God’s Kingdom will reign on earth no matter what we do, but we ask Him to use us to make it happen. We also pray that He would send His Word and the Holy Spirit to help us believe in Jesus.
Your Kingdom Come
Read Romans 14:17
Underline: the kingdom of God is … righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit
Margin: Send me your Spirit, Lord.
Read 1 Peter 2:12
Underline: Keep your conduct among the Gentiles honorable, so that … they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day of visitation.
Margin: Send me in your Spirit, Lord.
Read Isaiah 55:11
Underline:my word … shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it.
Margin: God’s kingdom will come
God does not need our help making His kingdom come. In fact, it will come whether we help it along, fight it every step of the way, or do nothing. But we pray that God would send His Holy Spirit to rule in our hearts and establish His kingdom there first. But we also pray that He would use us to bring His kingdom about, as we are sent out in the Holy Spirit to live lives that point to the saving love of Jesus. When we aren’t sure if we’re being effective, we remain encouraged.
Your Will Be Done
Read John 6:40
Underline: For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who looks on the Son and believes in him should have eternal life
Margin: God wants to save me.
Read 1 Timothy 2:4
Underline: who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.
Margin: God wants to save everyone.
Read Romans 16:20
Underline: The God of peace will soon crush Satan
Margin: God’s Will frustrates Satan.
God’s desire for you is that you would know Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior. He created you and He’s crazy in love with you. He doesn’t want you to go to hell, but to instead spend eternity with Him in heaven. Not only that, but He wants all people to be saved. Here we pray that God’s desire would come true for all people: that they would accept Jesus as Lord. God’s will also “frustrates” the plans of Satan. Satan carefully lays plans to lead us away from Jesus, but God disrupts that plan with His Word, bringing hope and life to His people where Satan would send despair and death. Ultimately, God will defeat Satan once and for all, casting him into the fiery pit of hell.
God, our loving Father, is the sole recipient of our worship and prayers. We are to keep His Name holy.
Overview of Prayer
Read Revelation 22:8-9
Underline: Worship God.
Write: Pray to God alone
Read Romans 8:26
Underline: the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words.
Margin: Pray in the Spirit
Read 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
Underline: pray without ceasing
Margin: Pray a lot!
Read Matthew 6:5-8
Underline: when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.
Margin: Pray from the heart.
Read Matthew 6:9-13
Underline: Pray then like this
Margin: The Lord’s Prayer
God is to be our sole focus of prayer. Only He can hear and answer prayers. We don’t pray to angels, dead saints or loved ones, or other objects, but to God alone. He not only invites us to pray continually, but partners with us as the Holy Spirit prays on our behalf when we don’t know what to say. Jesus also gave us specific words to pray when we don’t know what else to pray for, what we know as the Lord’s Prayer. So when we are uncertain what to pray, we can confidently pray this.
Our Father in Heaven
Read Luke 11:11-13
Underline: If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!
Margin: God gives good
God tells us to approach Him as a loving Father. He is able to provide all things good to us and never fails us.
Hallowed Be Your Name
Read Jeremiah 23:28
Underline: but let him who has my word speak my word faithfully.
Margin: HALLOW God’s Name.
Read Matthew 5:16
Underline: let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.
Margin: HALLOW God’s Name.
Read Romans 2:23-24
Underline: breaking the law … The name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles because of you.
Margin: HOLLOW God’s Name.
Hallowingand Hollowingare two similar, but opposite words. Hollowingis the more common and familiar word. It means to take substance or value out of something. So if I hollowout a piece of wood, all that would be left is the outer shell. It is less than it once was. Hallowingis like adding or protecting the value that is already there. While we can not make God’s Name any more holy than it already is, we can protect the value of God’s Name by using it correctly.
Similar to the 2nd Commandment (You shall not misuse the name of the Lord your God), we hallowGod’s Name by using it correctly. Through teaching God’s Word, pointing attention back to God for our good deeds instead of ourselves, and calling on His Name when we are in trouble, we hallowHis Name. Conversely, we hollowGod’s Name when we publicly say we believe and trust God, but continually disobey Him. In other words, when we talk the talk, but don’t walk the walk.
