LOOKING TO PRAISE AND WORSHIP JESUS THE CHRIST, THE SON OF THE LIVING GOD. 18 No man has ever seen God at any time; the only unique Son, or the only begotten God, Who is in the bosom [in the intimate presence] of the Father, He has declared Him [He has revealed Him and brought Him out where He can be seen; He has interpreted Him and He has made Him known].

Saturday, March 24, 2007

"OUR FATHER"

How often do you pray the “Lord’s Prayer” or, as it is called in other traditions, the “Our Father?” Does your congregation pray the “Lord’s Prayer” in unison? I grew up in a church where praying written or memorized prayers was looked down on. One was supposed to pray “from the heart” and memorized prayers simply could not be from the heart. And besides, only Catholics prayed such prayers and we all knew where they were headed!

Last year I was looking for something to enrich my personal devotional and prayer life. Not that there was anything drastically wrong with the way it was. I was praying. I was reading my Bible devotionally. I just sensed an urging of the Holy Spirit to bring a little more discipline to my disciplines.

I have long been a student of church history. I was reading the Church Fathers and wondering about how they prayed. They seemed to observe regular times of prayer throughout the day. Then I came to St. Benedict and his ordering of the times of the prayers of his monks, or the daily offices. Both before and after the Reformation there were many examples of a “Book of Hours,” or personal prayer books which were generally owned only by people who could read and afford books.

This reading peaked my curiosity about praying at set times throughout the day. I have many manuals for prayer in my library. I got them down and studied them. I bought a new one, The Divine Hours by Phyllis Tickle. In short, I have been practicing the daily offices of prayer for about six months now and my prayer life has been revolutionized.

Most importantly, I have learned what it means to “pray without ceasing.” When I pray more often during the day I find myself continually turning my mind back to God in prayer during the “in between” times. I have learned a great deal about praying scripture back to God and meditating on the Psalms. I have had the “boundaries” of the subjects of my prayers broadened. God has used this discipline to work deep changes in me.

What does this have to do with the “Lord’s Prayer?” Since beginning this discipline I have been praying that prayer at least four times every day. At first I had some doubts about the value of doing that. I was tempted to skip it sometimes, but I pressed on and the results have been amazing! The Lord is teaching me things I never thought of before.

Mark honored me by asking me to contribute to this blogsite and I think I will dedicate my occasional contributions to reflections on the “Lord’s Prayer.” I will share what God is showing me in the hope that it will prove a blessing to any who read it.

“This, then, is how you should pray: ‘Our Father…’” Our Father! See how much my relationship with the God of the universe is changed! I have been taken from being an enemy of God to being one of his children! The redeeming work of Jesus on the cross has lifted me from the realm of Satan into the kingdom of heaven. As a child of the King I am a prince of the kingdom. God is not only my King but he is my loving Father. I can run to him as often as I want and he will be there to hear me. I can sit at his feet and listen to his voice and find comfort and peace.

Jesus taught us to pray “our” Father. He identifies himself with us! He honors us by recognizing us as his brothers and sisters. He is saying, “I want you, my disciples, to address my Father as your Father. He is our Father!” This thought alone has given the first two words of the “Lord’s Prayer” more sweetness to my soul than I ever could have imagined!


7 Comments:

Blogger bluecollar said...

Yes! This was Great! Focus on The Lord's Prayer - Please, please keep it coming! I'm so glad you accepted the invitation to post here.

I need this type study! Thank you, Dave!

Between you, Wayne and Gayla the readers of this blog are greatly blessed!

March 24, 2007 9:23 PM

 
Blogger jazzycat said...

Our Father! What a great thought and joy it is to consider that. Just that thought alone should bring peace to our hearts.
Wayne

March 24, 2007 10:23 PM

 
Blogger Baptist Girl said...

Hi Dave,
Amen, prayer is so important to a christian. I am reading a devotional by Andrew Murray called "Teach me to Pray". It is excellent.

Becareful for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all undersatanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
Phillipians 4 6-7 KJV

Cristina

March 25, 2007 6:17 AM

 
Blogger 23 degrees said...

I never thought of Jesus identifying himself with us in this prayer. This in itself is good insight.

So you are saying the discipline of praying this prayer 4x a day helped to remind you to pray in the in-between hours. I can see that. Would love to hear more on what you learned in doing this.

Have you read the new Yancey book on prayer? I have not, but it's on my list.

March 26, 2007 12:08 AM

 
Blogger Gayla said...

Dave, wonderful post! Taking note of the recommended books, too.

March 26, 2007 9:55 AM

 
Blogger Sista Cala said...

Daniel prayed at regular intervals throughout the day. This was noticed by his peers and was used to trap him. It was also the means of showing his unfailing committment to serve God regardless of the onslaught of vengeance against him.

Praying the Word of God is powerful. Jesus Himself used the Word against satan's temptations. When we pray the Word of God, we are re-enforcing the Word within ourselves. I say again, this practice is powerful.

March 26, 2007 8:03 PM

 
Blogger Shiloh Guy said...

Thanks to you all for the kind welcome to Bluecollar! It feels like some kind of postmodern family, doesn't it? I wish there was some way we could have a reunion somewhere with our families and get to know each other better! Anyway, thanks for the kind words and the encouragement.

Dave

March 26, 2007 10:42 PM

 

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