Pray Like This
Please remember the so-called “Lord’s Prayer” is really a prayer outline Jesus taught his disciples to use as a model or pattern—or template—while praying. Jesus never intended it to be recited over and over in a meaningless and repetitious manner.
God, Your Will Be Done
What’s a workable definition of God’s will being done? God is always actively working out his plans and purposes for the ultimate good of the entire universe, for earth, for all humanity, for me, for you. God’s will is what He has planned to happen. And it will happen. It’s just that sometimes we don’t see things from God’s eternal vantage point. We are often short-sighted, whereas God is always far-sighted, working out all things for our good—according to his will—from his infinite perspective in Eternity.
The will of God for you begins in heaven, but works out in you, through you, for you, with you, and as you on earth during your lifelong journey here. There are two factors that are very basic to God’s will: 1. He always loves you. 2. He is altogether good and absolutely everything He does for you is good. When you pray for God’s will to be accomplished, it doesn’t mean giving up your personal ability to make choices. It does mean you let go of thought patterns, attitudes, and ways of living that limit you, so God can lead you in better ways.
On Earth As It Is In Heaven
Every time you pray based on this portion of the prayer Jesus taught us, you are actually praying a very radical, revolutionary prayer. You are praying that what is in heaven will come into being . . . here on earth. And that begins in you because you are made from the “dust of the earth”; earth is the substance from which our bodies are made. This portion of the “Disciples Prayer” affects you where you are and as you are. You are praying that what is going on in heaven will happen in your life—in your “earth-life”—and in the lives of those for whom you pray.
The Kingdom of God (or the Kingdom of Heaven) has not yet fully come to earth, but bits and pieces of it are here in you and in me. It will come to earth fully when King Jesus returns to earth, but for now we are earthly representatives of that heavenly Kingdom.
Actually, we are heaven’s “ambassadors” sent here to represent heaven and bring bits and pieces of it to earth by the way we live our daily lives and share Kingdom principles with others in our sphere of influence. If you are a believer in Jesus—the King of the Kingdom of God—then you represent Him here on earth in your daily life. People within your sphere of influence need to see Jesus “wrapped” in your skin, representing his Kingdom day by day. That’s how Jesus’ Church spreads around the globe; that’s how Jesus’ Kingdom spreads here on earth. That’s how his Kingdom “comes” to earth as it is in heaven.
Give Us This Day Our Daily Bread
Throughout the Bible, “bread” is symbolic of God’s overall provision for his children; it is symbolic of God meeting the needs of his children. When we pray based on this portion of the Disciples Prayer, we are asking God to meet all our legitimate needs day by day. The basic needs of all humans are for food, clothing, and shelter. Any additional needs we have are generally based on the society, culture, and times in which we live. At this point we need to recognize there are differences between our needs and our wants; sometimes they can be one and the same, but generally they are different. God promises in the Bible to supply all our needs, not our wants.
We have spiritual needs, relational needs, physical needs, financial needs, emotional needs . . . and many other types of needs in various areas of our lives. I’m glad Jesus didn’t tell us to pray, “Sell us this day our daily bread,” because we could never pay God for anything. By his birth, life, death, resurrection, and return to heaven, Jesus fully “paid” God so God can meet all our needs based on all Jesus has done for us. Through Jesus, God is our SOURCE. Everything else is just the means or instruments God uses to meet our needs. Other people are not our source; the government is not our source. God is our only SOURCE!
Jesus is teaching that God our SOURCE will meet all our needs: food, clothing, shelter, reliable transportation, money, physical wellbeing, peace, love, joy—whatever we legitimately need on a day-to-day basis.
Forgive Us Our Trespasses (Sins)
As We Forgive Those
Who Trespass (Sin) Against Us
This is a really important part of what Jesus was teaching his disciples (and us!) about prayer. If you’re interested, I invite you to read one of our teachings on our website entitled “Forgive.” If you would read that, I wouldn’t have anything more to teach about this matter in this month’s issue of The Traveler, but I know only about 1 in 10 of you will go to our website and study that teaching, so I’ll attempt to summarize that teaching by sharing a few clear, biblical references. Jesus said to his disciples, “If you don’t forgive the sins of others—letting them go and giving up your resentment—your Father won’t forgive your sins.” (Matthew 6: 15)
Later,Peter came to Jesus and asked Him, “Lord, how many times must I forgive a fellow believer if they sin against me—as many as 7 times?” Jesus answered Peter,“No, not 7 times—but 490 times!” (Matthew 18: 20, 21)
“Christians . . . forgive one another readily and freely, as God in Jesus forgave you.” (Ephesians 4: 32)
“ . . . Readily pardon one another; even as the Lord has freely forgiven you, so must you also forgive.” (Colossians 3: 13)
If you want to whine, moan, and complain that you can’t forgive . . . that no one else knows the horrible, unforgiveable things done to you . . . that what someone has done to you is beyond forgiveness . . . that even God can’t expect you to forgive that person, well, then argue with God about it, not me! God fully expects you to forgive others based on his forgiveness of you through Jesus; and, if it’s not instant forgiveness, it’s unforgiveness! If we do not readily forgive others when they sin against us, our unforgiveness leads to generalized anger in our lives that, in turn, becomes what the Bible calls a “root of bitterness.” That root of bitterness can grow inside you, choking out everything except the anger and bitterness.
