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.

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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.

The Best Known Prayer

The Lords prayer

The Lord’s Prayer is familiar even to those who don’t know “our Father in heaven.” For many, it is a prayer to recite during a religious service, funeral, or moment of piety. But Jesus did not give us this prayer as a formal recitation.

The prayer can be viewed it as a menu of topics about which to pray, but it’s  more than that. It’s a pattern.

Jesus gave us a pattern for personal conversation with God and provides us with an outline for each concern we bring to Him. When I apply it, every aspect of the need I’m presenting is covered, even those I hadn’t considered.

As we talk about the parts of the Lord’s Prayer in upcoming posts, I invite you to choose one personal prayer concern and apply Jesus’ pattern to your specific request. I believe you will experience sweet peace.

Our Father

Sometimes I get no further than simply saying, “Our Father.” When my heart is heavy with concern for a loved one, I utter those words and peace invades. It’s not an attempt to convince my Father to listen and intervene, but a confession of faith. He is our Father—mine and the one I am praying for. When I speak those words, I’m acknowledging that God cares more than I do because He is their Father and I’m releasing the one I love to the One who loves greater.

Suddenly the complications that bewildered me, come to rest. My heart stills because my Father, our Father, has it covered. Those two words remind me that He’s in the picture, He’s present, He’s omnipresent.

Our Father is everything we could want an earthly father to be and more. He loves perfectly, provides lavishly, listens patiently. He shows mercy, kindness and grace without reservation. He understands our weaknesses and knows what’s needed to strengthen us.

His Father’s heart responds to me, His child, talking to Him about the needs of another beloved child.

Today, let the words “Our Father” bring peace to your heart as you speak them on behalf of your loved one, your troubling situation, your concerns.