Saturday, September 15, 2012

And how do we do that, pray tell?

11 And it happened that while he was in a certain place praying, when he stopped a certain one of his disciples said to him, “Lord, teach us to pray,” (Luke 11)

This, as the commentator Matthew Henry points out, is already a very good prayer.  “Lord, teach us to pray.”  What makes us different from the animals?  Even monkeys with nearly the same number of chromosomes, who dressed up could pass for some of us?  We have been given the ability to know our Creator.  And He tells us to call him…


God is our Father!  Our Father the King!  We are princes; we are princesses; we are loved!  We are family.  How can we not talk with our Father?  And lest we get too big for our britches, we remember, 17 Truly I say to you, whoever does not welcome the kingdom of God like a young child will never enter into it.” (Luke 18)  Prayer is our declaration of dependence.  We’re not full grown.  We only get the plastic play tools and we have to watch Him to learn how to use them.  19 So Jesus answered and said to them, “Truly, truly I say to you, the Son can do nothing from himself except what he sees the Father doing. For whatever that one does, these things also the Son does likewise.” (John 5)  And we do what we see the Son doing.

“may your name be treated as holy.”

 He’s still God!  Our intimacy with Him, our familiarity with Him should never slide into contempt.  Keep your feet off the coffee table.  Never forget we were adopted, bought at a price.  Yes, we are loved so much Jesus traded places with us!  Astounding!  Amazing!  But it also, very, very humbling.  We were on the chopping block; the slave block; we were caught in adultery, naked, ashamed; we deserved whips, mocking, beatings, death; no one would have to bear false witness against us!  Our own words, our own actions are enough for a guilty verdict!  The jury wouldn’t even deliberate, they’d just look at each other, nod and put out twelve thumbs down.  Our joy at being children of the most loving Father should be equally mingled with our respect and awe at His generosity, with admiration and love for His Son who took all of that for us!

“May your kingdom come.”

This is what we’re about!  We’re not working for our own kingdoms anymore.  We’re looking for His!  20 Now when he was asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, he answered them and said, “The kingdom of God does not come with things that can be observed, 21 nor will they say, ‘Behold, here it is!’ or ‘There!’ For behold, the kingdom of God is in your midst.” (Luke 17)  What is the kingdom of God?  It’s on the move (Mark 1:15), yet we can own it (Mark 10:14), yet it’s a place we enter (Matt 21:31), or does it enter us (Mark 4, Mark 10:15)?  We’re close to it when think on the commandments of God (Mark 12:28-34).  But we enter when we realize we can’t keep those commandments and fall on His mercy and He saves us, redeems us and makes us new being born of Spirit, Water and from above (John 3)!  What good news!  We are to be proclaiming it (Luke 16:16), why wouldn’t we?  Even pressing people into it (Luke 14:23)!  It is here and yet coming, it will be a glorious day for some and a day of terror for many.  Even so, Lord, come!  Make Your people ready!

“3 Give us each day our daily bread,”

Not tomorrow’s bread.  Not oil and wine.  Not artisan bread.  Just what we need for today.  If He gives us more, then He entrusted us with someone else’s daily bread.  Don’t lend, give!  Go find them.  Don’t get paid back?  No worries.  Why worry?  He is eternal and faithful and will provide bread tomorrow too.  He provided pizza?  Give thanks!  No bread?  Then go and ask your brothers and sisters, maybe God gave them your bread to give to you.  Community, trust, faithfulness, justice, charity.  So much wrapped up in Bread.  And not the least of these, Nay!  The most of these!  The Sun to their birthday candles is Jesus!  The Bread of Life! (John 6)

And forgive us our sins,

    for we ourselves also forgive everyone who is indebted to us.”

The mark of someone who knows forgiveness is sharing what they’ve been given.  If the bread thing didn’t make it plain, this should, God despises stinginess, selfishness, hoarding!  God is most interested in the heart!  True treasure is eternal!  So how can we keep salvation to ourselves, forgiveness to ourselves, love, peace, joy to ourselves!  Christ allowed himself to be slaughtered, for us, his enemies, to make us his brothers and sisters, with his dying breath, begging God to forgive us who were killing him but that guy in the office, he deserves death?  That parent who denied you love, they don’t deserve love?  You have been forgiven everything but Muslims need to be exterminated?  I’m sorry, what?  I get it, but try telling it to the bloody, beaten pulp on the cross.

“And do not lead us into temptation.”

Well, duh, right?  God doesn’t lead us into temptation.  13 No one who is being tempted should say, “I am being tempted by God,” for God cannot be tempted by evil, and he himself tempts no one. 14 But each one is tempted when he is dragged away and enticed by his own desires.”  (Jam 1)  No, 23 Yahweh is my shepherd;

I will not lack for anything.
In grassy pastures he makes me lie down;

by quiet waters he leads me.
He restores my life.

He leads me in correct paths

for the sake of his name.
Even when I walk in a dark valley, I fear no evil

because you are with me.” (Ps 23)
Literally, this is, Lead us OUT of temptation.  AWAY from.  We’re already in it, day and night, Lord, get us out!  We can’t do any of the things on this list?  Oh wretched people are we!  What are we to do?

Well, duh!  Pray!  Go on, Dad would love to hear from you.

No comments:

Post a Comment