What To Say When You Pray | Week 5 | Monday

Of all the things he could ask his Father in heaven for, he chooses a daily necessity. Read the Lord’s Prayer in Matthew 6:9-13 and sit with the phrase, “Give us today daily bread”. What stands out to you?

  1. Get Honest … What do you typically pray for? Make a list of things you regularly talk with God about or ask him to do for you.
  2. Change Mind … Listen for what Jesus wants to say to you about your prayer life.
  3. Walk Anew … What step might Jesus want you to take in response to what he’s shown you?

FORMATION CHALLENGE … Fast from something intentionally to physically feel your essential needs

What To Say When You Pray | Week 5 | Monday2022-01-31T11:59:43-07:00

What To Say When You Pray | Week 4 | Friday

With all wisdom and understanding, he made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ, to be put into effect when the times reach their fulfillment —to bring unity to all things in heaven and on earth under Christ.” (Ephesians 1:8-10 NIV)

Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.” (Matthew 26:39 NIV)

“Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” (Matthew 6:9 NIV)

Expectations. As we become adults, we discover reality is often quite different from our expectations as a child. When we dwell on our expectations more than our reality, we become disappointed, sad, resentful, or even bitter with our actual life. When I was in my young 20’s, recently graduated from college, my expectations and reality collided. My desire was to be married – as all my friends were, and to become a mother. My reality – I was single – not married, a teacher – not a mother. I was disappointed, sad and depressed. My focus was wrong, my perspective needed changing. I remember a day when I wrote down all of my specific desires for a husband, I prayed about them, surrendered them to God, put them away in my Bible and submitted my possible future husband to the Creator and Author of my life.

Unfortunately, I have found myself having to do this time and again. I am someone who loves to be in control and have things work out exactly as I planned. I wanted blessings from God, on my terms, not on His terms. God did bless me with an incredible husband – several years later. He also blessed us with children – again after we had prayed and surrendered our desire to be parents to God. Then, we had a son with special needs – again, not the family we would have desired to have. But God used Joshua in our lives and in the lives of our family, and in the lives of many others. I discovered, when I yielded to God’s will, when I agreed with Him – that He knew best, when I trusted Him and simply did what He had put in front of me each day, God used Joshua to bring us joy, to show us what unconditional love looks like.

I think it is hard for us to pray as Jesus did in Gethsemane, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will,” Matthew 26:39. We want to be in control, we want our desires, our plans, our expectations fulfilled. But – God desires to bless us so we can be a blessing to others (Genesis 12:1-3). Listen to this song. Sing and pray these words to God. Surrender to him, submit to His perfect will to be made manifest in your life.  Song: New Wine By Hill Song (Short Version)

What To Say When You Pray | Week 4 | Friday2022-01-22T19:25:25-07:00

What To Say When You Pray | Week 4 | Thursday

Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. (Matthew 6:9b-13 NIV)

Think of yourself the way Christ Jesus thought of himself. He had equal status with God, but didn’t think so much of himself that he had to cling to the advantages of that status. When the time came, he set aside the privileges of deity and took on the status of a slave – became human! Having become human, he stayed human. It was an incredibly humbling process. He didn’t claim special privileges. Instead, he lived a selfless life and then died a selfless, obedient death (and the worst kind of death at that) — crucifixion.

Because of that obedience, God lifted him high and honored him far beyond anyone or anything, ever, so that all created beings in heaven and on earth (even those long ago dead and buried) will bow in worship before this Jesus Christ, and call out in praise that he is the Master of all to the glorious honor of God the Father.
(Philippians 2: 9-11 MSG)

Of all the collections of His teachings, I think the Lord’s prayer is the most significant because Jesus gives us the privilege of sharing his Father with him and he also includes us in praying for God’s kingdom coming to earth. The word “kingdom” implies a king and a king is a ruler. A ruler has the right and authority to tell the people in his kingdom what to do and how to do it. So what is this king like?

The first mention in the New Testament of Jesus as King is when the Magi come from the east looking for, “the one who has been born King of the Jews.” (Matthew 2:2 MSG). Philippians 2:9-11(MSG), the scripture mentioned above is key to my wonder and understanding of Jesus’s character as King. His coming to earth as a child is a reminder of his humility.

