The Kingdom, the Power, the Glory—Forever

kingdom-power-glory

This powerful closure to the Lord’s prayer is footnoted in many Bible translations, but too profound (and familiar) to be overlooked. Let’s again bring our prayer request to God and, by His grace, find release in this glorious closing statement. This is the ultimate bottom line.

Whatever our burden, concern, request, we acknowledge God’s kingdom as our priority.

Father, you know my thoughts and my heart and what I would like to happen. You know how I’m hurting and longing for a change in this circumstance, but right now, I elevate your kingdom above this kingdom. I want your righteous standards, your purity, your light, your methods, your thoughts to be preeminent.

I trust you as King and Ruler to do what is good—for the bigger picture, the greater good, and your eternal purposes. To that end, I lay down every inferior suggestion and imagined scenario and put my trust in you. Rule in this troubling circumstance—and also in my heart.

We dare pray like this because the power—all power—unlimited power is His. When He doesn’t respond as we wish, it’s not due to impotence or indecision. Just the opposite. He has the power to do better and more than we have asked and knows how to bring exceedingly great blessings.

Our Father, God of power, might and wisdom, you are omnipotent. “Righteousness and justice are the foundation of your throne; love and faithfulness go before you” (Psalm 89:14). I will to put my trust in you, for you are able and you do all things well.

The end result of all we pray must be God’s glory—His magnificence, beauty, splendor, brilliance, grandeur, wonder. If His glory isn’t our chief goal, what is? Our glory? We worship Him as our Father and King because He is worthy.

Father, it’s not about what would bring resolve to my loved one’s situation or blessing his or her life, but about your glory. Lord, be magnified—be magnified in the midst of this mess and in my heart and soul.

Forever. God’s kingdom will never end, His power never wane, His glory never fade. What will change is our awe as we see His kingdom more clearly, trust His power more fully, and behold His glory more openly.

I pray that this walk through the Lord’s Prayer has enabled you to profoundly trust our Father. My hope is that He has been magnified in your eyes and the heaviness of your prayer concerns has lightened.

Thank you, Jesus, for teaching us how to pray. Amen.

Lead Us, Deliver Us

7temptation-pachurch.ca

If you’ve been waiting to read what I’ll say about “lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one,” so have I. It’s easy to get mired in the theology of the request, and I did. I referenced my notes from when I spoke on the Lord’s Prayer, but finally decided to simply talk about how I pray this for myself and others and leave the studying for your personal pursuit.

This may be the easiest and most passionate appeal we pray from the Lord’s Prayer—who doesn’t want to avoid temptation? It’s also a humble acknowledgement that, even when it’s the obvious choice, we need help to escape. In the previous verse we prayed for forgiveness. Now we pray that we won’t be in the position to again fall.

When Jesus told us to pray, “Lead us not into temptation,” He knew whereof He spoke. Two chapters earlier we’re told, “Jesus was led by the Spirit into the desert to be tempted by the devil” (4:1, italics added). He knew the pain involved in resisting temptation.

“Because he himself suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted” (Hebrews 2:18). Jesus knows, He helps, and sees the perfect purpose.

God tests us to build us up. Satan tempts us to tear us down. When the tests come, Satan will appear on the scene and tempt us to despair, bitterness, fear, anger, self-pity, unforgiveness.  Lord, “deliver us from the evil one.”

How better can we pray for the situation we’ve been bringing to God as we walk through the Lord’s Prayer? It is probable that the burden we carry stems from a yielding to temptation.

Father, please don’t lead my loved one into temptation, but deliver her (him) from the evil one. Open a way of escape. You are the Faithful One, ever-present to help in the time of trouble. Help this one who is dearer to you than she is to me and open her eyes to see your deliverance.

No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it. 1 Corinthians 10:13

 

Graphic from pachurch.ca

Debt Forgiveness

6AForgiveUs

Today we’re taking our prayer request to a new level—one that is probing and deeply personal. We ask for forgiveness, for ourselves, for the ones we’re praying about, for those involved in the pain that has brought us to our knees.

I’d rather pray for bread.

“Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.”

Debts. I have debts. Plural. I owe my friend $5 when I was short for the lunch tab. I owe a reciprocal dinner. I owe others for acts of kindness too many to count and too thoughtful to match. I owe visits and emails, words of gratitude and patient listening, encouragement and caring about your story. And that’s just on this plane.

