Monday, November 17, 2008

Father's Prayer

Kathi Pelton: The Power of The Father's Prayer

by Kathi Pelton

"Our Father, Who is in Heaven, holy is 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 sins, as we forgive those who sin against us; and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For Yours is the Kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen." Matthew 6:9-13 and Luke 11:2-4

Over the past couple of months, I have found myself beginning each day by praying the entirety of the "Father's Prayer." I have to admit that I have never done this in my entire Christian life. I have prayed the prayer occasionally, but never daily with such a sense of the power of the Holy Spirit backing up these Words. Although I do not know, I would not be surprised to find out that many of God's people around the world are being led by the Spirit to pray these words.

Holy Is Your Name

"Each of the four living creatures had six wings and was covered with eyes all around, even under his wings. Day and night they never stop saying: 'Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty, who was, and is, and is to come.'" Revelation 4:8

It is so appropriate that the first line of the Father's prayer is the echo of what is heard in Heaven both day and night, "Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty..." As Jesus taught His people to pray, He knew the sounds of Heaven and taught us to come into the unity and the sounds of His Kingdom as we approach our Father. As we pray this first line, "...holy is Your name..." we are joining with the angels in raising an anthem of "Who He is."

In our schools here in the USA, the day begins with the Pledge of Allegiance to our nation, and in Canada each Monday morning the national anthem is sung by the students. So, as God's people, we can begin our day with our "pledge of allegiance" or singing the anthem of Heaven that shouts "Holy is Your Name."

As I enter into each new day, I want to declare that He alone is Holy, that He alone is God Almighty, and that He was and is and is to come. Even now my Spirit is rising up as I write this, declaring, "Holy is Your Name!" There is great power in this statement alone. It is an acknowledgement of His Holiness, His might, and His Name being the name above all names.

Stop even now and begin to let your spirit join with the voice of Heaven and say, "Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty, who was, and is, and is to come." I believe this is the most powerful statement we can make. It must be, since the four living creatures never stop saying it! May all His living creatures, in Heaven and on Earth, begin to say both day and night, "Holy is the Lord."

Your Kingdom Come, Your Will Be Done

"...Your Kingdom come, Your will be done on earth as it is in Heaven..."

As God's people we long to see His Kingdom come on earth as it is in Heaven. My greatest desire, above every other desire, is to see the desires of God's heart accomplished in the lives of His people. Though I live with many personal desires, each one of them are laid down at the feet of Jesus and submitted to His desires alone for my life.

Recently, my family took a foster baby into our home. He is a six-month-old, adorable baby boy. Our entire family has fallen in love with this little bundle of joy. Our five teenagers have become the source of his constant entertainment. Though we have less sleep (way less!), less free time, and less energy, we have gladly exchanged these things for the beauty of his little smile, the sweetness of having his little fingers stroke our faces, the tenderness of kissing his cheeks, and the adorable giggle that he releases when we act funny.

But, here's the dilemma: There's another daddy and mommy who love him too and are longing for his return to their arms. In my natural thinking, it would make sense if God gave him to us for adoption since he would be raised in a Christian home, but God understands things in ways that I can never understand or figure out. It just may be God's will for him to return to his birth parents.

Each morning (and sometimes numerous times throughout the day), I pray the Father's prayer over him, "Your Kingdom come and Your will be done..." By doing this, I submit my desire over to His perfect will, knowing that His will carries wisdom that my desire alone will never comprehend. I believe that as God's people do this in every area of their lives, it is a pleasing sacrifice that invites Him to entrust us with the deepest desires of His heart.

Our Daily Bread

"...Give us this day our daily bread..."

As many in these days face economic struggles, there is a reality to the prayer for our "daily bread." Although I believe that this verse is speaking of provision of our daily needs, I also believe that it speaks to the daily needs of us spiritually, emotionally, and in every way. This year, it's often been daily comfort that we needed to eat of.

For our family, 2008 has been an especially tough year as we have faced numerous deaths, the greatest financial struggle of our married life, unexplainable delays and trials that have stretched us and our faith beyond anything we have ever experienced. But God tells us not to worry, because our daily bread will be provided...this is a promise to us. Let's look at this promise in Luke 12:22-34:

"That's why I'm telling you to stop worrying about your life - what you will eat or what you will drink - or about your body - what you will wear. Life is more than food, isn't it, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds in the sky. They don't plant or harvest or gather food into barns, and yet your Heavenly Father feeds them. You are more valuable than they are, aren't you? Can any of you add a single hour to the length of your life by worrying?

"And why do you worry about clothes? Consider the lilies in the field and how they grow. They don't work or spin yarn, but I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was clothed like one of them. Now if that is the way God clothes the grass in the field, which is alive today and thrown into an oven tomorrow, won't He clothe you much better - you who have little faith?

