The Lord’s Prayer part 2

Finally, the start of this teaching:

9 “This, then, is how you should pray:

“‘Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
10 your kingdom come,

Jesus starts off his teaching of the disciples on prayer this way:

This is how you should pray!

Now I don’t know about you, but any time Jesus specifically says this is how you do something, then we need to pay really good attention! Jesus has already set the scene (see past 2 days entries), where he teaches us to find a private, quiet place alone and then to pray simple words (not fancy religious babble).

First point is the prayer is addressed to the Father. And Our Father who is in heaven. At the start of the prayer, I am reminded that God is not only God (the Almighty creator of heaven and earth, who is worshiped 24×7 as the Holy One), but that he is my Father. Jesus taught us elsewhere to call God the Father “Abba” (daddy). So the prayer starts of by addressing our father (one who we know loves us as a father) who is in heaven. I am so encouraged when I think of Him being in heaven, where he is preparing a place for me.

His name is to be adored “Hallowed be thy name”.

Then Jesus prays this…

“Thy Kingdom come”

Noe stop right there. Do you know what the kingdom of God is? It is firstly the central theme of the New Testament, but it means were God is in total control. When God created the heavens and the earth (Gen 1) he created everything that was good. This was the kingdom of God on earth. Everything followed God’s purpose and plan. When the kingdom of God comes, then God’s will happens. The Jewish people knew that when the kingdom of God comes, then fighting and war would end. Sorrow and sadness and sickness would come to an end. Thee would be no more anger and bitterness and gossip, and hating one another.

When the kingdom of God comes, there will be no sickness. Wherever Jesus walked while he walked the earth, the kingdom of God manifested. If someone was sick, Jesus healed them. Miracles happened. The dead were raised to life, and blind eyes were opened. Those in captivity to leprosy and demonic power, were set free.

In Revelation 21 we see a picture of how things will be when the kingdom of God comes fully.

 3 And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. 4 ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”

When Jesus was on earth, this is what followed him – the dead came back to life and the sick were healed. Jesus said at times that the “Kingdom of God is near” and at other times he said “the kingdom of God is here” and “the kingdom is within you”. I don’t want to get into the whole teaching on the Kingdom of God, but if you want a comprehensive study, check out books by Derek Morphew on the subject.

The important thing to understand is what the kingdom of God looks like. And Jesus tells us to pray “thy kingdom come”. The exciting thing about praying this is that you can pray the kingdom to break through in your life and circumstances. This means that what you are really praying for is supernatural intervention and provision in your life. if you are sick and you pray “thy kingdom come” you are inviting God’s kingdom power into your world and that will transform and heal. If you are struggling financially, God’s kingdom power can break the power of debt and lack because there is no debt and no lack in His kingdom.

So from no on when you pray this prayer, and you pray “thy kingdom come”, remember what you are asking God to do. You are inviting His kingdom to break out in your life and in your family and business and church, with God given power and abundance. And the best part of it all is that Jesus told us to pray this. He would never have told us to pray this unless it was possible (and likely) that God the Father will answer by sending his kingdom into our daily walk, as we ask it of him.

Wow, I hope you are excited by that. I am!

 

The Lord’s Prayer part 1

Jesus tells his disciples that if they want to know how to pray then this is the way to pray:

Jesus tells his disciples in Matthew ch 6:

5 “And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full.6 But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.

First of all Jesus tells his disciples where to pray. He says public prayer is fine, but the reward is being seen. However, powerful prayer is prayer that takes place away from other people, in the privacy of your room, or anywhere quiet and private. Why did Jesus say close the door? Because this will ensure that you purpose in your heart to get alone with God and pray. Intentional, private, secret prayer to the Father is rewarded!

Jesus said the Father WILL REWARD YOU. Every time. Isn’t that amazing? I am sure you have not often thought of prayer this way, but Jesus is absolutely clear on this: pray in private to God your Father, and He will see it and hear it and He will reward you. Now the moment many people think about reward, they think money. I don’t believe this is what Jesus is referring to but remember that James tells us that God is the Father of Lights and he is the giver of all good gifts. The reward you get may be anything from peace, to assurance, to improved relationship, to deeper closeness with God – anything really. But Jesus says that when we pray like this , God the Father will give us a reward.

I do’t know about you, But I find that special and amazing.

7 And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. 8 Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.

Jesus teaches her that we can keep things really real and simple with God. There is no need to speak fancy, religious sounding words. Just keep it simple and real, for this is what the Father seeks.

Now I have kept you waiting for two days before getting into the meat of the prayer, so please come and check tomorrow as you will not be disappointed. God bless you as you go now or later today to seek a quiet place to speak to Him, and remember to be real simple and honest with God. And after your prayer time, rejoice for He will reward you.

 

Really Understanding the Lord’s Prayer

How many times have yo recited the Lord’s prayer?

