The Lord’s Prayer is probably the most familiar prayer that is around. I remember having to recite this prayer at the end of assembly in my senior school … parrot fashion. Sometimes, it is good to repeat something but I think that familiarity can very easily prevent us from seeing just how amazing things are. For example, when was the last time you looked at your hands, I mean really looked at them … go on, have a look now. See the lines and folds, marvel at how your fingers bend, what a design feat to be able to pick up a tiny object between your finger and thumb, and how about that individual pattern of your fingerprint. Something that we use everyday can easily be overlooked.
The Lord’s Prayer is such an incredible tool to teach us how to pray. There are instructional preaches and in depth books that are produced regularly because of this tiny passage of scripture … I am not planning on recreating any of them here! I just want to have a look at two of the things that I find hard, and because Jesus taught on how to pray about it, I reckon I’m not the only one who needs to call out … ‘Help me!’
Living by the provision that He gives, today. My husband and I have been self employed for nearly all our married life. We are used to praying for work to come in. But when I think about this part of the prayer for me personally, I don’t necessarily mean to pray that the bills are paid and that there is literally bread on the table. I guess I don’t necessarily feel the weight of providing for us. I am challenged with how I feel about what He provides. I can easily be like the Israelites and think that I should gather more of what is given and save some for the next day … just in case. But what is my just in case? Do I really believe that GOD will not provide for each day? I guess so. This is a rubbish mindset! My Father always knows what I need and never withholds it from me. I can often compare my life and the circumstances that I have been plonked into with what I think I see that others are in, but then I feel like I’ve been short changed in some way. Again, stinking thinking! He provides a way for me to #seehimineverything even the small an incidental things so that I am given the opportunity to look up. There are times when I forget to ask for provision because I think I can manage ‘quite nicely’ by myself, thankyou. Of course, I run out of energy and capacity, and then slip into failure … and I hate being there! It seems that so much of this would be sorted if I only learnt how to live by the provision that He desires to give me today.
30-33 “If God gives such attention to the appearance of wildflowers—most of which are never even seen—don’t you think he’ll attend to you, take pride in you, do his best for you? What I’m trying to do here is to get you to relax, to not be so preoccupied with getting, so you can respond to God’s giving. People who don’t know God and the way he works fuss over these things, but you know both God and how he works. Steep your life in God-reality, God-initiative, God-provisions. Don’t worry about missing out. You’ll find all your everyday human concerns will be met.
34 “Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now, and don’t get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow. God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes. Matthew 6 30-34 (The Message)
Perhaps this is a Selah (pause and reflect) moment. Perhaps you feel like you need to join me in this prayer … “Help me … to live by the provision that You willing give to me, not striving to grab at what I think I need but trusting that You’ve got it and got me too. Help me … to not look at what others have and think that You have somehow missed me out. Help me … to be content with what you provide. Help me … to know that I have enough for today and You will provide for my tomorrow when tomorrow comes. Help me … to know, not just in my head, but deep in my heart that You are a loving Father who never withholds and fully knows and understands all there is to know and understand about me and what I am facing. Amen”
Forgive just like you forgive me. Now this is a massive challenge! Forgiving others is really hard … But if we really grapple with understanding and experiencing how GOD forgives us, we should be able to extend that out to others. This little line of the prayer reminds me of the story when the woman weeps over Jesus feet and the Pharisee thinks it is disgusting that Jesus is allowing her to even be close to him. Jesus says that she loves much because she has been forgiven much. I think that there is a key in this story. When we realise just how far Jesus went to forgive us and how much we have been forgiven we will overflow with love. Love cannot hate or hold a grudge or demand that it gets returned, it is given freely. Of course, you need to know how much you have been forgiven, to see the depths of it and the expanse of it. To forgive like He forgives is not human nature and is not possible unless we have known it ourselves. Do you know how much you have been forgiven? If you do, you will be able to love to that depth too. There is a warning with this …
14 For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15 But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins. Matthew 6:14-15
If forgiveness is only skin deep, is it really forgiveness? Is that how far you want GOD to forgive you? Forgiving others is a battle, I know it is that is why I need Him to ‘Help me’. But it is battle that needs to be fought. How do you fight it? PRAY! Get your friends to pray, talk to someone more qualified than you to help you to take up arms and fight for this. I’m not saying it is easy. Do you think the enemy wants you to be forgiven? He wants you to be trapped by unforgiveness. It is exhausting … BUT when you have killed the need for retribution, justice, blame (fill in what you are after!) and have entrusted it to The Just One, you will be able to forgive … and you will find freedom and deep forgiveness for yourself too.
Help me to … Live by the provision You give to me today … Forgive just like You forgive me. This is my prayer.
P.S. If you would like to see a little Time lapse of this page, click the link as it wouldn’t let me post it here!