Thursday, June 30, 2016

Petition Four: Daily Bread + more reflections on the first petition

WSC Q. 104. What do we pray for in the fourth petition?
A. In the fourth petition, which is, Give us this day our daily bread, we pray that of God’s free gift we may receive a competent portion of the good things of this life, and enjoy his blessing with them.

I said this in the first week that I started the petitions of the Lord's Prayer: When I pray, I normally dive right into the things I want for myself and for people that I love.  I certainly start with praise and thanksgiving, but that is quite brief compared to what Jesus teaches.

When we pray, he wants us to put our wants and needs in fourth place.  This is just behind our prayers to God to help us do his will on earth which is ahead of asking for his Kingdom to come on earth whether immediately or in progressive increments.  All of this is less important than our desiring that we keep God's name holy and that others do the same.

But in all of this, God does want us to come to him for things that we want and need.  We don't have to be completely selfless when we pray.  I am just so floored at God's generosity to us in granting this privilege. We can ask for things for ourselves and for those that we love.

I'm going to mention something about the first petition that just now dawned on me.  You know how Christians like myself offend people by commenting that things they post on facebook are offensive?  What if it's a dirty joke with crude words?  What if it's that overplayed "if you don't like x then don't do x" meme?  What if it's some liberal dribble about loving people and not judging (which I believe in, btw, but not in a way that excuses their sins or acts like everyone will go to heaven)?  What if I want people to stop posting such stuff not because I'm some prudish flat-earther who thinks all people should think like me, but because I'm genuinely concerned that they are dishonoring God's name?  You know that if Johnny constantly dishonors God's name by his words and actions that he is calling curses upon himself.  What more loving thing could I do than to simply ask that he examine himself and his beliefs to see if he is truly following God or if he is just trying to impress his friends as more important than God?  God could be using me to answer my own prayer that his name be hallowed.  God could be using me to save him from hell.

Please, people, always keep in mind Ephesians 4 which exhorts us to live worthy of our calling and professions as believers in Jesus and to not live as the nonbelievers do.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Petition Three: Will Be Done

"Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven." "we pray that God, by his grace, would make us able and willing to know, obey, and submit to his will in all things, as the angels do in heaven."  Thus says WSC Q103.  
To me, this is a continuation of the second petition: to pray that God's kingdom will come.  We bring about God's kingdom by knowing, obeying, and submitting to his will.

We certainly don't do it perfectly and cannot do it without the Holy Spirit's guidance, which is why we must pray every day for God to help us to obey him, to love our Lord by obeying him.

This is such an encouragement when you are seeking to be healed from sin and codependency.  While you want to help fix things, you know that you can't and have to rest on what Christ has done and what he will continue to do as he guides you with his Spirit.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Petition Two: Your Kingdom Come

Q. 102. What do we pray for in the second petition?
A. In the second petition, which is, Thy kingdom come, we pray that Satan’s kingdom may be destroyed; and that the kingdom of grace may be advanced, ourselves and others brought into it, and kept in it; and that the kingdom of glory may be hastened.

When we pray for God's kingdom to come, it gives us hope that the ugly death and hatred going on all around us is not how it will always be.  Jesus will come back and establish his Kingdom on earth for all eternity.  Evil will be no more, and there will be no more dying or disobeying God.

At the same time, as we pray for God to send his Kingdom and send it soon, we also should be working to make it as much possible now before he returns.  We should fight abortion, prevent the government from destroying innocent lives, encourage young people to not follow their hearts but to follow the Lord when it come to sexuality, and comfort people who grieve and are questioning God.  And we must make disciples of the Lord who follow his commands.  Help save people from damnation by warning them of their errors while at the same time knowing God ultimately saves and not me.

Also, we simply must not despair as another major shooting happened and evil seems to be triumphing.  In the end, it will not win, and indeed, it has already been lost.  Along with the first petition of the Lord's prayer, we must seek to hallow God's name and bring about his Kingdom and Glory.

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Petition One: Hallowed be Thy Name

The Lord's Prayer is divided into six petitions.  The very first part, "Our Father, who art in heaven," is actually just the opening. Just the same, it is important to know that Christianity is really the only religion where we can call God our Father.  Judaism, Islam, and other religions know about God, but he is not personal, and he certainly has not adopted them into his family.  As Christians, we truly take for granted the privilege that God has allowed to us.

WSC Q. 101. What do we pray for in the first petition?
A. In the first petition, which is, Hallowed be thy name, we pray that God would enable us, and others, to glorify him in all that whereby he maketh himself known; and that he would dispose all things to his own glory.

When I normally pray, the first thing I think of is my own needs.  I also think of people who are sick and to remember both my and Tim's immediate family.  I'll even ask for prayer for the election, our "President" and for God to have mercy on our country.

It is not natural for myself as a human to first think that since I am approaching an infinitely holy God as a sinful human being that I don't even deserve to live, but he has graciously forgiven me and invited me to come to him in his mercy.  What he wants more than anything is to be regarded as holy and for me to live worthy of his Name.

In fact, when I post this blog and go to pray again, I still will not remember the think about caring that I treat God's as holy and pray that the world would begin to do so.  I will praise him and thank him, but I always forget to ask that he help me to honor him and not tarnish his name with what I say or do as someone who walks around using the name, "Christian."

Maybe if I did, I would hear less people using God's name in vain or saying, "Jesus" as if he was merely a curse word or a good luck charm.

Remember the third commandment and the first petition that Jesus taught us to pray when you pray!