If you have ever attended any kind of religious event, you mostly likely have heard the Lords Prayer and even recited along with everyone. Have you ever heard a song on the radio that you absolutely loved but then it was overplayed and now when the song comes on you cringe and switch the station as quickly as possible? Does it make it a bad song? No! Its just overplayed and you don't find the value in it like you used to. That is how I feel about the Lord's Prayer. Yea I said it! Jesus knows my heart..... don't get your religious panties in a bunch. Just keep reading......
Come on, lets take a look at it for a moment in
Matthew 6:9-13 -
"Pray, therefore, like this: 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, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one. For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen."
This is just a side note but if you read the scripture a little bit before this prayer Jesus says in verse 7(NKJV) - "But when you pray, do not use vain repetitions as the heathen do. For they think that they will be heard for their many words."
What is the irony in that? The Lords Prayer is probably one of the most repeated prayers ever prayed. Please, please, please don't take this the wrong way. If you pray this prayer daily and it ministers to you, then keep doing it but I really do believe Jesus wanted us to use it as a model and not a religious act because it sounds good.
I can personally say this and can't say it for anyone else but growing up in a Christian home I found that when you become familiar with certain scriptures, they can lose their power. The word of God hasn't lost its power in and of itself but I have found that i have heard the Lord's Prayer so much that it's like a nagging parent who you tune out. I wasn't hearing it the way I should have, because if I did, I would have realized the example Jesus was really trying to show when He gave us this prayer.
Its like when Paul said in Hebrews 5:11(AMP) - "Concerning this we have much to say which is hard to explain, since you have become dull in your (spiritual) hearing and sluggish (even slothful in achieving spiritual insight)."
We need our spiritual senses to be awakened in order to receive anything by faith and we need our spiritual ears to be open in order to receive anything from the Lord.
Romans 10:17 says, "So Faith comes by hearing and hearing the word of Christ." When we hear the good news of what Jesus did for us, faith rises in our hearts.
I think some of us could say that we have become numb or never even known in the first place what the Lord's Prayer is and why we need to know it.
Lets break down this model prayer Jesus gave us.
"Pray, therefore, like this: (REMEMBER THE WORD "LIKE". ILL EXPLAIN AT THE VERY END)
"Our Father Who is in heaven, hallowed be Your name"
In short it means God is holy and so is His name. Personally I see it as coming before Him humbly saying, "You are God, I am not." At least I hope you know that you aren't God. There have been some wackos out there that thought they were. YIKES!
What a great starting point and posture to begin prayer!
"Your Kingdom come, Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven"
Did you know God's Kingdom is full of good news? Right now we are surrounded with a ton of bad news, natural disasters, racial divide and so on and it's because we unfortunately live in a fallen world but the Kingdom of God is perfect. One day His Kingdom will come and His ultimate will is going to be done when He returns for His bride (If you know Christ, that is you!) It will be a brand new earth. Literally heaven on earth! How exciting!
But what if you need heaven on earth right now in your situation? You can pull from His Kingdom in your life right now in whatever situation you may find yourself in. The Kingdom of God is righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. You can experience this right now if you ask Him. How? Through Jesus Christ, our Savior, Redeemer, Healer, Deliverer, Prince of Peace and much much more. This part of prayer is where an exchange happens from the spiritual world into the physical. You may not always see it right away but just keep believing. Remember also that your prayer may not be answered in the way you thought but that's where the part of "your will be done" fits perfectly.
Gods will for us isn't always what we think it should be but He really knows best because He is a good Father. A good father sees danger ahead and if we listen to the warnings we will be saved but if we run over His voice and keep doing our own thing (our own will) we will run into a lot of unnecessary trouble that could be avoided.
I personally have a super strong will and this part has always been a challenge for me but I promise if you exchange your will for God's, it will always benefit you. It doesn't always feel good at first but it definitely yields the best outcomes. Take it from this stubborn lady!
"Give us this day our daily bread"
Bread?! Did someone say bread?! I love bread. Sorry got sidetracked and hungry.
Bread represents the provision of God. God is a provider and he wants us to come to him daily. You don't have to hoard what He gives you because He is our daily bread, our daily provision. This isn't just pertaining to finances, which it very well can be, but it's many things; peace of mind, joy, comfort, love, hope, mercy, grace, rest and much more. You fill in the blank. I like that God is our daily bread, you know why? Because it keeps us coming back to Him everyday. He loves to be wanted and needed because He wants our fellowship. He wants a relationship with you and me daily.
