Made for More- Deeper in Prayer Mathew 6: 9-13
There is that special moment in the mile stone of a child’s growth in uttering the first words. Do you remember your children’s first words? Of course there is usually the clamor between the parents – will the child say Daddy or Mummy first. For some of us may be the word ‘Food’ or ‘Nyonyo’ came first.
But the first communication from a child is a special piece to every parent and in deed the first words are special in any relationship. Every parent anxiously looks out for this first call?
Whose Name will they call? What will they ask for?
When my boys call me as a Father- there is this inner giant in me that wakes up and suddenly no mountain is too big and no valley is too deep for me to cross for the sake of that call.
For mothers’ you have that special thing to know the voice of your child amidst 20 other children. A friend of mine has several boys and not only knowing the cry for each of them but the intensity and pitch – and she can tell the seriousness of the problem based on the pitch of the cry.
We begin the year, as we unfold our theme for 2019 “Exponential Reloaded” Much Deeper, Much Further, Much Wider.
Exponential is a radical way of growth where every believer is energized to multiply themselves through the power of God’s LIFE working in them. Last year, We sensed God igniting us for multiplication and for great things that lie ahead in regards to his mission to reach the lost, restore the world and reproduce disciples. We began this journey last year as we pray for New Contacts, New Converts and New Communities. So this year we are reloading.
Our focus for the first term is: Made for More….We look at growing much Deeper and in the Month of January- We focus on Much Deeper in Prayer.
We established last week that as priority over the plans of this year, we must first seek God through Prayer. We must first seek God as our compass for living this year. We must have our foundations right on the Gospel of Christ, Knowing God must be our first and foremost priority. This is the emphasis of our prayer and fasting campaign over this 3 weeks to seek the will of God and Invite all of us to engage.
In Acts 2:40. The first church committed itself to prayer, I’ve heard it said that the first church prayed ten days, preached ten minutes, and saw 3,000 come to Christ. The modern church prays ten minutes, preaches ten days, and sees a handful come to Christ. Prayer must be an individual and corporate priority now than ever before.
As a parent longs for that first conversation- God longs and draws eagerly when His children Pray. When His children call out His Name, when His children seek His Kingdom and when His children submit to his Will.
This is the focus of our teaching today- The Lord’s prayer in Mathew 6
As E. Stanley Jones has observed
The Lord’s prayer divides up into two parts – the God/side and the man’/side: 1) “Our Father, Thy name, Thy Kingdom, Thy will.” 2) Give us, forgive us, lead us, deliver us,”
The first side is Realignment and the second side is Result. In the first side we realign life to our Father, to His name, to His Kingdom, to His will, and in the second we get the result – He gives us, forgives us, lead us, delivers us. These are the alternate beats of the heart of prayer.
Realignment-Result; Realignment-Result. And each side of the heartbeat is equal – four things in the Realignment and four things in the Result. In other words, you get as much result as you have Realignment, and only that much. The more you realign your purposes to God’s purposes, the more results you get. This then is the rhythm we want to set for this year. How do we realign our lives so that we can see the results we are trusting God for?
So in brief Jesus taught us- Start your prayers by thinking about God, not your problems.
Doug Dickey emphasizes- Matt.6:10 – We often ask God to make us well so that we can do His will. In other words, doing His will comes after He does ours. It should be vice versa. It is possible that our prayers this year start with Lord if you bless me then I will do this for you? If you give me a job, If you give me a…then I will?
Before we get to the ASK, God wants us to Appreciate the Premise of our Asking- In Whose Name? For Whose sake and For what reasons.
As I have shared before, our coming to God, can either be a candy moment or a Daddy moment. A candy moment is when a child sees his father coming from work and runs to him only to take the candy with excitement and run away to play, but a daddy moment is when a child runs to embrace his father just for the assurance and security of knowing that He is there.
