Thursday, August 15, 2013

Thursday, August 15 ~ Miriam

Today's passage from the Bible In a Year Reading Plan is Galatians 1; Psalm 142; Job 11-12
Today's scripture focus is Luke 11:1-2.

It happened that while Jesus was praying in a certain place, after He had finished, one of His disciples said to Him, “Lord, teach us to pray just as John also taught his disciples.” And He said to them, When you pray, say:
‘Father, hallowed be Your name.
Your kingdom come.
I wasn't really sure what I could or should say about these verses.  I mean, really, it's pretty self-explanatory.  The disciples wanted to know how to pray.  I guess they've learned more about God in the short time they've spent with Jesus than they ever believed they could know, but they didn't know how to talk to him.  Have you ever felt that way?  We aren't born knowing how to pray.  We learn how from hearing other people do it.  Many or most of us were raised in Christian homes.  We heard our parents, Sunday School teachers, pastors, Awana leaders, grandparents... pray.  That's how we learned.  I am assuming that the Jewish people back then didn't just pray to God like we do today.  So the disciples, now that they know that God is their Father, want to know how to talk to him.  As an adult who had never spoken to your father before, I imagine you'd probably be tongue-tied, wondering what to say and how to say it.  I don't know, this is all speculation.  Anyway, this is a small portion of Mark Driscoll's sermon, The Lord's Prayer:

Some of you struggle in prayer because you’re too focused on prayer. If you want to grow in prayer, don’t focus on prayer. Get to know the Father. In the same way, if you’re focused on the windshield, you will not drive well. Amen? The goal is you look through the windshield to see where you’re going. You don’t focus on prayer, you focus on the Father. It is through prayer that we connect with the Father, but our focus should not be prayer. It should be Father.

Let me explain this to you. Up until this point in the world’s history, God was not commonly referred to as Father. This is a cataclysmic shift in the history of the world from the lips of Jesus. From the thirty-nine books in the Old Testament that covered, let’s say, a few thousand, roughly, years of human history, on only fourteen occasions do we find that God is called “Father” by his people. Every time it is national, not individual. There was not a concept of God being our personal Father. Jesus comes along, and on sixty occasions says, “Father.” And they actually realize the magnitude of this statement and they seek to put him to death, saying, “You keep calling God your Father. You’re making yourself equal with God.” Which, as the second member of the Trinity, he was and is. And so Jesus teaches us, “Hey, don’t just listen to me pray to the Father. You can do it, too.” This is a great invitation. And of all the words that could have been chosen to reveal to us who God is, “Father” is the one that was chosen.

And so let me explain this to you. The more you get to know God as Father, the easier it will be to talk to your Dad. 

I sometimes focus too much on the manner of prayer and not enough on the communication.  I seem to feel like there is a recipe and you have to put all the ingredients in the correct order.  But then I find that I'm just focusing on the wrong thing.  I end up reciting things I think I'm supposed to say in the order I think they are supposed to go.  This is prayer in my own head.  This is looking at the windshield instead of through it.  This is not communication with my heavenly Father.  May we get to know the Father well, so that we can pray in a heartfelt, communicative way, and not in the manner of a child who's trying to remember a poem he memorized.

Happy Thursday!

Tomorrow's scripture focus:  Luke 11:3-4.
Tomorrow's Bible In a Year Passage passage:  Galatians 2; Psalm 143; Job 13-14.


Roxie said...

SO true! A young boy is staying on the farm over summer and was encouraged to pray over supper last night. I loved hearing it...He tried to use "the recipe" of what he has heard his elders use, but it was beautiful and perfect especially in the places where it was not quite the same, you know? It is tough to describe to kids that praying is "just having a conversation" when we ourselves try so hard to say the "right words" the memorized poem you wrote about. On the other hand, I often wonder why I don't say the Lord's prayer more often. It has all the "right words" in it...just as Jesus taught!

Miriam said...

I should note that I do not have a problem with memorized or repeat-after-me prayers, especially when helping kids learn, but even as adults. I do think there can be a lot of value in reciting the Lord's Prayer, for example, or having a responsive reading in a service. As long as you are thinking about what you are saying and not just rattling it off.

tammi said...

Revive Our Hearts did a series a while back on The Lord's Prayer. Awesome food for thought! posted about teaching kids to pray yesterday and he said, really, any time we pray out loud, we are teaching our children to pray. I think it's hard for some parents to break their kids out of the habit of saying memorized prayers when they get older simply because they, themselves, don't pray out loud. It IS something that takes practice, even though it's supposed to be a conversation with our closest Friend!

Tammy said...

Love these thoughts.

You can go so many different directions with the Lord's prayer (MacArthur has almost a bazillion messages on 4 verses).

I like one thing Chandler pointed out....
whenever you pray, it’s God-centered. Whatever you’re praying about, no matter what it is, the cry of our heart is not for a certain thing but in that certain thing God be magnified. So He’s doing two things in this verse. Both are difficult, both are profound. The first thing He’s saying is, “Hey, don’t forget who the center focal thing
is in the universe. God. God is unraveling this thing. God is telling this story. God is working all things to His glory, to
His name, to His renown. Join God in what He is doing. ‘Our Father, hallowed be Your name.’” If you’ll remember from other gospels, “Your kingdom come, Your will be done.” And then He is exposing the idolatry that exists in all of us. He’s saying here that if you’ve got this thing, whatever this thing is, and it’s your ultimate, it’s your real goal, if you’re pleading and pleading with Jesus to accomplish this thing for you instead of saying “Your will be done,Your name be magnified, Your name be seen as great, Your name be worshiped,” but we go, “I want this, I deserve this, I should get this, I want it to play out this way,” then you’ve got in your heart idolatry. In the end, what we want is not the name and renown of Christ to be exalted, we want what we want. And we’re using Jesus as a means to get that. He’s exposing both of those things with one quick “Here’s how you pray whenever you pray. ‘Hallowed be Your name.’".....

So we’re to say, “Glorify Your name in my circumstances today. Let Yourself be seen great, mighty, powerful, almighty.” And then He’s going to say, “Give me everything I need today to see You hallowed. Give
me today’s portion, give me today’s bread, no more or less than that, so that I might have the strength, mercy, energy, grace and wits to hallow Your name in every area of my life today. So at home, at work, at play, in the life of my mind, in the energies of my heart, give me today my daily bread so that I might hallow Your name.” The prayer is still about God.

Love that.