I bet thousands and thousands of times. When I was young, we recited this every day at school before we sat down. I think of those days as “the good old days” because now all trace of “religion” has been removed from the schools in South Africa (and most likely wherever you live too). I see Christianity as a life lived with the God who made me – it’s a relationship (where we share life together) and not a religion (a set of rules and traditions to live by).

Having been someone who recited the Lord’s prayer many times, and having subsequently grown into an adult and heard many sermons given on prayer and the Lord’s prayer, you may be surprised (as I was myself) to discover that the power I have always known must be in the prayer, IS INDEED THERE, but I never understood it.

I have served the Lord in many churches (as an elder in a few over the last 25 year) and so you would expect I would have always had a really good deep understanding of the prayer. But I was shocked to discover recently that I knew it as a traditional prayer only. A traditional prayer gets recited at various times (sometimes the end of a church service) or at a funeral or a wedding. But then recently God showed me in my spirit what this prayer really is all about. This is the journey I wish to share with my readers. I hope you will be as blessed by this as I have been.

I would love to hear your comments and maybe testimonies as you discover this amazing power with me. I believe you will be blessed, as I have been deeply, deeply blessed. I could even say that since discovering the deeper meaning of this prayer, my life has changed radically and for the better.

The power of blessing part 4

I believe that blessing has a power to transform, and this has been discovered by the Jewish pople for many centuries. The Jews bless their children and pronounce blessing over family members at Shabat each Friday evening.

In Numbers we read about the priestly blessing that God gave to Moses and Aaron. God told Aaron and his sons that this is the way to pronounce a blessing.

Number 6 v 24 The Lord bless you and keep you; 25 the Lord make his face shine on you and be gracious to you; 26 the Lord turn his face toward you and give you peace

The blessing is now an instruction to the priests and God says this is how you must bless.

  • In Jewish tradition, the konahim are to pronounce the blessing, this means any male over 13 may partake in saying the blessing
  • They do not look at the person to be blessed, but rather look down to concentrate on God and the blessing that is being bestowed
  • The blessing comes from the Lord

Only God can bless, but God says “those who bless you I will bless”.

All of this is important because the blessings of Abraham are ours. In fact, under the New Covenant (a better covenant) we who know Christ as Saviour, have way more.

  • Abraham was not a child of God – he was a friend of God
  • He did not have the Holy Spirit
  • Abraham would much rather have lived now in our times

Our better blessing

  • We are born of God – we have Christ’s blood in us
  • We have the spirit of God living in us, making us alive spiritually

The blessing of Abraham is ours

Romans 4 v 16 Therefore, the promise comes by faith, so that it may be by grace and may be guaranteed to all Abraham’s offspring—not only to those who are of the law but also to those who have the faith of Abraham. He is the father of us all. 17 As it is written: “I have made you a father of many nations.” He is our father in the sight of God, in whom he believed—the God who gives life to the dead and calls into being things that were not.

 

  • We receive the promise by faith
  • It is therefore only by grace that we receive the promise
  • Through faith, we become heirs of the promise

But we have a better covenant

Psalm 32 Blessed is the one whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered. 2 Blessed is the one whose sin the Lord does not count against them.

Through knowing Jesus, and through our adoption as sons and heirs to all that God has, we can walk in His blessing. Not through anything we have done, but through grace.

Lessons from Isaiah 53 v 6

We all, like sheep, have gone astray,
each of us has turned to our own way;
and the Lord has laid on him
the iniquity of us all.

The message that Jesus came to bring is this: everyone can come to God and receive forgiveness. Everyone needs to do so, because everyone has sinned. Romans 3v23 says “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God”. People are really like sheep. We seldom really think for ourselves, and each of us has gone astray. We have turned off the path God wants us to walk on.

Jesus came to seek and save the lost. Since we have gone astray, we are lost. Therefore we are all those whom Jesus has come to save. Paul said that his message was to the Jews first and then also to the Gentiles (non-Jews). Jesus gave the parable of the lost sheep, where one sheep goes astray and the shepherd leaves the 99 sheep that are safe to go and find the one that has become separated. And that is the message of salvation, that God sent His Son Jesus, from heaven to find those who have gone astray.

But going astray has a cost attached. We all go astray because of the list of the flesh. The lust of the flesh means our own selfishness. We want things our way and we want it now. That is sin. Simply rebelling against God’s way is sin. In fact the Bible goes even further by saying that “to him who knows to good and does not do it, to him it is sin” (James 4v17). But continuing from vs 5, God has taken the iniquity (see yesterday’s post) of us all and laid it on Jesus. This prophecy in Isaiah ch 53 is about Jesus who would come to fulfill this passage hundreds of years later.

 

Lessons from Isaiah 53 v 5

But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed.