"So don't ever worry by saying, 'What are we going to eat?' or 'What are we going to drink?' or 'What are we going to wear?' because it is the Gentiles who are eager for all those things. Surely your Heavenly Father knows that you need all of them! But first be concerned about God's Kingdom and His righteousness, and all of these things will be provided for you as well. So never worry about tomorrow, because tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own."

As God's people, we struggle with the worry that will come and hit us without advance notice. It is hard in those moments to feel very excited about the faith that we have been called to walk in. But here's the truth: Faith is not a feeling - it is a posture and conscious decision that we make for our lives.

We must daily submit our flesh and it's feelings to the truth that our spirits know. When our family lived as missionaries for a number of years, it rarely "felt" good to not have a weekly paycheck to depend on, but once again, it was not a walk of feelings but rather a walk of faith. Our faith came from the promises of God as we just read in Luke 12. God will give us our daily bread.

Forgive Our Sins

"...and forgive us our sins, as we forgive those who sin against us..."

We have been forgiven of so much! The longer I walk with God the more I realize how much I have been forgiven. It has been like the peeling of an onion. I now see the truth of the sin behind some of the things that seemed permissible in my youth. The good news is that I am not condemned in any of these things because of the merciful forgiveness that flows from God. I understand the words that Jesus speaks about the woman in Luke 7, who washed His feet with her tears and dried them with her hair:

"For this reason I say to you, her sins, which are many, have been forgiven, for she loved much; but he who is forgiven little, loves little." Luke 7:47

Jesus was quick to love and quick to forgive, and I want to be like Him. Whether it was tax collectors, prostitutes, or fishermen - He forgave their sins and poured out His unconditional love upon their lives. We must do the same.

Last week my husband and I were at the memorial service for his best friend's father. During the service, this man's sons got up to speak about coming to the place of forgiving their father for not being everything they needed him to be when they were young. Do you know how they came to this point of forgiveness?

It was when they became men and fathers and began to realize how we all fall short, even when it is our deepest desire to be all that our children want us to be. When they were able to forgive their dad, they began to see all the beautiful gifts that he possessed. Prior to the point of forgiveness, all they could see were his failings, but after forgiveness they saw what an amazing man they were privileged enough to call "Dad."

Forgiveness is a gift that we give ourselves, because when we forgive we set ourselves free. My husband loves to say, "Unforgiveness is like eating rat poison and expecting the rat to die." This is such a true statement. We have been forgiven much so we need to love much. What a great act of forgive someone who has sinned against you!

Even while dying on the Cross, Jesus was forgiving the ones who hung Him there as they divided up His clothing, "Jesus kept saying, 'Father, forgive them, because they don't know what they're doing.'" Luke 23:34

Deliver Us From Evil

"...and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil."

This is such a powerful verse to pray. This is a prayer for God's "keeping grace." I would rather be kept from sin and evil than to have to be forgiven for it! There is so much evil in this world and temptation that is put before us each day that we must ask God to lead us away from it. I am sure if you were to talk to other brothers and sisters who fell into sin in their past, you would discover they needed God to deliver them from temptation, because that came before the sin (evil). I would bet that none of these people desired to fall into sin. None of us want to either, so this simple prayer is important as we walk out our Christian life.

This is a prayer that we should be teaching our young people as they begin to face the many temptations that will dance before them to allure them into evil. Not even Jesus was kept from temptation, although He never gave into any of it. Not one of us is beyond temptation, but we can ask God to keep us from being led into temptation.

Final Thoughts - Thanksgiving

"...For Yours is the Kingdom, and the power, and the glory forever. Amen."

"Enter His gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise; give thanks to Him and praise His name."--Psalm 100:4

As I have been beginning each day with the Father's prayer, I have also been reminded of another verse to enter each day with. Psalm 100:4 exhorts us to enter into His gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise. I want to enter into each day with thanksgiving and praise. Thanksgiving is the key to open the gates, and praise is the way to go through His courts.

I also want to encourage each of you to enter each day with thanksgiving and praise. As we pass through our U.S. holiday called Thanksgiving, let us mark this day with the beginning of a year that we release thanksgiving each and every day to our God. As our nation enters into a new era with a new President, let us open up the gates for the King of Glory to come in with thanksgiving and praise.

"Lift up your heads, O you gates; be lifted up, you ancient doors, that the King of glory may come in. Who is the King of glory? The Lord strong and mighty, the Lord mighty in battle. Lift up your heads, O you gates; lift them up, you ancient doors, that the King of glory may come in. Who is He, this King of glory? The Lord Almighty - He is the King of glory." Psalm 24:7-10

Kathi Pelton

Light Streams Ministries


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