How You Can Live the Lord's Prayer
- Wednesday, May 21, 2008
Your kingdom come: Participate in God’s kingdom rather than retreating into your own. Invite God not to partner with your life, but to come and rule your life. Let go of your own agenda and pursue God’s plans for you, trusting that the One who created you knows what’s best for you. Surrender your values to embrace God’s values, submit your will to His, and cede your ambition in favor of God’s purposes. Ask God to humble you so you can know Him better. Realize that you can’t build your private empire and God’s eternal kingdom at the same time. So hold loosely to your own achievements and allegiances. Remember that you don’t work for yourself or by yourself; you serve God as He works through you.
Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven: Seek to do God’s will rather than your own will when you make decisions every day. Ask God to transform your willfulness into willingness. Remember that God wants what’s best for you. Tell Him that you want what He wants, and receive what He gives. Don’t worry about trying to discover the details of the future God has planned for you. Entrust all the details to God and simply make a habit of following where God leads you every day. Discard your fantasies of perfect people and situations, and, instead, direct your energy to loving the people you actually know and working out the real situations you encounter. Affirm your desire for God’s purposes instead of just your own fantasies. Don’t be so preoccupied with your plans for the future that you don’t notice God with you in each present moment. As you live in His presence, you live in His will. As you have the courage to pray for God’s will to be done, your prayer will help you develop a purity of heart that will transform you into the person God wants you to become. If you’re willing to undergo anything to know God more, your passion will lead to wonderful work that God will do in you, through you, and with you.
Give us this day our daily bread: Learning how to depend on God’s unlimited power rather than your own limited efforts will draw you closer to Him. Recognize that the spiritual and the physical are inseparably connected, so everything you do in the physical realm relates to the spiritual realm. Whenever you have a physical need, it relates to a spiritual need in some way. No matter what problems you’re facing – from a broken relationship to financial troubles – you’ll find better solutions if you pray than if you if you try to tackle them on your own. Every kind of activity you do can be a spiritual act of service to the Lord – not just studying your Bible or going to church, but helping a neighbor with yard work or visiting someone in the hospital. Whenever you misuse your physical body (such as through sexual immorality), you experience spiritual consequences. You can always count on God to provide what you need, both physically and spiritually. But you need to develop a habit of depending on Him every day, rather than trying to make things happen for yourself on your own. Give up your attempts to live a self-sufficient and comfortable life, and thank God that He provides all you need – even the next breath you take. Simplify your demands and expectations, focusing on your true needs rather than extravagant desires. When you present your requests to God, ask for what you need, and be willing to share with others to become part of the answer to their prayers for what they need.
Forgive us our debts as we also have forgiven our debtors: Nurture a culture of grace in your life by following God’s call to forgive the people who hurt you. Choose to forgive, despite your feelings, and trust that God will help you to do so. Remember that forgiving doesn’t mean condoning something wrong or forgetting it. It simply means releasing it. In the process, you’ll experience freedom from bitterness that can poison your soul. Forgiveness will restore your soul and allow you to move on. Remember how much God has forgiven you, and let your gratitude motivate you to obey His command to forgive others. Keep in mind that grace is the opposite of what you deserve: You deserve punishment, but God has given you blessing; You deserve judgment, but God has adopted you; You deserve alienation, but God has welcomed you. Since you’ve accepted God’s grace yourself, you need to extend that same grace to others. But don’t take advantage of God’s grace, but confessing your sin in a casual manner or repenting in a flippant way. Take your sin seriously, and express gratitude to God often for His forgiveness. Give God your love and respect, and freely offer to others that grace that He gives you.
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