Eventually, if we don’t forgive those who sin against us we simply become angry, bitter people to the point we’re consumed with the anger and bitterness, choking out just about everything good in our lives. Think about it a moment: almost everyone reading these words knows one or more people in your life who are so angry and bitter that they almost ooze such feelings out of their pores and “infect” others around them with their anger, bitterness, and negativism.
Worse yet, maybe you’re that angry, bitter, unforgiving person that people can’t stand to be around. And you wonder why you have few friends, why people avoid you, why you seem to be socially inept. God requires us to forgive others. Period! End of discussion!
Lead Us Not Into Temptation
And Deliver Us From Evil
Let me put it very bluntly: God doesn’t lead anyone into temptation. In numerous references, the Bible is very clear about that; here’s how one writer of the Bible puts this matter of temptation:
“Blessed are those who endure and ‘overcome’ when they are tempted. When they overcome whatever it is by which they’re being tempted, God will give them a crown of life. No one who is being tempted can ever say God is tempting them. God doesn’t tempt anyone. Everyone is tempted by his or her own desires as those desires lure them into sin and trap them. Then those desires become pregnant and gives birth to sin. When sin grows up, then it gives birth to death, the penalty of sin.”
Any idea why it sometimes seems God doesn’t deliver us from evil [and the evil one, Satan]? First, because we forget to ask God for his help—for Him to deliver us. Second, because we honestly don’t want to be delivered; we want to sort of play around with the evil; we want to see how far we can go without getting burned or entrapped. The old saying is true: “If we play around with fire, we’re going to get burned!” We can’t stop temptations from coming into our lives, but we can choose not to yield or give in to the temptations. It’s always a matter of choices and decisions. The Bible teaches no temptation comes into our lives that God doesn’t provide a way to resist the temptation by the inner power of the Holy Spirit residing within you in your spirit.
The Bible puts it yet another way when it states: “Resist Satan [and his temptations], and he will flee from you.” Again, it’s always a matter of choices and decisions.
For Yours is the Kingdom,
and the Power,
and the Glory
for all the Ages of Time
and in Eternity
When Jesus said these words, He was living in a remote outpost of the Roman Empire. The Roman soldiers cruelly went about harassing the people living in Israel, imposing heavy burdens and taxes on them. The Roman authorities were acting like they were going to rule forever . . . that Rome would always be the master kingdom of this world.
But Jesus looked beyond Rome . . . beyond every other kingdom that would arise on this earth . . . and He said: “God, yours is the Kingdom.” That is, Jesus was saying there is something bigger and better and more stable than Rome or any other earthly kingdom . . . and that Kingdom is ruled by God. Jesus was saying to his hearers—and to us!—You are not alone. You are surrounded by the Kingdom of God, an incomparable power that can set you free, a glory that can fill you for all the ages of time and in eternity.
He was saying, “Why settle for the temporary things of this earth when you can have the permanent Kingdom of God living inside you in God’s ‘unbodied’ form of the Holy Spirit?” Jesus was saying to them, to you, to me: “The things of this earth will dim and lose their value when we understand how temporary this life is.” Ever since I became a believer in Jesus many years ago, for some strange reason or another I began to keep a listing in my Bible next to 1 Thessalonians 4: 13 – 18; I’ll let you look up that reference for yourself. The listing contains the names of family members, friends, and acquaintances who have died since I became a believer in Jesus. As of June 2018, the listing contains 201 names of those who have died. Why do I keep such a listing? I honestly don’t know. I’ve simply been doing it for years . . . and the list keeps getting lengthier more and more quickly with each passing year. If nothing else, my strange listing is a continual reminder of just how short this life is—only the anteroom for real LIFE in God’s coming Kingdom. My listing reminds me that I can’t take into the next life anything I have received during my brief journey here, but only what I have given away!
“Stop fretting and worrying; worry is simply a misuse of your creative imagination. Instead of worrying, pray! Let praise and thanksgiving shape your worries into prayers. Let God know your requests—make them clear and definite. Then you will have God’s unspeakable peace, transcending all human understanding. That peace will surround and guard your hearts and minds through Jesus.” — Philippians 4: 7 and 8, modified
To Think About This Month
“Make unceasing, uninterrupted praying a lifelong habit as normal and natural as breathing!”
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Revised and Updated May 2019