2006-09-25 - A Call for Extreme Faith
Note: I had wanted to respond to a very nice email from "Don" but I accidentally deleted the message. I apologize for that and wanted to thank you for your encouraging words.
Memorizing was a technique I used to get a passing grade in school, or to get prize points in Sunday school. I don't recall the Emily Dickinson poem I memorized for English class, but I can recite at a moment's notice, the times table and the prepositional phrases. When it came time for our Sunday school class to recite the Lord's prayer, I wasn't memorizing the words for their meaning; I just didn't want to embarrass myself by not being prepared for class. That was over 20 years ago, and yet I can still repeat the prayer from memory. Memorizing the words isn't enough. It's important to understand what I was saying. This prayer was the way Jesus suggested we pray, so I'd better pay attention, wouldn't you say? I didn't want it to become a prayer that I prayed lightly, without knowing its full impact.
"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. Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.'" Matthew 6:9-13 (NIV)
The prayer may only be four sentences long, but it is packed with elements of praise, trust, and forgiveness.
"Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name." By praising God, we acknowledge His place in our life. He is the one we respect. This doesn't signify that God has an ego, and it needs stroking. It is an honor to praise our Creator, showing Him we believe in Him as our Father, seated on His heavenly throne.
"Your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven." It's all about Him. This portion recognizes God is in control, and that we would rather have what He wants, than what we want. From a human's perspective, putting our needs second to what God wants is a very selfless prayer. It is a call for extreme faith.
"Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors." We put trust in God to take care of our daily needs, and to forgive us as we have forgiven those who have hurt us. By asking for and offering forgiveness, we don't hold anything back or hold anything against someone. This allows God to fully move on our behalf.
"And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one." God admits there will be struggles to face. So that the enemy won't have control over us, we ask that temptation not take hold.
My Lord in Heaven, Blessed is Your name. I ask that Your will be done instead of mine. Meet my daily needs, and forgive my sins as I have forgiven those who have hurt me. Don't let me fall into temptation, but deliver me from the enemy's destructive schemes. In Jesus' name I pray, Amen.