Sunday, July 28, 2013

Expand the Lord's Prayer for your situation

Jesus Prays for His Disciples - Alexandre Bida
"Jesus Prays for His Disciples" - Alexandre Bida
TODAY'S SPECIAL: Luke 11:1-23

TO CHEW ON: "So He said to them, 'When you pray say: Our Father in heaven, Hallowed be Your name. Your kingdom come. Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.'" - Luke 11:2

"This prayer is not a formula for repetition so much as it is an outline for expansion," says Jack Hayford in a sidebar article in my Bible.*

Let's separate Jesus' model prayer into its different sorts of praying and look at how we might expand what He said:

"Our Father in heaven,
Hallowed be Your name…"

To expand our worship we could:
- Praise God for who He is as portrayed by the various names He is called in the Bible.
- Recite or read praise passages and psalms back to Him.
- Sing praise songs that draw our attention to His excellence.
- Recall specific things God has done for us, then praise and thank Him for them.

"Your kingdom come.
Your will be done
On earth as it is in heaven."

Hayford explains, "Jesus' words 'Your kingdom come' are more than a suggestion to pray for a distant millennial day …. The verb, mood, and tense of 'Your kingdom come' essentially says, 'Father, let your kingdom come here and now!'"*

It shouldn't be hard for us to expand on this. All we need ask ourselves is:
- Where, to whom, in what situations are we burdened to see the kingdom of God come? People with illness, troubled relationships, money and job problems, away from the Lord, overcome by trauma of any kind will come to mind. Regions and whole countries caught in the throes of unrest and war also need our intercession.

"Give us this day our daily bread…"

Most of us, in North America at least, probably have all the bread we need and more. But this part of Jesus' prayer is an invitation to bring to Him the specifics of what we do need, whether it's physical or mental, ministry-related or personal. Do we need help in finding a new car to replace our old jalopy?  Wisdom to know how to deal with a rebellious child? Help in finding volunteers for the church nursery? Whatever it is, we can bring these specifics to God in petition.

"And forgive us our sins
For we also forgive everyone who is indebted to us."

That was easy! Not so quick. Asking for forgiveness also needs to be in specifics. As we search our consciences before God, He can bring to mind sins of commission (bad things we've done) and omission (things we should have done but didn't). By naming and confessing them, we not only empty our hearts of guilt and shame, but alert ourselves the wrongness of our actions and in this way set a guard against committing them again.

Hayford again:

"…the praying is ours to do: unless we ask for the intervention of His kingdom and obey His prayer lessons, nothing will change. All kingdom ministry begins with and is sustained by, and will triumph through prayer."*

PRAYER: Dear Jesus, help me to not only learn how to pray but to spend more time in sincere, effective, kingdom-invoking prayer as it relates to my life. Amen.

*All Hayford quotes taken from the article "Prayer and Intercession," New Spirit-Filled Life Bible, p. 1409.

The Holy Bible, New King James Version Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. - Used with permission.
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  1. Violet, this is really good. I often pray through the Lord's Prayer this way but your devo has added some dimensions I had not thought of. Thank you.

  2. Great! And I hope your day is blessed!


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