The Lord’s Prayer | Revolt
Monday— Once Jesus was…praying. As he finished, one of his disciples…said, “Lord, teach us to pray…” Luke 11:1
Maybe you started with, “Now I lay me down to sleep.” Or, “God is great, God is good, now we thank Him for this food.” That’s fine when we’re 5. Unfortunately, many people grow up still chanting nursery rhymes and assume that’s all there is to prayer. They have no problem talking, joking, or discussing with their friends, but when it comes to God, they freeze. Jesus’ disciples heard Him pray and then looked at each other. “How does He do that? It’s like the Father is right next to Him. Show us how!”
So Jesus did. He taught them that prayer is a conversation between a sovereign King and his beloved children. True prayer is inviting the Lord of the universe to enter the secret places of our hearts and help us think like He does. Real prayer is a balance between “Yo, God. S’up?” and “Thee-Thou-Thine-Thouest.” We should approach the throne of God with reverence and humility, but as welcomed children. In prayer, we get honest. We pour out mistakes, hurts, and hopes, and receive His forgiveness, comfort, and direction. The more scripture we know, the easier it is to hear the voice of God because He speaks through His word. There is no formula for prayer, but Jesus gave us an outline. Matthew 6:9-13 is a good place to start.
Final Thought: Does prayer worry you a little? No need to be afraid. Your Father is waiting to hear from you.
Prayer: Father in heaven, your name is holy and I worship you alone. Thank you for being my God and for all the blessings you pour out on me. Forgive my sin, meet my needs, and teach me to pray the way you want me to. In Jesus’ name, amen.
Tuesday— “Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” Matthew 6:10
“Bless me here. Bless me there. Bless me, bless me, everywhere. AMEN!” Do your prayers sound a little like that? We can get so self-focused that prayer becomes little more than a list of blessings we want from God. It’s fine to ask God for what we need. He wants to hear everything that’s on our hearts. But He has something much bigger in mind for our prayers. It is through prayer that we get to enter into the heart of God and align our purposes with His. Only when we want what He wants will we get everything we ask for. So before we start asking, we need a heart-check: Do I really want what God wants for me?
When we pray “Your will be done” we are voluntarily relinquishing our rights to dictate our own futures. We are saying to God, “I think this is what I want, but you know best. Will you give me exactly what I need to be everything you want me to be?” We can ask for a new job, a clear CT scan, or a better car. But when we end there, we set ourselves up for disillusionment if those things don’t happen. Many people base their rejection of God on prayers or dreams that did not come true. But when we pray that way, we are putting ourselves in God’s seat and giving Him marching instructions. It doesn’t work that way, and aren’t we glad it doesn’t? What if God had granted your plea to marry your fourth-grade crush? What if He felt pressured by your faith to give you that house you wanted, knowing it was about to be condemned for mold and termites? Don’t we want a bigger God than our limited understanding can create? So we haven’t completed our prayer until we have asked for His will to be done. God may have something far better in store for us, but if we won’t let go of our lesser goals, we get in the way of His blessing.
Final Thought: Are your prayers instruction lists for God or are they opportunities to align your will with His?
Prayer: Father in heaven, I lay my requests before you. This is what I think I want and need, but now I leave it up to you. May your kingdom come and your will be done in my life as it is in heaven. I want your will more than mine. In Jesus’ name, amen.
Wednesday— “Give us this day our daily bread.” Matthew 6:11
“But I nee-eed it!” wailed Moriah. “I’ll die if I don’t get one! Don’t you want me to be happy?” Her pleas faded as her mother’s back disappeared into the kitchen. This wasn’t working. She studied her teenage face in the mirror and practiced a more pitiful expression. Should she try demanding? Crying? Pouting? Threatening? Mom could be pretty cold-hearted when it came to things like this. Why couldn’t parents be reasonable? They were so stingy. Both of them were teachers, so they had plenty of money. What did a girl have to do to convince her stubborn parents that she absolutely had to have a red Lamborghini?