I owe God my life. I am straddled with a debt of forgiveness I can’t pay—a life I cannot purify enough to make worthy, thoughts that dwell on unhappiness more than on Him, service I’m not selfless enough to give, praise that forgets my faltering ego and exalts Him, trust that usurps my fears, worship that is not minimized by mood.

So, I inadequately come to the One who paid all these debts and more, and offer nothing as I ask Him to forgive me—again. I receive sweet mercy and astounding grace. And then I remember the qualifier—forgive as I have forgiven my debtors.

Is there someone I’m holding accountable to me? Does my attitude say you owe me? Am I waiting for reparation?

My forgiveness for others will never be as free and full as what I receive from my Father, but I can make my heart right by releasing my offenders from their debt, like I’ve been released from mine. And then I make forgiveness choices—to not rehearse the offense, to not repay the evil, to bless the offender, to live at peace, to refuse to take the offense that’s been given.

How does this apply to the situations we’ve been praying according to the Lord’s prayer?

Lord, my loved one may not be asking, but I’m asking, please forgive his (or her) sins. Bring him to the place where he will marvel over the magnitude of your forgiving grace. Cut away roots of bitterness that want to take hold. I release from debt, those who have hurt him, who have hurt me. Bring a miracle of healing that only forgiveness can release.

Graphic from vimeo.com/hunterstreet

Give. Us. Daily. Bread.

Wheat.During the past weeks we’ve prayed about a specific situation according to the petitions of the Lord’s Prayer. We asked God’s name to be honored, His rulership to reign above our desires, and His will to be done. The focus of these first three requests has been on God’s greatness: His holiness (hallowed be), sovereignty (kingdom come), and wisdom (your will be done). The next three focus on our smallness. As we bring our request to Him today, let us ask,

“Give us today our daily bread.”

This seemingly simple request is actually heavy with meaning.

Give us. These words recognize two things—the Giver and the need. In the self-sufficient place I live, I need reminders of both. I drive to one of 35 grocery stores within fifteen minutes of my home where I find a dazzling array of selections and pay for them with cash, check or credit. I empty my bags (always plural and more than I expected), pushing my purchases into already full cabinets. I confess, “Give us today our daily bread” never passed my lips.

Our request for daily bread is not determined by need but by acknowledgement. It is not our jobs, our ingenuity, our labors that supply our needs—it’s all from God, the One who gave us work, talents and strength. It’s all grace and deserves daily appreciation.

It is different when we pray for something outside our ability to provide (such as the request we’ve been praying through the Lord’s Prayer). Then it is easy to feel our need because we are powerless to change the situation. Our cry, “Give us today our daily bread” is honest. The need hurts and only God can supply the remedy.

Today. What we presently need—we’ll be back again tomorrow.

Did you ever notice God is more about process than speed? I want this burden to be gone today but God gives me grace today. I need to subdue the desire to cover it all, to solve the problem and be finished with it, and ask only for what’s needed today.

Our. Not my needs alone, ours. I own your need and share your hardship. We are in this together.

Daily. I want to be confident in God’s provision—it is always enough for the day, like manna in the wilderness.

Bread. I don’t ask for the desserts of life but for what is needful to live well. “Lord, give me what nourishes and sustains me. Satisfy me with your gifts of perfect, timely provision.”

The significance of praying for our daily bread explodes when we consider a conversation Jesus had in John 6. He said, “I am the bread of life.” I believe Living Bread is encompassed in the request for daily bread since no other petition in this prayer pattern includes spiritual or emotional needs. Both “breads” are needful daily and are supplied by a gracious Father.

Let our prayers intentionally focus on the Giver, our daily need and His daily supply.

Lord, you know what’s necessary for my loved one. You understand his (or her) needs better than I do, so I ask you to give him what he needs for today and help me to not worry about his future. And, Lord, it’s not only for his bread I pray, but for all the lives who touch his and are affected by him. Work in me, that I may care as passionately for others as I do for me and mine. Give us today our daily bread.

Lord, satisfy me today with Yourself. Let me—no—let us eat of the Bread that fills our longing souls. Give us today our daily Bread.

Previous Older Entries