"And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors."
Did you know that in order for God to forgive us, we must forgive others first? In fact if you read down further in Matthew 6:14 Jesus says, For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.
Thats a biggie! Forgiveness has been one area that God has had to help me in tremendously. Oddly enough I didn't think I needed help in this area at all because I am the type of person that most would consider to be a walking door mat and a turn the other cheek kind of gal. I came to find out the hard way that forgiveness starts with a decision but it doesn't end there. If you don't let it sink into your heart where your mind, will and emotions all line up, it's not true forgiveness. Ouch that stings a little!
I have known people who wear their unforgiveness on their sleeve. The ones who say outright, " I will never forgive them!" or "I will never let them live this down."The ones that hold major grudges for years and won't even look or speak to that person that offended them. I always thought, "Man they need Jesus!" all the while I had unforgiveness deep deep down in my heart and I didn't even know it until God revealed it to me in prayer. Wow! What a pride crusher that was.
I believe if you have the personality type that doesn't like conflict or confrontation it may be harder to know if you are dealing with unforgiveness or not. Sometimes you just want the situation to go away, so you take the blame because you don't want that person to reject you. All the while, deep down, you still have ought in your heart for them. I believe the Holy Spirit is a great revealer. Just ask the Holy Spirit to reveal any unforgiveness in your heart and to help you to let it go.
Here is what I DON"T believe about forgiveness...
You have to trust that person who hurt you again in order to forgive.
The party/parties involved have to always be present in order for forgiveness to take place. (Even though that may happen)
It happens overnight.
That you have to try and forget what they did. (I would advise not to rehearse it in your head because it will stir those emotions up)
It excuses wrong doings.
Here is what I DO believe about forgiveness......
It's a very personal thing between you and God.
It unlocks bitterness in your heart and frees you from negative emotions.
It opens the door for your prayers to be heard and answered.
It opens the door for joy to come into your life.
And much more....
I even feel that some of you need to forgive yourself. You have not given yourself grace to make mistakes and God doesn't hold you in contempt, why should you? If you feel you have done something wrong tell God your sorry and know that as soon as you made the mistake He was right behind you with a redemptive plan. You may even think you've committed the unpardonable sin but there is nothing you can do that can separate you from the love of God. His love is tracking you down whether you feel or not. He is a Sovereign God and knew it was going to happen before it happened and He still sent His Son to die for your sins and all of your wrong decisions. That's how good He is. Now go on, forgive yourself and let God love on you and wipe away those tears.
Ok lets move on.....
"And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one"
Think of taking your child to the grocery. Some of you just got super anxious at the thought of it. When you go, Im sure most of you will do everything you can to avoid the candy aisle because children are easily tempted by those sugary devilish sweets. You lead that child away from temptation because you know that your child is not strong enough to resist the temptation. Some of you parents may not be able to resist those sugary sweets either. Maybe you need to pray this line before you even walk into the grocery.
Thats what God does for us. He is not the temptor, the evil one is. God knows how to lead us away from temptation and deliver us from the hand of the enemy. Prevention is always better when dealing with temptation. God makes a way for escape when we are tempted in whatever area of our life but I believe we should always avoid it as much as possible until we have conquered those areas that so easily catch us up. Gods a great leader. Try following His way first and fight those temptations because they always lead us to destruction.
"For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever."
We end where we started, recognizing He is God and we are not. We can leave all we have prayed for with Him and He will take care of it. Everything we have is His and it all belongs to Him. God is good at taking care of His belongings. Isn't that so reassuring?
DONE! Amen says that we are in agreement with God. Signed, sealed, delivered.... IM YOURS GOD!
To close this blog I'm going to start back at the beginning.
Jesus said, "Pray, therefore, LIKE this." He was modeling an outline for us. He didn't say pray this over and over again. It was an example to be followed. He wants us to pray from our hearts and not just recite it because that's what religious people have done for centuries. God is about relationship and prayer is simply communication with Him. He wants you to talk to Him just like you would your parents, best friend or spouse. He doesn't want you to pray out of obligation or ritual. Just start somewhere and I guarantee once you begin to talk with Him daily your dialogue will increase. Just like any relationship, the more you invest, the more you get out of it. That's even more true with our loving God.
I love you all and thank you for taking the time to read this. I hope it blesses you and if you feel led to do so, share it with a friend.
-Dale Ann Ross
"Changing our world, one blog at a time"