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The Word For Today

Praying Jesus' Way (3)

'...Is anything too hard for Me?' Jeremiah 32:27 NIV

The words 'Our Father' remind us of God's unconditional love. Ever looked into the eyes of a suffering child and wanted to make them well, but found you lacked the power? '...who art in Heaven' reminds us of God's unlimited power to do what we can't. 'I am the Lord, the God of all mankind. Is anything too hard for Me?' The answer in the Hebrew language effectively comes back, 'No, nothing, absolutely nothing; everything with You will be extraordinary.' You can have total confidence that what God's love prompts Him to do, His power enables Him to do. 'Hallowed be Thy name' distinguishes His name and character from all others. 'Hallowed' in Greek indicates He's unlike others, different, special, the only One. In an age where respect for authority is disappearing, because it challenges our self-importance, Jesus teaches us to pray, 'Heavenly Father, enable us to give You the place Your Holy Name and character deserve.'
'Thy Kingdom come.' Jesus came preaching God's Kingdom; it was the heart of His Gospel. The kingdom incorporating Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and so on was past. The present kingdom includes all who acknowledge Jesus as Lord. And the future kingdom will encompass the whole earth at Christ's return. Each time you submit to God's will, His Kingdom is brought into operation. As a believer, you are in His Kingdom, and His power is available to you. 'Thy will be done on earth as it is in Heaven' (Matthew 6:10 KJV). In Heaven God's will is never questioned. Nor should it be in your life. And Jesus instructs us to pray and believe that what happens in Heaven will also happen through you here on earth.

SoulFood: Deut 32:29 - 34:12, Mark 6:30-44, Ps 62, Pro 12:18-19

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Praying Jesus' Way (2)

'...before the throne of our merciful God... we will be treated with undeserved kindness, and we will find help.' Hebrews 4:16 CEV

When you pray, 'Our Father,' you define every other relationship in your life:
(a) You define your relationship to the material world. Since God is your Father, you're not a stranger but an heir to the blessings of His universe (Psalms 24:1). But beware of the values of the world: 'Don't love the world or anything that belongs to the world. If you love the world, you cannot love the Father' (1 John 2:15 CEV). Nothing must take God's place! (b) You define your relationship to others. Everyone around you is your Father's creation and as such you must accept, love and value them. We're commanded to love our neighbour as ourselves regardless of colour, creed or distinction. We're not to compete with them or strive for superiority over them or use them for our own ends.
(c) You define your relationship to yourself. God says He's your Father; what a foundation on which to build your self-worth! Regardless of what's been said or done in the past to make you feel inadequate or inferior, you can hold your head high. You're not a nobody once God calls you His child. (d) You define your relationship to God. Because of your relationship to Jesus, the Father declares you '...accepted in the Beloved' (Ephesians 1:6 NKJV). As He accepts Jesus, so He accepts you! '...As many as received Him...He gave the right to become children of God...' (John 1:12 NAS). You no longer need to approach Him in fear. You can walk right up 'before the throne of our merciful God [and] be treated with undeserved kindness and...find help.' It doesn't get any better!

SoulFood: Deut 30:1 - 32:28, Mark 6:14-29, Ps 57, Pro 12:15-17

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Praying Jesus' Way (1)

Overhearing Jesus pray moved one of His disciples to say, 'Lord, teach us to pray.' It's unlikely Jesus intended to teach them a rote prayer since He'd just said, 'When you pray, don't babble on and on as people of other religions do. They think their prayers are answered merely by repeating their words again and again' (Matthew 6:7 NLT). His answer was more than a sample formula-prayer. He was teaching them powerful, effective principles for praying.

Let's see how we can benefit from them. William Barclay said, 'The Lord's Prayer has two major parts: the first for God's benefit, the second for ours. Honour the first part, and the second is guaranteed.'
Part one begins with 'Our Father'. It's intended for His family, collectively as well as individually. He used the plural words 'our...us...we' to indicate prayer is a co-operative exercise, where we pray with and for each other, not just for and by ourselves. It also teaches us the power of agreeing together in prayer (Matthew 18:19 KJV). Before asking for anything, we're to acknowledge God's fatherhood, because prayer is: (a) a matter of relationship. It's the Father and His children in session; those who are redeemed through faith in the blood of His only begotten Son. That's the welcome mat under your feet when you pray. It's also: (b) a matter of submission. Jesus' disciples understood that fatherhood meant headship and authority. Prayer isn't an attempt to get God to agree with your will, it's aligning yourself with His Word and will. He's a promise-keeper, not an indulgent parent.

SoulFood: Deut 28-29, Mark 6:1-13, Ps 44:17-26, Pro 12:12-14

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