We are three weeks into a series on the topic of prayer, following the Lord’s Prayer in Matthew 6 as a guide.
We believe prayer is essential, and yet for so many of us when it comes down to it, we often find ourselves floundering, distracted, or not sure what to say in prayer.
Our homework for this series has been to spend 20 minutes a day, every day of the week, meditating on one line of the Lord’s prayer as it pertains to Sunday’s message. That is no small commitment! To help out, here is a brief outline of some of the points and resources we have covered so far. Working through these points will easily occupy over 20 minutes, so take it slow, one day at a time.
Perspective: “Our Father, in Heaven.”
- Ponder: God is in Heaven, I am not. He sees the whole picture, my view is limited.
- Question: Would I even be praying for what I came to pray for if I could see from God’s perspective?
- Acknowledge: “Lord, I come to you as a child. You see all. I am powerless to truly control the outcome of my life, and so I surrender my helplessness over to you.”
- Think: Our FATHER. Who are we surrendering to?
- The one who has claimed and redeemed us out of the darkness and into His marvelous light.
- The one who has adopted us into sonship as heirs with Christ – our inheritance is more wonderful than we would ever dare hope.
- The one who has removed the veil and purchased access for us to come into His presence with confidence. He desires us to draw near.
- OUR Father
- Remember: My prayers are not simply about me. I’m part of something bigger. What I do and what I long for effects more than just myself.
- Be assured: I am not alone. I am included. I have a standing and a place among the people of God. I have a family, the community of the redeemed. I am not inferior nor superior in God’s family. I am welcomed.
- Takeaway: The goal of prayer, while not excluding our requests, nor being indifferent to our circumstances, is ultimately and finally to know God more. To get ourselves out of the way, and find HIM.
Praise: “Hallowed Be Your Name.”
- Meditate: What does it mean to Hallow something?
- Consider: There is always something in the hallowed place(s) of our lives. These are the things we praise and ultimately conform our lives around.
- Dig deep: Spend some time taking a good look at your own life. What are the hallowed things in your life that need to be demoted?
- Consider: Our praise is a response, not something we initiate. Jesus isn’t requiring some hollow, mechanical formula for prayer. Praise is the completion of the experience of joy. A natural response to something great.
- Reflect: Read Exodus 19:4-6. Though the whole earth belongs to Yahweh, His people are his MOST TREASURED (hallowed) Possession.
- Implication: To hallow anything as more valuable than God is to make myself subservient to something less valuable than myself, and is, therefore, to demote myself, or diminish my own value and self-worth.
- Prayer is the key to knowing oneself.
- Result: I see the world through the proper perspective and grow in WISDOM.
- Meditate on what God has done to claim you as his most treasured possession.
- Discern what occupies the most hallowed places of your life, and demote those things… This might mean taking some extreme action – unplugging the TV, fasting, cutting off an unhealthy relationship, etc.
- Read Exodus 34:6-7. These are the attributes of God’s NAME. Spend some time reflecting upon these descriptors and your own understanding of who God is.
- Praise. Spend some time praising with your lips, worshiping in song… Some external expression of praise to God.
Longing: “Your Kingdom Come.”
- Read the Sabbath commandments in Exodus 20, and Deuteronomy 5. If the Sabbath ordinance is meant to create a paradigm for God’s coming Kingdom, then what traits characterize that Kingdom?
- (My personal description is “Resting in God’s Rule, resulting in Release”)
- Recall: Read Exodus 19:4-6 again.
- What kind of Kingdom does God want to build?
- What is a priest?
- Read Revelation 5:10. What is God’s goal for His people?
- Consider: During Jesus’ ministry, he released people of both sins and physical ailments. Many of those ailments are recorded in Leviticus as disqualifying a person from being able to represent God as a priest.
- What is Jesus doing?
- What kind of people is He “qualifying” to rule in His priestly Kingdom?
- Read Luke 6:20-26 as a contrast of the value systems of the worldly kingdoms vs. the Kingdom of God.
- Money/comfort vs. poor in spirit
- Appetites/lusts vs. hunger
- Laughing (gloating) vs. Those who weep.
- Recognition/celebrity vs. Rejection & exclusion.
- What is the point? To get people to pursue weeping and misery, or to Release people from the tyranny of the world’s value systems?
- Read Colossians 2:15. How does the cross make a public spectacle of the powers and authorities (and their kingdoms/values)?
- Pray, “Your Kingdom Come…”
- A declaration: The Kingdom has come, inaugurated in Jesus.
- A Rebellion: The Kingdom is advancing, meaning we must pray for the spiritual demise or submission of the kingdoms of this world and the spiritual rulers/authorities/counter-kingdoms.
- A Longing: The Kingdom will come, in all its fullness, when Christ returns.
We hope this helps in your devotional prayer time. See you Sunday!