From Praying the Names of God Week Twenty-Six, Day Four
Though the Old Testament provides many rich names and titles for God, the New Testament reveals him most fully. Jesus, in fact, shocked and offended the religious leaders of his day by claiming that he had a Father/Son relationship with the God whose name they feared even to pronounce. Furthermore, by inviting his followers to call God "Father," he made this the primary name by which God is to be known to his followers. That's why we can boldly pray the prayer Jesus taught his disciples, "Our Father who art in heaven..."
While he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him. (Luke 15:20)
PRAYING THE NAME
Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come,
your will be done
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread. (Matthew 6:9-11)
Reflect On: Matthew 6:9-13
Praise God: For his ability to bring good out of evil.
Offer Thanks: For the way God has already provided for you.
Confess: Any lack of zeal for God's kingdom.
Ask God: To make doing his will your first and greatest goal.
In the first two sentences of his now famous prayer, Jesus inextricably linked God the Father to our need for daily bread, for daily provision.
Lalani is a Sri Lankan woman who knows what it means to depend on God to provide for her. In 1986 she married Lionel Jayahsinghe, a former Buddhist monk who had converted to Christianity after reading a tract. Shortly after their marriage the two began a small house church despite the opposition of local monks who went door to door warning people against them. It wasn't long before Lionel started receiving death threats. One Friday in March 1988 Lalani heard a gunshot. Lionel had been shot in the face. Her husband stumbled into their bedroom, followed by an assailant who stabbed him repeatedly. As she turned away to shelter her eleven month-old son, she heard another gunshot.
After Lionel's death, Lalani became determined to continue the work they had begun in their home, despite threats against her own life. During the years that followed, the church grew despite continued opposition. At one point the roof was burned and later on, in 1999, the church property was bombed. Today, there are 1,200 believers who attend the church that she and her husband founded.
Not long ago, Lalani traveled to another city for a planning meeting with other Christian leaders. When asked how things were with her church, she replied, "Wonderful! Praise the Lord!" Later she gave a more detailed report, telling how the local opposition had that week organized a protest march against her church, and then burned the thatch roof.
Stunned by this news, someone in the meeting asked why she said that everything was wonderful. "Obviously," she answered enthusiastically, "since the thatch is gone, God must intend to give us a metal roof!"
What a remarkable statement! Instead of complaining about her hardships, Lalani praised God because she fully expected her heavenly Father to turn these difficulties into a blessing for the church.
Today take time to reflect on the faith of this remarkable woman and ask God to increase your own zeal for his kingdom and your faith in his ability to provide for you.
Two of Ann Spangler's most-loved books have been released in paperback: Praying the Names of God and Praying the Names of Jesus.
These books help us understand the biblical context in which these names and titles were revealed, and help us gain a more intimate knowledge of the Father and of the Son.