May 16, 2012

Crying Out Quietly: The Model Prayer [The Model Series, Part 1 of 3]

Matthew 6:9-13
"After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.  Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen."

When I was a kid, I used to love working on model planes. I'd save up the money I had earned from collecting soda pop bottles (back in the day when you redeemed them for a nickel each) and picking pecans from the pecan trees around southside San Antonio (In Texas, the pecan is king). Anyway, I loved everything about working with model planes - the small plastic parts & pilot and their tiny details; the decals; the paint as it went over the fuselage and wings; the hobby knife. Ah! Those were the simple days of childhood...

And yet, even as a little boy, I knew that what I held in my hand was just a model plane. It was a replica, a miniature representation (1:38 scale to be exact),  and nothing more. If I wanted to fly, there was no way that the Revel model plane was going to take me anywhere. If I wanted to know what it was like to fly, I'd have to get in a real plane and find out first hand.

The point I'm trying to make is that the model prayer works pretty much the same way. Your prayer life will go nowhere if you rely on the replica. In order for your communication to be real with God, you must communicate. What a novel concept.

When Christ taught it to His disciples, He made it clear that it was after a certain "manner". If you read a couple of earlier verses, Christ warns them - "But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking. Be not ye therefore like unto them:" (vv. 7-8a)

Here's my rough outline of the prayer. See if it makes sense and, more importantly, works for you:

"Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name."

This is an act of worship of who God is and where He is; that is, He's in heaven and He's holy. Confer Isa. 6:1-3; Rev. 4:1-9; Ps. 97:1-6

"Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven."

In order for God's will be done that means your will must be gone. God doesn't need a co-pilot telling Him how to fly the plane! All you have to do is trust and obey God. Confer Jer. 29:11; Ps. 32:8; Prv.3:5-6; Prv. 16:9; Phil. 2:13

"Give us this day our daily bread."

Don't ask for more than you need or want. Just for the day. That's it. Tomorrow's not promised. Confer Jms. 4:13-16; Matt. 6:34; Exo. 16:1-5

"And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors."

This one's pretty straight forward in prescription, but difficult at times in commission, right? Forgive those who've offended you and seek peace with those you've offended, Christian. Confer Matt. 5:22-24, 6:14-15; Col. 1:13-14

"And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil:"

The idea behind this verse is a petition to God that He make a way out of the testing, trial, etc. Please confer I Cor. 10:13; Matt. 26:41. A quick rejoinder: God doesn't tempt you to do evil! Check out Jms. 1:13-16. So, stop blaming Him for your own messes!

"For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever."

This is adoration in that you acknowledge that God is Possessor of everything, of power and of glory. Who is this King of Glory? I'll tell you who! Jesus Christ is the KING of GLORY!!! (Ps. 24)

Amen. Indeed, amen and amen!

Being raised as a Roman Catholic, I thought that prayer was rote and a rite. On one count I was right (sorry, no pun intended). "I thought", but realized I was wrong. Prayer is personal communication with God, intimate and private. Doesn't it bug you to get automated calls that solicit low credit card rates or one day blowout sales on purses or the robo-call from your local politician? It's so...impersonal. Guess what? That's how you probably sound like to God if your prayer life is just a script of words. You might as well be using a tele-prompter. Without a personal invitation for Christ to listen to your needs, worries, fears, failures, victories, etc., you're left with a dial tone prayer life.

Talking to God is a privilege. Don't take it for granted. It's the most powerful weapon you'll ever use in your Christian walk (Eph. 6:10-18).

And, if you don't know Jesus Christ as your Lord & personal Saviour, friend, you don't know what you're missing! It's Not Too Late to Start A Relationship With Jesus!

I come to the garden alone,
While the dew is still on the roses,
And the voice I hear falling on my ear
The Son of God discloses.
And He walks with me, and He talks with me,
And He tells me I am His own;
And the joy we share as we tarry there,
None other has ever known.

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