How to Pray, VI: Forgiveness

And forgive us our debts,
As we forgive our debtors (Matthew 6:12).

It is no surprise that in the order of the Lord’s Prayer, the topic of forgiveness immediately follows that of surrender.

It is as if Jesus is saying, Remember, you previously said you were okay with My “will being done in Heaven and Earth?” My greatest commandment is that you love one another… now, will you forgive?

In re-appling this passage to my life, here is what I learned: Continue reading “How to Pray, VI: Forgiveness”

How to Pray (V): “Our Daily Bread”

The concept of asking God for what that I need has always made me feel a little uncomfortable; greedy even. It wasn’t until I understood that Jesus was my best friend, sitting beside me, walking with me, that I realized I could come to Him, and talk to Him about anything.

In Matthew 6:10, Jesus capitalizes on this component in the Lord’s Prayer; praying for our needs. The scripture says this:

Give us this day our daily bread.

Now, if Jesus gave us the Lord’s Prayer as our model, than what all does this passage imply?

Just Tell God What You Need

Give us this day our daily bread. 7 simple words.

Despite the spectacle that many great orators have made out of prayer, let us not allow that to blind us from the truth – the truth that we are to come to Him as a little child: small in spirit, with simplicity, and fully trusting. “Give us this day our daily bread.”

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Prayer Focus

Jesus prayed in present tense. He did not trouble himself over the future or past, His concern was about today. This is not to say that we shouldn’t pray for our future or reflect on yesterday’s lessons; rather understanding the profoundness of today. Sometimes we get caught in the trap of scrambling to make our lives, our future, worthwhile, forgetting that it won’t be one single moment that defines us, rather a bushel of the daily choices we made that will make our lives significant.

So, what is your daily bread? I can almost ascertain that for the majority of us, our daily bread won’t really consist of materialistic barrages. Our bread rather, will be made with the incorruptible seasoning of a spirit that is most pleasing to God. We will pray to be cooked in the spiritual ingredients of joy, peace, love, patience, kindness, truth, and self-control (Ref). That’s our daily bread.

How to Pray (Part IV): Surrender

Throughout the Bible are examples of those who obeyed God in surrender. There was Abraham, in his willingness to sacrifice his son, Isaac. Samuel also, in dedicating his life’s service to God; there was even the brave obedience of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego who were willing to be martyred for Christ, to name a few.

Conversely, there were those who ignored God’s will and miserably succumbed to their own vices like Adam, Samson, King David, and if we are honest, many of us.  

Despite our misgivings, these comparisons bring one certainty: the only decision that is best, is obeying God’s will.

It is for this reason that Jesus included a portion on surrender in the Lord’s Prayer:

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

Why Surrender?

  • God knows what is best for us. Jeremiah 29:11 says,  For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.
  • It proves our love for God.  Have you ever met someone who claimed to be a Christian, but their lifestyle said otherwise? To disregard God’s divine plan is to say that we do not love Him. John 14:15 says: If you love me, keep my commandments.

I challenge us to accept this charge in surrender. Despite present propaganda that preaches surrender is weakness, determine in your heart to follow God, regardless of the scoffers. Through our obedience, we will be blessed by God. Read the Bible and study the example of those who did – you will find that surrender is really the unmasking of God’s splendor.

 

How to Pray (Part III): Worship

Since beginning our study on prayer, based on the model prayer that Jesus gave in Matthew 6: 9-14, we have learned two basic things:

In knowing those two things, we can now move past the introductions of the Lord’s Prayer and to the next section that says this: Continue reading “How to Pray (Part III): Worship”

How To Pray (Part II): Our Father

I closed my eyes, trying to tune in to what the prayer leader was saying, but for the life of me I could not focus. I shifted in my seat and opened my eyes, looking around the room, wondering at the strange misgivings in my heart.

The speaker’s prayers seemed like empty words bouncing off the walls, reverberating the message, “Return to Sender.”

It was at that moment that a sobering question came to mind. I wonder, I thought, how many times we come to God, not even remembering who it is we are talking to? Continue reading “How To Pray (Part II): Our Father”

How to Pray (Part I)

I remember the first time I really understood the power of prayer. There was a child at my church, named Edward, who was born with a failing kidney. One night during Bible study, his mother asked the pastor to pray; Edwards kidney wasn’t doing well and because of this, he had not been able to relieve himself. Concerned, Pastor Hamilton leaned over the little boy and laying a hand on his stomach, prayed. The church erupted into applause and shouted, as moments later, Edward hiked up his little pants and rushed to the restroom.

The witness of this miracle changed my perception of God – and prayer. As people, praying is the most important part of our living; it is the main way we communicate with our Maker and ask His help in our lives. Continue reading “How to Pray (Part I)”

A Letter to You: Everything Will Be Ok

Dear Reader,

Sometimes I think about your life and wonder what it is that brought you here. Perhaps you just need a nugget of encouragement to give you a little more strength in your journey, or maybe it’s a curiousness to learn more about what I write. Whatever it is, I know we all are seeking solace.

Let’s be real: most of us here have gone through pain. And not just the prick-your-finger-with-a-needle sort of pain. I’m talking about the kind that leaves you breathless, not knowing which way is up. I think about you every time I write, and when I do, this specific scripture often comes to mind:  Continue reading “A Letter to You: Everything Will Be Ok”

What Traffics the Heart? What Patience Teaches Us.

I never knew what “bad traffic” was until I moved to Seattle. 5pm traffic on the Interstate 5 looks like an endless game of wait-your-turn, with cars honking, moving at a stop and go pace, and nothing but vermillion brake lights showing for miles.

But for the patient, the process isn’t too harrying. As a matter of fact, if you pack a few snacks, pop a good audiobook on, and roll your windows down – you might find that you’re quite fortunate to live in such a bustling, scenic township, with the Space Needle and Pacific Ocean right inside your reach. Continue reading “What Traffics the Heart? What Patience Teaches Us.”

Choosing Happiness: Why Joy is Always the Better Option

I sifted through the items at Kohl’s and sighed. There were so many options to choose from in their athletic section – leggings, shoes, hair wraps, dry shampoo – it was all overwhelming. But I knew from the options giving me, nothing seemed to make me feel happier than the pair of grey and pink athletic bottoms I had just tried on in the fitting room. Thumbing through the racks of clothes once more, I headed to the checkout counter – I liked this outfit best. Continue reading “Choosing Happiness: Why Joy is Always the Better Option”

A Christian’s Approach to Suffering: 2 Ways to Beat Discouragement

It was a Sunday afternoon, and I was exhausted. I actively competed in Speech and Debate in High School, and often our competitions were not over until 11:00pm, leaving me with hardly any sleep before our early morning church services.

This Sunday, I was adamant about resting. My feet hurt, my body ached, and I was committed to wait out our worship service slouched in my pew. No sooner had I come to this resolution when the church elder gestured for me to stand. “If you give God praise, He will make the tiredness go away,” he said.

Reluctantly I adhered, clapping my hands in obeisance, feeling guilty for my attitude. I clapped my hands a little harder, joining the church in full chorus. Minutes later, and a few songs in, I realized the elder was right – my tiredness was gone, and God had gotten the glory.
Continue reading “A Christian’s Approach to Suffering: 2 Ways to Beat Discouragement”