This prophecy is amazing in that it came hundreds of years before the death of Jesus.  But Isaiah speaking by the power of the Holy Spirit, could see into the future, and tells us of a time that is coming when God will secure our peace and healing through punishment. However the punishment will be on “him”. Piercing is a clear reference to the way that Jesus died. Crucifixion was  unbelievably cruel. It was so cruel that the Romans even abolished it eventually, as it was inhumane.

Jesus died by being nailed to a cross. In this way he was pierced. His hands and feet were pierced and the scars remained even after Jesus rose from the dead. Remember that Thomas did not believe it was Jesus, after Jesus appeared to him post his resurrection. Thomas said that unless I can put my hands into the nail-prints, I will not believe. Then Jesus invited Thomas to do so, and at that point Thomas believed. Jesus was pierced / crucified because of our transgressions. Transgressions is another word for sins. Jesus died for our sins. Our means yours and mine. Jesus took your sins and mine onto himself when he died.

Then Isaiah says he was crushed for our iniquities. Transgressions is probably a less harsh word. It is more like the word we might use today meaning our mistakes. Our errors. But iniquities refers to evil. Our evil nature that causes us to sin. Jesus died for it all. God crushed Jesus. How did this happen? I believe this happened by God placing the entire wight of the sin of the world onto Jesus. That weight would crush anyone. I think there is also a more subtle meaning – in that when God the Father turned His back on His Son as Jesus was abandoned on the cross, Jesus said “My God why have you forsaken me?”(Matthew 27:45-46) – I believe that Jesus was crushed in spirit at that time.

Why did Jesus die?

He died to bring us peace with God and He died to bring us healing. When you have sin in your life, you cannot be at peace with God. But Jesus removes sin. the Bible says that our sins are removed as far as the east is from the west (Psalm 103 v2). The sin which keeps us from having peace, is now gone and we have peace with Almighty God.

And finally by his wounds we are healed.

Many Christians believe as do I, that God brought about divine health and healing to the body of Christ through the death of Jesus. If we were healed, then surely we must be healed in the future. So we can appropriate the healing that Jesus bought for us with his blood. But like all of God’s gifts, they must be received. I encourage you to pray for healing using this verse as the basis of your prayer.

 

Day 7 – Seven Day fast

I survived. and I am so blessed.

The doubters may wonder was it worth it and what will it have achieved. Much has already been achieved:

  • I showed to myself that I love God and am prepared to sacrifice my comfort for Him
  • I was able to set a goal and achieve it
  • I grew closer to God
  • I offered God my forst week of the year of 2102

In the coming days I believe God will bless and that will be a bonus.

Lessons I learned

  1. I can achieve what I set out to do, when my mind is made up
  2. That I can resist fierce temptation
  3. That the flesh can be subjected
  4. That I can eat a lot less
  5. That I should learn to eat when hungry, not at the sight of food

My wake up weight this morning was 84,6kg

A total loss of 5,7kg in 6 days

And boy, did that food taste good tonight.

 

Day 6 – Seven Day fast

Well this is the day I have been looking forward to for the last few days. The day when I could go to sleep knowing that tomorrow I will have stayed the distance, and passed the test. God does not need my fasting. God loves me as much as he ever could. he has already blessed me as much as he ever could. His purpose for me and intention for me is beyond doubt. But I fast so that i can bring my flesh under subjection for myself. In doing so, I am able to hear from God. As the flesh is weak the spirit is strong. In this state of hunger, and weakness, I draw my strength from God. This increases my dependence on him and it increased my ability to draw in and hear him. And there is a spiritual law which says when you do that, you are able to walk more in faith than before. Therefore you please God more as you are more obedient and you start to walk more in the blessings that come from obedience to God.

So tomorrow is the end. Tomorrow night it will be seven full days with nothing but water. For someone who has never fasted before for longer than two days, it is an achievement. But I boast not in my achievement – I boast in Christ. Thank you God for the grace that has sustained me.

I am also thankful to Jo, who has been my encourager to do this. She has led strong and picked me up with scripture when I was flagging. Blessed be the name of the Lord.

And of coyrse for the record – today’s weight was 85,1kg. That is 0.6kg down from yesterday (my smallest day drop in 6 days) but that is to be expected as time goes on. Total weight loss in 6 days – 5,2 kg

Day 5 – Seven Day fast

I am writing this at the very end of day 5. The first three days seemed easier. It’s not that I have felt hungry, but today I have periods of irritability. I find I am tempted by food, more by sight than because I am hungry. Hunger has not been much of a factor all these days, I have to say.

Once I again my life has been made difficult by people eating my favourite pizza in front of me at dinner time. The sight of people eating is not a problem, but the food itself looks appealing, from an appeal point, not a hunger point.

I was busy again today but have enjoyed finding more time to study the Word. I have had a great discussion today with Andre de Villiers, the gospel singer.

Weight wise I weighed in at 85,7kg, which is 1,0kg down and 4,6kg overall in 4 days.