Monday, February 23, 2015

100 Days on Jesus’ Sermon Mount (Day 44)

Jesus said, “This, then, is how you are to pray:
Our Father, who is in the heavens,
may your Name be held in reverence;
may your kingdom come;
may your wishes come about on earth,
just as they do in heaven.
Give us this day the food we need to live on.
And forgive us the debts we owe,
just as we also forgive the debts others owe us.
And don’t bring us into testing,
but rather rescue us from the Evil One.
— Matthew 6:9-13 (USC)
What do we make of this; our Lord’s prayer?
Of this prayer is our personal relationship with God, the world, and all things. It’s a prayer we can pray privately and publically. It’s so readily recognised everywhere, even with those who were never taught to pray it.
Not only is it our privilege to pray this prayer, it’s also our safety, comfort, and assurance. No other prayer quite has the same endorsement as this one; the Lord’s endorsement.
If we will commit to not only praying this prayer, but meditating over it, as God’s living Word that may penetrate us viscerally – dividing our spiritual bone from marrow – the Lord, himself, will speak through it to us.
When we take this prayer into our inner selves, contemplatively, God changes us from the inside out. Our hearts are challenged almost, as it were, unconsciously. Our minds are infiltrated by the same mechanism as the subliminal messages of the world. By this prayer, it’s not the world that attacks – it’s the Lord’s counter attack on the world’s influence that might otherwise distract us from the Kingdom agenda in our lives.
As we focus on what God wants for us and from us, through prayer, we are made new without any legalistic effort on our parts.
The more we muse on the earth becoming a place for the manifestation of heaven the more we are ready to do the little we can to make it so.
When we are oriented toward God’s nutritional provision – among all other types of ‘bread’ – we become more attuned to the needs of others in our world. We are also more likely to appreciate the food we have access to and to waste less of it.
Our relationships ought to bear fruit, but they can only do this when we are giving as much, if not more, than we are in receiving from them. The obligation of forgiveness is prime.
The more time we spend with God focused on spiritual warfare – God’s protection from testing – the more awakened are we as to its potential presence and the more equipped we are in calling it down.
The Lord’s Prayer teaches us much about Jesus’ priorities for prayer: Hallow the Father’s name. Seek God’s will. Build God’s Kingdom. Entreat God’s provision. Enjoy and employ God’s forgiveness. Shelter in God’s protection.
1.     What is your Lord teaching you about prayer in this current season?
2.     Have you ever thought of meditating prayerfully on the Lord’s Prayer? (To meditate is simply to reflect on.)
© 2015 S. J. Wickham.
Note: USC version is Under the Southern Cross, The New Testament in Australian English (2014). This translation was painstakingly developed by Dr. Richard Moore, a NT Greek scholar, over nearly thirty years.

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