In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus began to teach his disciples how different the kingdom of God will look from what was happening in their world at the time (Matthew 5). Jesus through the written word continues to do the same for us as we live in and carry him out into the world of our time. As you pray the first couple of lines of the Lord’s prayer and read the Philippians verses, ponder what Jesus, the King, was willing to become for you.

What To Say When You Pray | Week 4 | Thursday2022-01-24T08:28:39-07:00

What To Say When You Pray | Week 4 | Wednesday

Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. (Matthew 6:10)

“Kingdom”, it’s not something most Americans understand aside from the movies. We don’t live in a nation with a king. It might be helpful for us to explore what this kingdom is; after all, Jesus teaches us to pray for its coming.

One of the most helpful definitions of the kingdom that I have encountered is from Dallas Willard, Christian philosopher, who said that the kingdom of God is “the range of God’s effective will.” The first time I read that definition I had to stop and think. The kingdom is where God’s will is active. When we pray this prayer, we ask for his authority and rulership to overthrow wherever it isn’t currently.

What would the world look like if God’s kingdom was in full effect? That is what we are asking God to do, and that is what God invites his children to bring into the world. One idea that has helped me to think about God’s kingdom is the idea of culture. I grew up overseas in Africa, and the culture is so different from America. The language, the jokes, the social cues, and the values of Africa are nothing like that of most Americans. The same is true of the Kingdom of God. When we pray this prayer, we want God’s culture to overshadow the world’s culture.

Our passage today is found in one of Jesus’ most famous sermons about the nature of his kingdom. To fully understand what we are asking for when we pray this prayer, we must learn the kingdom’s culture. That can be done by learning the character and teachings of the king. We can start learning the customs, language, and rules of the kingdom of God by listening to and obeying the way of Jesus. Only then can we see the benefits of his Good reign in the world.

Part of our aim as followers of Jesus and the prayers of this prayer is to learn the kingdom’s culture. Only then can we become productive citizens in that kingdom. When you read the scripture, ask yourself about the heart of King Jesus. You can also ask, what are the social cues/rules of the kingdom of God that I see in every scripture passage? For example, some of the strange cultural practices of the kingdom are, the first shall be last, the humble shall be exalted, and there is strength in our weakness. These ideas feel foreign to our world; that is because they are, they are native only to the kingdom of God.

What To Say When You Pray | Week 4 | Wednesday2022-01-22T19:22:34-07:00

What To Say When You Pray | Week 4 | Tuesday

Exploring Genesis 1 gives us insight into this portion of Jesus’ model prayer, May your kingdom come, may your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.

Genesis 1:1-25 (NIV) is filled with this kind of language: God created…let there be…God made…God said…it was so…and God saw it was good. Comparatively, in Genesis 1:26 (NIV) a decided change in the flow of language takes place: Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over…”

God then started speaking to the crown of His creation in Genesis 1:28 (NIV), God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground.” In verse 29, God began his impartation to mankind, Then God said, “I give you…” and finally, God saw all that he had made, and it was very good. (Genesis 1:31 NIV)

God spoke to man about the rest of His creation anticipating that humans would rule over it. Because Adam & Eve broke their trust in God (Genesis 3), the communication line between heaven and earth was compromised, even closed, resulting in separation, decay, suffering, and death for all God’s earthly creation. Jesus’ model prayer gives us not only hope for a final restoration, but a rite of passage to a daily restoration of God’s original plan contained in Genesis 1.

When will our Father answer this prayer?

Then they gathered around him and asked him, ‘Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?’ He said to them, ‘It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth. (Acts 1:6-8 NIV)

Again, God speaks to man through His incarnation in Christ about how He will restore His relationship with those who are open to Him. “He said to them, ‘Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation.’” (Mark 16:15 NIV)

Of course, the gospel is filled with good news about the human Jesus’ restorative, earthly interactions with humanity, but good news can also be found in the continuing power of His death, burial and resurrection to impart eternal life and transform lives. The gospel is powerful to cancel the effects of the damage begun in Genesis 3 and to restore our spiritual relationship with Himself.

Take a few minutes to be in awe of the power of the gospel throughout the centuries and in our time. Then ask the Holy Spirit to funnel that power into your personal-sized portion for today.

