer begins w/ God, continues w/ God, and ultimately ends w/ God. WHY? B/c prayer is always about God and never about us – we’re just the recipients of gracious favor.
Explain – if we have a need and God meets that need according to His riches in glory – who’s glorified? Him or us? He is. But we’re the beneficiaries of His favor. If we seek His direction/protection and receive it – we might be the benefactors of His generosity, but He gets the credit.
Prayer is never about what we can get from God but about what God can reveal about Himself to us – and He wants us to see Him for who He is and experience His will for our lives. So when God doesn’t answer a prayer in the manner we desire, b/c it might bring harm to our lives – it reveals His love for us. When we seek something outside of His will and He doesn’t allow it, it reveals His patient kindness/grace b/c He’s protecting us from ourselves – showing us that He’s a good, good Father to us.
Even when He allows us to experience challenges, heartache, difficulty, He’s bringing us into alignment and dependence on Him b/c He knows our need to grow and to be strengthened is essential to our success in life so our lives might bring glory to Him.
In light of this, Jesus told us to pray – Give us this day our daily bread (Matthew 6:11).
In praying in this manner, Jesus is inviting us to petition Him for His provision. He’s inviting us into daily personal interaction and dependence. But what are we praying?
We are ADMITTING Our Need/Dependence on God
The first thing it means is we’re admitting to God our need for Him and His provision in our lives – and we’re accepting our dependence. This is a prayer of humility/submission.
If we were all being honest, I think we’d admit how scary it is that we can so quickly convince ourselves of our ability to sustain ourselves independently of God. It’s terrifying how we can live as if God doesn’t exist – or at least in a manner that proclaims we can handle life on our own.
In praying give us this day our daily bread, we’re confessing to God that we can’t do it w/out Him. We’re confessing that w/out His provision/guidance we’d all be helpless, hopeless, and hapless. But do we really believe this?
By the looks of our culture/tenor of our conversation the answer is NO – we don’t believe it. We believe we can handle anything everything life throws at us through our own abilities/ingenuity. This is the nature of the flesh – I can do this w/out God!