Make a wish. I loved hearing that phrase as a child on my birthday. You’ve probably heard or said the same thing. If you make a wish and blow out all the candles on one try, your wish will come true. The possibilities were endless! You mean, I can have anything I want? And all I have to do is blow out these candles?
Imagine my dismay when my wish was never fulfilled. I suppose I could have increased my chances by going with something “easy” to fulfill, but I just couldn’t resist wishing for a super power. Usually it was flying, but the ability to climb like Spider-Man or be as strong as Superman were also contenders.
I probably should have bet on a sure thing like “let me have the first piece of cake” or “let me get a gift from my parents.” No, it always had to be something wild and crazy. But what if you really could make a wish and have it come true? What if it really was as easy as blowing out some candles?
Does your prayer life feel like birthday wishing sometimes? Maybe you’re asking for the wrong things. God has promised to answer certain requests in the positive every single time we pray! Maybe it’s time to bet on the sure thing!
If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. James 1:5
Here’s an idea: ask God for wisdom. He’s already promised to give it. And if God has promised it, He has to do it. He can’t lie, so He will give it.
How much better to get wisdom than gold! To get understanding is to be chosen rather than silver. Proverbs 16:16
Let’s bet on the sure thing: Wisdom is better than gold.
What “enemies” do you have in your life? If you were to ask me who the enemies are in my life, I might look at you like you’re crazy. I can’t think of anyone that I would consider an enemy. I can point to people in history or around the world that might be considered “enemies” of the United States or Christianity. But enemies in my own life?
I suppose it depends how you define enemy. Instead of the traditional sense of the word, what if we define it as those people who continually frustrate you, that keep hurting you, that make your life miserable every chance they get. I can certainly point to some of those people and you probably can as well.
And Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” Luke 23:34
Did you know the Bible describes you and me as enemies of God? Prior to Jesus’ death on the cross, that’s what we were. And yet Jesus, in His final moments before death, called out to the Father on behalf of His enemies—on behalf of us.
What great love! Jesus was whipped, beaten, tortured–not just by the guards that day but by you. And me. We held the hammer and the nail along with the guards that day. We were in the crowd taunting Him that Friday afternoon to “save himself” as He saved others. We were enemies of God.
Yet Jesus prayed for us in His final moments. Then He died that we might no longer be enemies of God, but instead be called friends.
Have you ever had an experience where you were so lost in your own thoughts that you didn’t realize what was going on around you? It happens to me from time to time. I’ll get lost in thought and not realize I walked past my destination. Or occasionally while driving, I find myself going a little too fast because I was so engrossed in my own thoughts (though that happens less frequently now with cruise control!).
Often, this happens without my realizing it. I don’t try to “zone out” from the world and get lost in my own thoughts—it just happens. Hannah had a similar experience while she was praying. She desperately wanted a son and frequently came before the Lord pleading for one. On one such occasion, she was so lost in prayer that Eli the priest thought she was drunk! Here’s what Samuel (her eventual son) writes:
As she continued praying before the Lord, Eli observed her mouth. Hannah was speaking in her heart; only her lips moved, and her voice was not heard. Therefore Eli took her to be a drunken woman. And Eli said to her, “How long will you go on being drunk? Put your wine away from you.” But Hannah answered, “No, my lord, I am a woman troubled in spirit. I have drunk neither wine nor strong drink, but I have been pouring out my soul before the Lord. 1 Samuel 1:12-15
When was the last time you got lost in prayer? Maybe you never have, or maybe it was just yesterday. Hannah was so consumed with her Lord that she became lost in prayer. She was so desperate, she had no choice but to be lost in prayer!
What are your deepest, most desperate desires and dreams? Maybe it’s time to pour out your soul before the Lord as Hannah did. Maybe it’s time to get lost in conversation with the God who loves you and stopped at nothing to make you His own.
College was one of the best spiritual experiences of my life. I started to think seriously about my faith in Jesus during late High School, but it was in college that my faith really took off. It was a Christian school with lots of opportunities for spiritual growth.
