A Personal Interpretation of the Lord’s Prayer

Make Your Name Holy

My Pastor has recently been preaching thru the Sermon on the Mount and his teaching on the Lord’s Prayer was a catalyst of internal revolution. While I have never used this prayer as something to recite I have recently discovered the real blessing of turning the “Lord’s Prayer” into my prayer. After reading my friend Savannah’s blog post this morning I was prompted to finally share a personal interpretation of the Matthew 6:9-13.

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.

-from the Gospel of Matthew

 

God you are high and holy, above all, seated on a heavenly throne, yet you are near. You desire fellowship with me. You desire that I know you as my father.

Make your name Holy. Make it holy through me. Make it Holy to your people. May your very name be whispered with awe.

May your ways come alive in me today. May I live out your kingdom as I walk through this day. May I be an ambassador of your upside-down way of interacting with this world.

Lord grant me what I need today. Be it protection, health, or merely bread. Remind me of my utter dependance upon you this day, every day.

Lord forgive my many sins. May you pour your mercy upon me as I continue to grant that mercy to others. Help me to repent and walk toward you.

Father, please protect me from the temptations that I cannot withstand today and give me the strength and wisdom to bring you glory and be refined by the trials you choose to allow.

Amen.

-a personal interpretation

I highly recommend you taking time to listen to Bro. Wyman’s sermons on the Model Prayer and the Sermon on the Mount as a whole.

I’m grateful for friends and leaders like @SavannahB and @WymanRichardson that inspire me and challenge me. You’d be blessed as well by following and reading them.

photo credit Dennis Peterson

Words about dead men

A friend of mine attended the funeral of a kind and faith-full man yesterday and later he remarked about how we speak about people that have passed on. He said have you ever thought about what kind words we say about the dead? Truly some folks have earned those kind words but,

“I don’t want people to lie at my funeral”

In other words don’t candy coat who I am. I know and Jesus knows, so let my life be a testimony not to me but to him.

My eulogy should read something like,

He was not always kind. He was often gruff, unmerciful, unloving, and selfish.

He failed his wife and kids on a weekly basis.

His witness was hesitant.

He made ever mistake in the book.

He struggled with being lured by the vain things of this world.

Jesus loved Him anyway. If Jesus can love and use someone like Keith just think what he can do with you.

 

While I know I’m a work in progress the truth is there is no reason to lie at my funeral either. Feel free to tell the other broken, struggling, and messed up people in the room that Jesus came to seek and save them.

On this Good Friday I’m mindful of one other eulogy uttered by a Roman officer after seeing a Jesus die, “Truly this was the Son of God!” Matt 27:54

Take a look at the cross today and place your faith in a dead man. The Lamb of God that was sacrificed in your place. Stick around cause this story ain’t over yet.

 

A Matter of Focus and Faith

A few years ago I instituted a “digital fast” for one week the beginning of January and the first week of June. I wish I could tell you that over the past 2 years I’ve become a master at this practice but the truth is I still struggle with the practice. I easily find myself dreading it as it arrives but as the hours grow short to the time of fasting I begin to reach a peace in considering it’s purpose.

It hasn’t changed much since when I first wrote about the fast in 2010,

I’m seeking balance, perspective, discipline, introspection, and quietness. I have issues with that whole “be still and know that I’m God” idea and that is my focus for this week.

You might say I’m a slow learner.

As a approach this time of tuning out I’m mindful of a few areas that need some attention,

A Matter of Focus

I need more airplane mode time

Airplane mode is an action and mindset taken from the setting on your iPhone that disables all connectivity. It’s the practice of putting your smartphone into airplane mode and focusing on just being present. As my friend @sarabethjones would say,

“Real people, right here”

I do pretty well about being in airplane mode in the evenings at the family dinner table but its a practice that is easy to let slip. I need to be more conscious about putting the thing down and stepping away.

Savor the “downtime”

A vast majority of my downtime is consumed with my iPhone. Twitter, Facebook, news, etc… Instead its time to pick up something that will matter much more in 6 months. A writing journal, a book, a Bible, or just pause and be quiet.

The truth is: I have a habit of running away from quiet.

It’s probably the impetus for this season of fasting in my life. It allows me to be alone with my thoughts instead of considering how to frame them into 140 characters. The moments I capture on Instragram are instead enjoyed by pausing and individual appreciation.

This fast always reveals how easily I reach and swipe this precious tether to the world. It’s also the reason I do it 2x a year because I so easily forget the lesson.

As I approach 2013, and turning 35 this June its time to seize the day on some areas that have been too long neglected.

