Thursday, August 22, 2013
Our Father in heaven,
Hallowed be Your name.
Your kingdom come.
Your will be done
On earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our debts,
As we forgive our debtors.
And do not lead us into temptation,
But deliver us from the evil one.
For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.
(Matthew 6:9-13 )
There’s something different about the Lord’s Prayer.
Most prayers ask God for something for an individual:
“Lord, please heal Aunt Suzy of cancer.” Or, “Lord please help me be a
There is nothing wrong with either of those prayers, but the prayer
Jesus taught us doesn’t contain a single reference to any individual
other than God. In fact, the singular feature of this prayer is that it
always asks for us.
Our Father, give us, forgive us, our debts, our debtors, not lead us,
That’s shocking stuff for someone who grew up during the “Me
Generation.” Even more shocking is that when one picks up the Bible
to find out how to straighten out a life gone wrong, careful study
reveals the central message of the greatest self-help book ever written
It’s not about me!
What? Wait a minute! I deserve a break today! I get to have it my way!
Because I’m worth it!
For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life
for my sake will find it. (Matthew 16:25 )
Now, wait a minute. Sure, being a good person and helping others is all
very fine and well, but you have to look out for number one. Don’t you?
You have to love yourself before you can love others, right?
And he answered, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart
and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your
mind, and your neighbor as yourself.” (Luke 10:27 )
But what about me? That verse doesn’t even mention me.
And he said to all, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny
himself and take up his cross daily and follow me." (Luke 9:23 )
Deny myself? But, I’m supposed to be happy!
But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were
still sinners, Christ died for us. (Romans 5:8 )
What? You mean we’re supposed to believe the very Son of God would
die for us, before we quit smoking and drinking and cursing and sleeping
late on Sunday mornings when we could have been in church?
These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that
your joy may be full. (John 15:11 )
What things? What would bring me joy like that?
As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love. If
you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have
kept my Father's commandments and abide in his love. (John 15:9-10 )