So today I want to emphasize on the First bit- The emphasis then, should be on the realignment, and the result will take care of itself. If you are always looking at results, you are on the wrong side of things. (E. Stanley Jones, The Way, p.198)
First – His Name
Up until Now, No one had prayed and addressed God as father, The Jews had known God as the Almighty God a picture of reverence that brought rightful fear. This must have been a strange address for the disciples to hear. He calls God Father- What Confidence? What Assurance? What closeness this name brings. This Name emphasizes on the relationship we have with God, It is that of a father and child.
Father– This is God’s favorite Name. He loves to hear his children call. When we call Him father we remember-
- The love of God that wants the best for us.
- The wisdom of God that knows what is best for us.
- The power of God that can accomplish it.
The Name Father is heavy with meaning: It speaks of our identity and source – It reminds us that we are His children, we belong to him, we are significant and He loves us no matter the prevailing circumstances and He is well bent to do everything for our good. In prayer then- we start from a point of Rest not Despair. Assured of whom we call.
Our right as children of God of course did not come in our merit but through Christ and in Christ- Whose Name we Use and has been given to us to access the father. That is why we rightly say In Jesus Name. It reflects our Faith in Him to approach the father, Our Union with Him and the source of our authority.
It is for this reason that we Honor this Name. The prayer goes on to say Hallowed be thy Name.
Everything God does is for His Names sake- A name represents who and what He is. This is the force behind Prayer. God will do anything to defend His Name and He delights to do that for His children.
How then do we call on God? Has the picture of our earthly fathers marred, this powerful and Hallowed Name of God?
The nature of life is that like the prodigal son, we think we have become too big to detach ourselves from our fathers. It is said, if you want to know the quality of man, watch how he relates with His father. It is possibly the source of the greatest identity and image damage or possibly the greatest strength a man has.
Our heavenly father invites us to receive his love and healing?
But secondly- Thy Kingdom come. But what really is the Kingdom?
For some, the Kingdom is heaven, or a spiritual experience, something we must build, the thousand-year rule of Christ, or part of the end times. Some highlight the rule of God in our hearts. Others emphasize the realm or location of his rule. Each focus of belief identifies important issues but none of these defines the Kingdom adequately.
If heavenly only, then the Kingdom is an inheritance after we die. If spiritual experience, then the Kingdom is subjective and free to everyone’s interpretation. If it is something we build, then it is a product of our activity and effort. If it is the thousand year rule of Christ, then how do we understand all preceding years.
The Kingdom simply put is “God’s eternal Plan” It’s more than just a realm or place. God’s eternal plan gives substance and meaning to everything else in history. It’s the big answer to the question in history “Why”. This plan expresses God’s thought and heart of the matter. This plan ultimately is God himself expressing His LIFE to the world.
In this sense then “The coming of Jesus into the world- Was God trying to say “guys here is my plan” In and through Jesus we see God’s intent and plan.
Jesus taught us to pray “Your Kingdom come, in other words- Let that eternal plan take its full course. We welcome you- Jesus, We welcome God’s Plan, We welcome God’s LIFE to be expressed in and through us.
In this Prayer- we confess that there is a plan already, we don’t need another plan for our lives. The ultimate plan is that God’s LIFE may be fully lived out in our lives.
Thy Will be done on earth as it is in heaven
This then is a prayer of submission to God’s plan. The greatest prayer we can make is God’s will supersedes our Wills. That we do not respond in stubbornness but in loving obedience and submission.
To pray this is not a passive request, a resigned whatever comes let it come, but actively and sometimes painfully yielding to God’s will. This is a call to align ourselves with God’s purposes, Giving him the chance to influence the world through our lives. Sometimes we fear that yielding to God’s will bring bitter trials, sometimes we do not expect him to alter our plans, but we must remember that if our ultimate Goal is to be like Christ- This is God’s greatest joy and should be ours too and if it took Christ the cross, then at times we will embrace the cross, but we can trust that the result is always – He works all things for our good.
In conclusion- In Seeking God first we realign ourselves in His Name, His Kingdom and His will. The outcome is the second part- God’s provision of bread, God’s guidance outside the enemy’s territory and God’s forgiveness for our every sins.