  1. Sleep – The sad fact is so many things in my life hinge on having enough sleep that I can arise early and seize the day. Medicine and CPAP masks have helped tremendously and now its time to put more value on a regular and adequate sleep pattern.
  2. Health – I’m weak and fat and I’m beginning to feel it. I weighed myself and holy smokes that was a scary number. Not to mention I’m not getting any younger. First some small steps but its time I start looking at lifelong practices that give me more strength and vitality to enjoy life.
  3. Mind – The list of books I have to read is way to long. I’d like to read 24 this year but to set attainable goals we’ll start with 3 books by Mar 1.

So why do I share all of this?

  1. I share about my digital fast because I’ll be disconnected for 8 days and I want people to know why. (No screen time that isn’t req’d for work, so call or txt me if you need me.)
  2. Simply put our rate of technology adoption is often faster than we can learn to use it well. I hope it may encourage you to evaluate how and when you connect and converse and see if the practice of unplugging might help you.

and you don’t have to take my word on it…

“I used to believe that time was the most important thing I have, but I’ve come to believe differently. The single most valuable resource I have is uninterrupted thought.” – Adam Brault

A Matter of Faith

And since this is as much a matter of faith as it is focus I’d be remiss by not mentioning the spiritual principle of solitude. Richard Foster wrote the following in “Celebration of Discipline” (one of the most magnificent and challenging books I’ve ever read, I highly recommend it).

“Our fear of being alone drives us to noise and crowds. We keep up a constant stream of words even if they are inane.”

There is great precedent in the life of Jesus for the discipline of solitude (40 days in the desert, many nights spent alone praying, etc…).  Solitude is not about isolation but a focus a listening. Inner quiet is needed for realignment. Foster calls it “reorienting our lives like a compass needle.” I wander off track easily and use noise as way to ignore that which I should be listening to… namely the voice of Truth. Truth about myself, truth about this world, and truth about what it means to follow Jesus and seek to glorify God.

My spiritual focus this week is Matt 5-6 as it will be for much of 2013.

 “Now when Jesus saw the crowds, he went up on a mountainside and sat down. His disciples came to him” Matt 5:1

May those last 5 words be true of me this week and every week following. God Bless.

Finding Grace after Failure

Have you ever completely blown it?

As a father, friend, believer, husband, son… In every aspect of my life I can point to times of miserable failure. Instances where I was the exact opposite of what I am called to be. That point of despair and failure that causes me to question the extent of God’s love.

Then I think of Peter.

Peter told Christ that when all others fall away he would be faithful even to death. Within 24 hours Peter denied knowing or following Christ 3 different times.

Can you imagine how Peter felt? An utter failure, unworthy of love, and unforgivable.

…then Sunday came

A couple of ladies found an empty tomb guarded by angel, an angel with a very specific message,

“Do not be alarmed. You seek Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He has risen; he is not here. See the place where they laid him. But go, tell his disciples and Peter that he is going before you to Galilee. There you will see him, just as he told you.” Mark 16:6-7

Did you catch that? Go tell the disciples… And Peter.

The message of Christ’s resurrection came with direct instructions to go tell Peter.

Christ had a clear message to Peter, I died knowing you would fail. I still love you. My grace is sufficient.

Hope, grace, forgiveness… All from the outstretched nail-scarred hands of Jesus.

Praise God that He is a Savior that says “Go tell Peter…”

Friend, do what you came to do

Jesus has been praying for hours in the Garden of Gethsemane wrestling with what was ahead. Imagine the loneliness. His closest disciples were sleeping and even if they’d been awake they could not conceive what the next days would bring. Judas and the soldiers arrive and after the betrayal kiss Jesus says,

“Friend, do what you came to do.” –Matthew 26:50

Of all the things Christ could have justly called Judas he chooses the word Friend.judas-iscariot

Can you imagine standing there knowing you sold out this man for 30 coins and he calls you friend? Even in this time of ultimate betrayal I hear the compassion in Christ’s voice.

What’s more astounding is to consider that Christ was not surprised by the betrayal but knew it before he ever formed Judas in his mother’s womb. Years of walking with Judas, teaching him, breaking bread together all the while knowing this man would hand you over.

It’s compassion beyond comprehension.

Who will betray?

A few hours before at the Last Supper Christ told the disciples, “one of you will betray me”. As my Pastor pointed out this evening each began introspection asking Christ, “Is it I, Lord?”

Who will betray him? The difficult answer is every one of us.

I will bring shame to Him, sin against Him, despise Him, and betray Him.

I will be disloyal, defiant, and ungrateful.

But God…

Hallelujah let me tell you about this “but God”

“But God shows his love for us that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” – Romans 5:8

Christ knowing all this chose to die in my place and pay for my sins so I might be reconciled to a Holy God.

He chose to call me friend.

I choose to call Him Lord.