What To Say When You Pray | Week 4 | Tuesday2022-01-22T19:17:57-07:00

What To Say When You Pray | Week 4 | Monday

Above all, Jesus desires for God’s authority to reign on the earth in the same way God’s authority reigns in the heavens. Read the Lord’s Prayer in Matthew 6:9-13 and imagine God ruling the entire universe of heaven.

  1. Get Honest … Share with God how you picture him reigning or the limitations you feel in this exercise. What ways would you like God to rule the earth in the same ways you picture him ruling in heaven? What ways do you hesitate to ask him to rule on earth as it is in heaven?
  2. Change Mind … Listen for what Jesus wants to say to you about the way he rules in heaven.
  3. Walk Anew … What step might Jesus want you to take in response to what he’s shown you?

FORMATION CHALLENGE … Light a candle as you pray and as you blow it out surrender your prayer to the Lord as you watch the smoke rise

What To Say When You Pray | Week 4 | Monday2022-01-22T19:20:03-07:00

What To Say When You Pray | Week 3 | Friday

Your Name

“Therefore, say to the Israelites: ‘I am the LORD, and I will bring you out from under the yoke of the Egyptians. I will free you from being slaves to them, and I will redeem you with a In outstretched arm and with mighty acts of judgment. I will take you as my own people, and I will be your God. Then you will know that I am the LORD your God, who brought you out from under the yoke of the Egyptians. And I will bring you to the land I swore with uplifted hand to give to Abraham, to Isaac and to Jacob. I will give it to you as a possession. I am the LORD.’” Exodus 6:6-8 NIV

The LORD is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love. Psalm 103:8 NIV

He will stand and shepherd his flock in the strength of the LORD, in the majesty of the name of the LORD his God. And they will live securely, for then his greatness will reach to the ends of the earth. Micah 5:4 NIV

But for the sake of my name, I brought them out of Egypt. I did it to keep my name from being profaned in the eyes of the nations among whom they lived and in whose sight I had revealed myself to the Israelites. Ezekiel 20:9 NIV

This, then, is how you should pray: Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, Matthew 6:9 NIV

In Exodus 3 Moses encounters God in the burning bush. He asks several questions of God, but one was what is your name? Exodus 3:14 gives the answer, “God said to Moses, ‘I AM WHO I AM. This is what you are to say to the Israelites: ‘I AM has sent me to you.’” He had earlier told Moses to lead God’s people to the land flowing with milk and honey, “And God said, ‘I will be with you,’” Exodus 3:12.

A name in Biblical times was a description of a person’s character, of their reputation, of their personality. God answers Moses’ question with two of the most important parts of His character. 1. God is – not was, not will be, but is and will always be – God has no beginning and no end. 2. God is with us – He is trustworthy, dependable, faithful. Jesus answered the Pharisees’ questions about who Jesus was with, “Very truly I tell you,” Jesus answered, “before Abraham was born, I am!” In saying this, he was claiming to be one with God the Father, and eternal as well. The Pharisees understood his claim and tried to stone him for what they considered was his blasphemy.

God’s name was rarely spoken by a pious Jew. God’s name – is majestic (Psalm 8:1), is trustworthy (Psalm 20:7), is a strong tower (Proverbs 18:10), is near (Psalm 75:1 is a refuge (Psalm 5:11) and lives in His temple (I Kings 8:29). In Exodus 34: 5-7 Moses asked to see God’s glory, “Then the LORD came down in the cloud and stood there with him and proclaimed his name, the LORD. And he passed in front of Moses, proclaiming, “The LORD, the LORD, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness, maintaining love to thousands, and forgiving wickedness, rebellion and sin.”

Psalm 103 is a fantastic testimony of the character of God. If you want to understand more clearly who God is, how he loves us, protects us and all that he has done on our behalf, I suggest a study of this Psalm. Look at the verbs in this Psalm, make a list of all the actions God has taken on our behalf. Think on, meditate on, and use these words in a prayer to God – thanking Him for what He has done, is doing and will do in the future in your life.

What To Say When You Pray | Week 3 | Friday2022-01-21T10:05:53-07:00

What To Say When You Pray | Week 3 | Thursday

Pray then like this:
“Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name.”

