Tuesday, April 15, 2014

A Question of Position

"Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven." (Mat 6:10 KJV)

 A few years ago I taught a series on the Life of Christ. We have spent the last month just going through the sermon on the mount. One week we were looking at the Lord's Prayer. As the discussion proceeded I began to see that the key to understanding the Lord's prayer, and  thus prayer in general is not one of words or phrases, but one of attitude and right position.

 Now, when I say right position, I don't mean whether you kneel or stand or, like myself, lie flat on my back on the living room couch when I pray. What I mean is that we recognize our relative position in relationship to God. Notice what we are told right at the first: God is our father. He  is in heaven (above our circumstances). He is holy. He has plans for a kingdom. He has a will which needs to be accomplished right here on earth. And implied in all this is that we have a part to play in accomplishing that will and creating that kingdom.

 Only three short verses in the prayer deal with our personal needs. We pray for our daily needs. That is a humbling experience in and of itself. For in so doing, we recognize that we are not the
 source. We recognize that anything we have comes from the hand of the father. The other recognizes that we are spiritually bankrupt and in need of forgiveness, and in need of a forgiving spirit. Finally, we are prone to temptation and need to be delivered from the hand of the evil one.

 The prayer ends by once again reminding us of God's kingdom, power, and glory. Reading this prayer is a humbling experience and an ennobling one. It is humbling in that we learn that we are children in comparison with God, that our plans and our will are subordinate to God's plans and  God's will, that we depend on him for everything, that we owe him a debt we cannot pay, and that we are weak in dealing with temptation.

 But the prayer is also ennobling because it tells us that we are His children. It also tells us that our greatest achievement is helping bring about his kingdom through our lives and our prayers here on
 earth. How do we do this? We do this by aligning our will with the will of the father. You see we get it all mixed up about prayer. We think that prayer is about bending God's will to ours. That's not prayer, that's an attempt at magic. Rather, this prayer says that the opposite is true. Effective prayer is not bending God's will to mine, but by surrendering my will to God. And in so doing, I become his instrument in creating his kingdom in my world.

 Lord, today bend me to your will and give me an opportunity to build your kingdom in my world. Amen

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