Most parents of teens have had similar conversations at some point. We’re tempted to laugh at them behind their backs, but aren’t we all a little like that when we approach God? Something captures our attention and we become convinced that we absolutely must have it or we’ll die. Surely God agrees. Doesn’t He want us to be happy? He does. He wants us to be happy with what He gives us. Jesus could have inserted a shopping list right here, but all He said was “Give us our daily bread.” When we learn to be happy with God’s provision, we’ve found a greater source of happiness than if we owned a Lamborghini.
Final Thought: Is your Wishlist a little unreasonable? Refocus on asking for what you need and you’ll find contentment.
Prayer: Father, many of my prayers have been so selfish and greedy. Please forgive me. You have always taken care of me and you always will. Give me today what I need to accomplish all you’ve ordained for me. I am grateful for it. Amen.
Thursday— “…and forgive us our sins, as we have forgiven those who sin against us…” Matthew 6:12
“Oh, I’ve blown it bad,” Ray mumbled to himself as he rapped tentatively on the CEO’s door. “I’m gonna get fired. At my age, I’ll never find another job as good as this one.” A secretary let him in and suddenly he was standing before the Big Guy himself. 6’,5.’’ Billionaire. Ray couldn’t stop the trembling. “Uh sir,” he began. “I shouldn’t have…I was wrong…if you’ll only let me pay it all back, I’ll be the most loyal employee in this company…” He chanced a look up and the CEO was smiling kindly at him. “I know, Ray,” he said. “You did wrong and we’ll have to dock your pay until it’s paid back. But I believe you’re a good man and you won’t do it again. I’m gonna let this slide.” He held out a hand and they shook. Ray thought he might pass out.
He left the office feeling light as helium, but as he rounded a corner, he bumped into Todd and his mood evaporated. Todd’s face blanched and he began to stammer, “Hey, man, I’m sorry I got you into trouble with the big guy. I shouldn’t have done it. Please forgive me.” Ray’s lips tightened and he shook his head. “You caused me a lot of trouble and you’re gonna pay for it. I’m going to HR and report you.” He stalked away, eager for revenge. Jesus gave a similar illustration in Matthew 18:21-35 to show us what God thinks about our refusal to forgive others after He has forgiven us. We cannot expect to revel in the joy of a cleansed heart when we refuse to extend grace to other people. When you enter God’s presence, forgive and be forgiven.
Final Thought: When you pray, ask God to reveal people you’ve refused to forgive. Extend to them the grace God gave you.
Prayer: Father in heaven, I am so grateful for your forgiveness. My sin put your Son on the cross. Help me to see the wrongs of others in light of my wrongs against you, and grant me the power and love to forgive. Because of Jesus, I can say amen.
Friday— “And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.” Matthew 6:13
-“I don’t know why I married that drunken atheist,” Shawna said. “Why didn’t God stop me?”
-“I’d been clean for a year, but the guys at work had some oxy and I couldn’t resist. Why did God let me get hooked again?”
-“I panned to stay a virgin til I got married, but she needed a place to stay, so… Why did God make her so gorgeous?”
Can we rightly blame God when we cave to temptation? Is that what this verse means? Of course not. We can’t blame God when we make foolish decisions or openly defy what is written in His word. Jesus is reminding us that when we pray, we should acknowledge our own inability to live the way God wants us to. Without the empowerment of His Holy Spirit, none of us wants to act like a Christian. So we confess that weakness to our Father and ask Him to give us mercy when we encounter temptation. One way God helps us avoid temptation is by obeying the boundaries He has provided in His word. When we carefully follow them, we bypass many evil entanglements. But when temptations vault over our boundaries, God promises to provide a way of escape so that we can resist them (1 Cor. 10:13). That doesn’t mean we won’t be tempted. Satan never tires of coming up with crafty enticements tailored precisely to our personal weaknesses. But when Satan lays a tempting trap for us, we should remember that God is for us. Despite how powerful the temptation appears, God will provide an escape hatch.
Final Thought: What is your greatest temptation right now? Ask God to show you His way of escape so that you stay free.
Prayer: Father, I lead myself into temptation most of the time. But other times, I never saw it coming. Help me be aware of the traps my enemy lays for me. Help me to resist them until I discover your way of escape. In Jesus’ name, amen.