Posted by: pastortomvabeach | January 10, 2012

Thought for the Week January 15, 2012

In the last segment we discussed the first two movements or patterns that Jesus gave us in “The Lord’s Prayer.” They are the upward move of reverence which is demonstrated by “Our Father, in heaven, hallowed by your Name.” This puts us in the proper frame of reference when we pray, recognizing God’s unquestioned greatness and giving Him the worship He is due. The second movement is downward, a move of response, where we reply to God’s greatness out of our humanity. The only proper reply is, “You are the King, we are ready to obey,” which is what Jesus was indicating by, “Your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.”

Again, remember the prayer He gave was more a pattern for how we should pray than a rote memorized prayer that we should copy. Thus the pattern is reverence (worship) and response (obedience) before asking for anything. Have you tried to practice these movements this week? If so, did it make any difference in the way your prayer time worked?

So the next movement is the inward movement of requests, or quite simply, bringing our needs and the needs of others to the Lord for His help. There are two distinct types of needs that Jesus recommended we pray for. First, our basic human needs, “Give us this day our daily bread.” If you recall, the Lord mentioned in another place that God cares about everything we need. Jesus said that He clothes the flowers and feeds the birds and that if He does that, He certainly cares about this aspect of our needs. Jesus also sent His disciples to pray for very real physical needs like healing of sickness and said we could do the same. I don’t think we should hold back from telling the Lord what we need. This reminds us how much we depend on Him.

The other need Jesus indicates here is our spiritual need, “Forgive us our trespasses (sins) as we forgive those who trespass against us.” This is much more vital than our physical need. We need to keep short accounts with the Lord. It is reasonable, every time we pray to let the Holy Spirit examine us and if we’ve missed the mark somewhere, to tell the Lord and receive His forgiveness and cleansing.

The other side of that coin is as important. We really need to keep short accounts with those who hurt or offend us. I think this might be an area we overlook more than is good for us. Unforgiveness is harmful to our relationship with the Lord and our relationship with others. We think holding on to hurt in some way affects the one who hurt us, but in reality it only hurts us more. What would happen if every follower of Christ, emptied their hearts of hurts every time they prayed? Shouldn’t we give to others what we want the Lord to give to us – forgiveness?

The next movement, Rev. Henderson calls outward or readiness. This comes when we have spent time in the Lord’s presence and are ready to go back out and face the world. Jesus said it this way, “Lead us not into temptation and deliver us from evil.” It’s the idea that we know what the world, flesh, and devil want to do with us and we recognize our best defense is to have the Lord on our side on the offensive. It may involve looking at my schedule for the day, trying to recognize opportunities to slip, and getting the Lord’s power working in advance. It may involve asking for help with areas of my life where I know I’m weak. Whatever, it surely helps to put this request before the Lord in advance of actual battle. He may give me a battle plan!

Well, that is the 4 by 4 movement of prayer (Rev. Dan Henderson’s description) which is modeled by “The Lord’s Prayer.” It’s something easy to understand and even easier to follow as a pattern when I get ready to talk with the Lord. The last step is to go back upward and end our prayer time the way we began, “For yours in the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever. Amen” I don’t know about you but I can get stuck in the reverence and worship part and never leave it. I really don’t think there is anything wrong with that.

Now that we’ve covered this pattern, let me remind you the whole reason behind this is to find ways to help each of us to be more consistent in the “training exercise” of prayer. I think this pattern will work. It helps me. Will you try this pattern for a while and see if it helps you to spend time in prayer and even to look forward to those times? If this doesn’t appeal to you, do you have another pattern or plan that works? The idea is that in spending more time with the Lord, conversing with Him, we will become more Christ-like. You do want that, right? Just a thought.


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