A few months ago, I listened to Crawford Loritts give a series of sermons on the Lord’s Prayer as recorded in Matthew 6:9-13 where Jesus provides His disciples with an example about how to pray. I will not be regurgitating my notes. Nor will I be citing Crawford in this post because I am not sharing what he said. Rather, I will be recording where my mind and heart have gone since hearing Crawford’s messages. I have been unable to get the Lord’s Prayer off my mind for months now. I have meditated on it, prayed it many times over slowly and deliberately (experiencing greater meaning each time) and my imagination has been captivated.
In short, for this post, Crawford’s teaching is the springboard, and you are reading my dive into the Lord’s Prayer as the result.
OUR Father. Prayer is a communal exercise. Countless numbers of God’s children are also praying to God while I am praying. Together will fill the celestial airways with our praise and pleas. We are a unit, a body, appearing together at the throne of God each time we pray. We share this unbelievable privilege of prayer because we are members of the family of God. Imagine what it must be like for God to hear our voices together…in chorus…declaring our dependence on Him and worshipping Him simultaneously. Every time I pray, my voice joins with my brothers and sisters in Christ. I am never the only one. I come with my “family.”
Our FATHER. I happen to have enjoyed a good relationship with my earthly father, but for those who have not enjoyed a great relationship with a father, here is your chance. God is Father.
I am always to approach God as Father when I pray. In other words, I am always to approach Him as a child.
On earth, I have places of authority in places like my family and at work. Others come to me in such places, and in many cases, what I say goes.
Not so in prayer. I am never a capable adult. I am always child.
In prayer, my attitude is, “You Father. Me child.” Prayer is dependence. I am always coming to Him for His help, because I can’t; His advise, because I don’t know; His power, because I have none; His acceptance because I need it to thrive like a child does. I come to Him for everything because in this place called prayer, I am a child, and because He is Father, I know I am loved, adored, welcomed and hugged. He can’t wait to be with me and do for me what I can’t.
I have been following @NASA on Twitter and have also read Indescribable by Louie Giglio and Matt Redman. The images in both places are constant reminders of the vastness and majesty of the heavens. In Indescribable, I learned stars sing. The first “singing star” discovered was Vela Pulsar: As it rotates, a radio frequency is emitted…a sound we can heard after it travels 800 x 5,800,000,000,000 miles (Kindle Version, location 660 of 1816, 36%). The Vela is not alone. 47 Tucanae (47 Tuc), some 16, 700 light-years away, is a globular cluster containing a dense concentration of superbright stars. Among them are 23 millisecond pulsars, 16 of which we have recorded. Imagine 16 stringed instruments tuning and playing sustained notes on a massive scale (687 of 1816, 37%).
God is way up high looking down through galaxies, all humming away in orchestra, declaring His glory. Deep in the protection of such majesty I imagine our pinpoint called Earth. The pinpoint is inhabited by microscopic people in frail bodies that have no power, often get sick, and always die. Yet God gives them (us) a direct pipeline up through the galaxies and celestial orchestra that is playing and we get His ear.
WE. GET. HIS. EAR. in HEAVEN.
Hallowed be your name—
Um, yes. When I can imagine the galaxies in celestial chorus, led by our Father as the Creator and manager of all of the universe, then yes, hallowed be His name. I have had a greater awareness of Who I am talking to. Yes, He is my Father. Yes, I can tell Him anything I want, and I do. But this is also privileged access and I can’t take that causally. I am talking to God. I don’t talk to Him like He’s supposed to do what I say. I am approaching Him to find out what He says. I don’t talk to Him carelessly, but rather carefully. I make sure my heart is right, my words are accurate, my desires are worthy, and my relationship with Him reflects adoration, dependence and respect 100% of the time when praying. Even heart-wrenching crying can be done in adoration of His care for my heart, in dependence of His healing and perspective, and respectfully telling my heavenly Father that my heart hurts. After all, I am His child.
Your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven—
Wait a minute! Why do I pray? According to this, I am praying for His kingdom purposes, not mine. My kingdom…my desires…play no part in this prayer process.
So I have been pausing. I look at decisions about where my family is to live…Lord, guide us to where YOU want us to live.
In light of His kingdom, where does He want us to live? He wants us to live where PEOPLE can come to know Him through us and where we can GROW BEST in our relationship with Him. That may not be the best school district, the prettiest home, or the area with the lowest crime rate. Wow. Prayers change. I pray for His answer about the people we are to be in relationship next, and I pray for Him to place us where He gets our hearts most and He can grow us into better displays of His strength and beauty to a watching world.
Because prayer is about His kingdom. It never was about mine, and may it never be again.
Stay tuned next week for Part 2: “Give us this day our daily bread, Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors, and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.” (Matthew 6:11-13)
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