This week we venture into one of the most familiar texts in all scripture. That familiarity may cause us to miss some of the subtleties and tensions. If we take the time to read the scriptures meditatively, we begin to discover all sorts of new things. Questions start to arise; intrigue lives beneath the surface of our reading. Today we will look at the request “hallowed be,” which is ripe with curiosity.

The phrase “hallowed be” is imperative in the Greek language. That means it is a command or petition. When we pray “hallowed be,” we ask God to be hallowed. Is God not already holy? How can the holiest one become more holy, and more importantly, who are we to tell God what to do? What could be missing from God’s holiness other than our understanding of it? In other words, the only thing missing from God’s holiness is that not everyone sees him as holy.

In light of my meditation on this prayer, I will sometimes pray it like this; “our father in heaven, may you be seen and appreciated as holy be me and everyone.” I find it interesting that Jesus challenges us to pray for God’s help in hallowing his name. This is a prayer for God’s reputation as good, beautiful, kind, worthy, and holy.

Have you ever overheard a conversation where someone spoke poorly about someone you love or respect? Defensiveness may swell in your chest for the person you care for. The prayer, “hallowed be,” may come from a similar emotional space. We want others to see and appreciate the goodness of our Father, but we cannot always change their minds, so we ask our Father to make himself hallowed. This can also be a prayer for our hearts to hallow God. When we have doubts or fears about his nature, we might pray that God would make himself hallowed to us.

As with each other phrase in the Lord’s Prayer, this one invites us to be a part of the answer to our prayer. Today, pray what Jesus tells you to pray, “hallowed be your name.” Now ask him, what he might want you to do today to help his name be more hallowed by people you interact with. You may want to pray something like, “Father, how can I make you be seen as good and holy by someone today?”

What To Say When You Pray | Week 3 | Thursday2022-01-20T13:07:45-07:00

What To Say When You Pray | Week 3 | Wednesday

In Heaven

In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, high and lifted up, and the train of His robe filled the temple. Above it stood seraphim; each one had six wings: with two he covered his face, with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. And one cried to another and said:

“Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts;
The whole earth is full of His glory!”

And the posts of the door were shaken by the voice of him who cried out, and the house was filled with smoke.
So I said:

“Woe is me, FOR I AM UNDONE!
Because I am a man of unclean lips,
And I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips;
For my eyes have seen the King,
The Lord of hosts.” (Isaiah 6:1-5 NKJV)

As I meditate on Isaiah’s mind-blowing experience in the heavenly throne room of God, it “undoes” me too. Other Old Testament prophets recorded their stunning experiences of heaven as reminders of that infrequently experienced reality. The book of Hebrews speaks of the purpose of details in the tabernacle in the wilderness:
They serve as a copy and shadow of the heavenly things. For when Moses was about to erect the tent, he was instructed by God, saying, “See that you make everything according to the pattern that was shown you on the mountain.” (Hebrews 8:5 ESV)

We also discover a multitude of images of heaven in the book of Revelation. So when Jesus begins His model prayer with “Our Father in heaven” (Matthew 6:9 ESV), we have much to contemplate.

In addressing “Our Father in heaven”, Jesus confirms our True Father is elevated yet accessible to believers throughout time and space. This opening address also reminds us that relationship with the Father became severely limited as a consequence of the Fall of Adam but has been restored through Jesus. ”Our Father in heaven”, assures us He is accessible any time we are ready.

As we encounter and acknowledge the supremacy of our True Father (often through reading and meditation on Scripture), He transports us beyond our limited perspectives – perspectives about the wonders of the nature around us; perspectives about ourselves and other believers; perspectives about those who turn away to other gods while condemning the reality of our true God; perspectives about God’s involvement in history, with prior generations of believers and other peoples; and perspectives about how He sometimes appears uninvolved in our immediate circumstances.

Intentional meetings with our heavenly Father, who rules heaven and all forms of existence, give us access to His steady, unseen hand – allowing Him to direct and secure our steps over rocky, slippery paths as we endure hardship or simply make the next decisions about everyday life.

In light of one or more scriptures that speak about heaven, find a vantage point where you can worship our Father in the intimacy of His grandness and nearness.

What To Say When You Pray | Week 3 | Wednesday2022-01-13T08:02:49-07:00
Go to Top