Saturday, March 01, 2008

Back to School... Part 7

As we've followed along With Christ in the School of Prayer, we've seen that God's will and purpose is to be our first priority - actually, it is our only priority because of the great truths that if God is our Father, He knows, cares and meets our needs and that we have reason to have full assurance and confidence in this because of His character and His promise. And our real need is consistent with God's will and purpose... to bring Glory and Honor to Him.

As we grow to see our lives as instruments in bringing glory to God, as a result of God's working in us, how can we not trust Him more? How can we not see more and more clearly our circumstances in light of God's plan rather than merely from the perspective of our comfort?

If you are truly God's child, do you judge your circumstances as "fair or unfair"? Do you evaluate them by how comfortable you are? Or do you look at life asking how you can, this day, bring glory to God regardless of your circumstance?

If God has you in a place that feels painful now, is He in control - or is He constrained by you and your actions? So many who name the name of Christ seem to think that they are in control of God - that while "He longs" to bless us, He can't do so without our cooperation. But that isn't the God of the Bible! He wills it, and He brings it to pass. And ALL THINGS work together for good for those who love God and are called according to His purpose.

Today, we finish this lesson by looking at our final need: Protection from the evil one. And like the other petitions in this model prayer, it's all about God. Its from Him and for Him. No wonder this prayer ends with the profound truth and declaration that ALL control (the Kingdom), ALL AUTHORITY (the Power) and ALL CREDIT (the Glory) belong to God and Him alone.

Here are my final questions from this little lesson (and be careful how quickly you answer!):
  • When you pray, who is your focus - is it you, or is it God?
  • What is the desired outcome or goal of your prayer - is it a change in your circumstance or is it God's Glory?
  • What is your view of God - is it that He is your Father, and you can not only trust Him but subordinate your will to His... or does God need to be convinced (or even manipulated) into obeying you?
  • In the difficult circumstances of life, do you see God as your loving Father - no matter how things go for you - and the Sovereign Lord of the Universe who is trustworthy? Or do you see God as a really nice - but functionally impotent "semi-deity" who is hindered by your will and action?
Remember, we are "with Christ" in the school of prayer... when we remember His example, we see the focus on God's priority - and the confidence in God's provision. And when we remember His promised presence, we can take courage to pray in this manner which is - as we really consider it - so unlike us!

"‘And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.’

Our daily bread, the pardon of our sins, and then our being kept from all sin and the power of the evil one, in these three petitions all our personal need is comprehended.

The prayer for bread and pardon must be accompanied by the surrender to live in all things in holy obedience to the Father’s will, and the believing prayer in everything to be kept by the power of the indwelling Spirit from the power of the evil one.

Children of God!
it is thus Jesus would have us to pray to the Father in heaven. O let His Name, and Kingdom, and Will, have the first place in our love; His providing, and pardoning, and keeping love will be our sure portion. So the prayer will lead us up to the true child-life: the Father all to the child, the Father all for the child.

We shall understand how Father and child,
the Thine and the Our, are all one, and how the heart that begins its prayer with the God-devoted THINE, will have the power in faith to speak out the OUR too.

Such prayer will, indeed, be the fellowship and interchange of love, always bringing us back in trust and worship to Him who is not only the Beginning but the End: ‘FOR THINE IS THE KINGDOM, AND THE POWER, AND THE GLORY, FOR EVER, AMEN.’ Son of the Father, teach us to pray, ‘OUR FATHER.’ ‘LORD, TEACH US TO PRAY.’"

1 comment:

jazzycat said...

We are starting a Sunday School class on prayer. I am always convicted of my not going to the Lord in prayer near as much as I should.....