I took lots of theology classes and learned so much from them. But as I reflect back on my time, it wasn’t about the classes as much as it was the people around me who showed me what it was to be a Christian in today’s world.
The disciples had an amazing opportunity to learn from Jesus himself about what it means to be His follower. While there may have been some more “formal” teaching, much of what the disciples would have learned was caught rather than taught. They saw how Jesus lived and learned through that experience.
But for whatever reason, they just didn’t understand this prayer thing. They saw John teaching his disciples how to pray and asked Jesus to do the same.
Pray then like this: “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be 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 debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.” Matthew 6:9-12
Unsure how to pray, they simply asked Jesus to teach them. And what a gift they received! They would have learned so much more beyond this prayer from Jesus, but here was a prayer they use no matter what was happening in their lives. They no longer had to wonder if their prayers were “right” or “good.”
Do you struggle with what to say to your Father? Pray then like this. Are you hurting? Pray then like this. Are you worried? Pray then like this. Are you rejoicing? Pray then like this. Do you want to pray like Jesus? Pray then like this.
People who don’t know me well often describe me as outgoing. It’s largely a function of my job, where I interact with lots of people on a regular basis. The reality is that making conversation is usually hard for me. I prefer to let others do the leading and talking, while I sit and absorb. I don’t feel comfortable making conversation sometimes, so I would prefer to just not do it.
Praying can be similar. There are many times where I don’t know what to say to God. Or I know what to say but not how. If only I knew more about how to pray, then I could be a more effective pray-er. Or if I had more time, I could be a more effective pray-er.
Paul gives us some tough instruction on how and when we should pray:
Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
I don’t know about you, but I have a long way to go if I am going to become a Great Pray-er . Too often, I struggle at being effective in my prayer life. Too often I feel inadequate for the task of bringing prayers before Jesus.
Where do you need to improve your prayer life? What are your big struggles? During this series, we’ll be exploring some examples from the Bible about how we might become better pray-ers.
We had what we’re now calling a “Prayer Party” last night for Jennie with our youth group at church. Here’s how the name came about:
On the way to the Lake yesterday, Kelsey was telling me about her experience at camp this year. She told me that she had mentioned some other counselors that she had been at a prayer party just before leaving for camp. The prayer party was a special gathering we had to pray for Annie as she was getting ready for her 2nd surgery.
After a little bit of ribbing and laughing, one of the other counselors asked what that meant. Kelsey told them how we get together and pray for youth who are having surgery. It usually involves goodies of some sort, gifting a blanket to the youth who is having surgery, then laying hands on and praying for them and their family.
After hearing the description, the other counselors expressed how they wished their youth group did the same thing.
It’s funny how “traditions” get started, but the Prayer Party is a fun one for us now. It’s great to see God working through them. And I imagine He might even feel like it’s a party when His kids come together to lift one another up in prayer.
Here’s a little preview of the sermon for you. We’re looking at some of the things the Holy Spirit does in our lives. I was struck anew by this verse while preparing:
26 Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. 27 And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. (Romans 8:26-27)
It seems there’s been any number of times in my life where I just wasn’t sure what to pray for. It’s in those times when it’s in my best interest to just be quiet before God and let the Spirit groan.
Because the Spirit knows what I need, and He speaks the Father’s language. What could I possibly add?
Despite the rainy weather, we were still able to do the prayer walk for Crossroads Sunday School as planned. We made a few modifications so we wouldn’t have to go outside, so we were still able to hit most of our topics in appropriate places. It was fun to see the students walking along and praying in the church. I think lots of people were wondering what we were doing at first!
After church, we celebrated Kelsey and Kay with their families as part of our Everyday Faith Senior Blessing event. We had a great meal prepared by the Canfield family (I left the camera at church, so you’ll have to wait for the photo). Then we did an activity with the families looking back at their journey together and remembering God’s work in their lives.
In between was all kinds of craziness that involved a police officer, a paramedic, two EMTs, and two separate cases requiring medical care. Both people were checked and released and should be just fine. Still, makes for a crazy morning! So proud of all our people who jumped up to help.