A very good friend of mine, Grey, listened to my recent podcast on the Lord’s Prayer and had some things that came to mind for him. I asked him if I could share them with you. 🙂 Also, I think we’re going to start running series on religion like this called “Religious Thoughts”. Kind of a focus on getting things right. Which isn’t exactly the same as “The Labyrinth” which talks specifically on spirituality. SO if you see it popping up here and there, you know where it started and what it’s about. XD!
Good Evening Ally,
It’s been a while, I know. I hope you are well.
Just listened to your youtube/Knights of Awakening spot on The Lord’s Prayer and thought that I might make some observations.
An interesting thing to note is that the break down of The Lord’s Prayer can be found within the acronym PRAY.
PRAY = Praise, Repent, Ask, Yield.
“Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.” As David said in Psalms 100:4 “Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name.”
Thanksgiving and praise is the method by which we gain entrance to the presence of God. It is how we begin a relationship. Anyone can give God praise. A person driving down the street and a car barrels out of nowhere, barely missing them might call out ‘Thank you, Jesus.’ That is praise, it’s the simple act of acknowledging the awesomeness and wonder of God. Praise can be extremely casual.
Too often Christians get bent out of shape because in church they see a person that they know to be a massive sinner praising God. They lift their noses and think ‘What a hypocrite!’ We shouldn’t because that would be hypocritical too for we’ve all sinned and have come short of the glory of God. There is no hierarchy of sin. Stealing isn’t worse than lying. Adultery isn’t worse than disobeying those that have authority over us. Those are man made distinctions. To God it’s all rebellion against Him and deserving of death. To sin, whether it be murder or fortification is to put ourselves above God and is idolatry. So if you’ve wished evil on someone, it’s the same as pride, lust, deception, and theft. But I’m off on a tangent. They aren’t hypocritical for praising God even though they sin because whether you live in sin or not you can acknowledge the power, grace and mercy of the Lord.
It is good that a person offers praise, especially a sinner, because that is how we enter into the presence of God. It’s not that through praise we butter Him up and snag His attention. Jesus was already thinking of you and I, specifically, when He died on the cross. We already have God’s attention. Since He is omnipresent, we’re always in His presence. Praising God isn’t about dangling a lure out to catch God. More it’s about activating a connection. “Behold I stand at the door and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.” Revelation 3:20. It’s a powerful scripture. Christ is standing at our door and knocking. He is already there and He’s trying to catch our attention by knocking and calling out to us. We sit down to eat and He’s right there with us, calling out to us. Praising Him is the acknowledgement of Him. He’s at the door, but it’s up to us to hear His voice, respond and invite Him in. Praise is the way that we make a connection.
Praise is not worship. Praise can be casual. ‘Thank you, Jesus!’ ‘Praise the Lord!’ ‘God is Great!’ If it is said with meaning, even if said lightly, it is praise because it is the sincere acknowledgement of the power of God. Worship is different in that it requires intimacy. An unrepentant sinner builds a wall (rebellion) between themselves and God. God is still right there, but the sinner has closed the door and put themselves above God. Note that even a sinner can be used of God. God is always there and is always knocking and calling out. A sinner might hear and be moved. After all, If God can use a Donkey to get through to Baalim, He can use a sinner. I’ll talk about being used of God later.
Prayer is all about getting to a place of worship, true communion; supping with God. Praise is the first step.
“And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.”
I could easily write pages on each of the letters of this acronym, but I’m doing my best to keep it succinct.
Luke 13:3 “… but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.”
Acts 26:20 “…. that they should repent and turn to God, and do works meet for repentance.”
In order to have a relationship with God, we must repent of our sins. I include the first scripture because it ties into the what I was saying about sin. Jesus uses an example of people that committed sins that the people considered to be extreme sins and Jesus was telling them that just as those people will be condemned and perish, so too will everyone that doesn’t repent of their sins. All sin has the same end.
I include the second verse because it talks about what will happen after you repent; you’ll do works meet for repentance. You can’t just say ‘I’m sorry for sinning’ and expect that to fly with God. You have to demonstrate your repentance through obedience. “You shall know them by their fruit.” If a tree were to say “I’m an apple tree” and then produces oranges, you know the tree was lying. If a man says ‘I’m sorry for sinning’ and makes no effort to change, then it isn’t a true act of contrition. Too many churches these days teach a doctrine of ‘Once saved, always saved.’ When we give ourselves to Christ we are saved. That word doesn’t describe a ‘get out of jail free’ card that you get to carry and then present to the judgement seat on the day of judgement. Saved describes an ongoing process. We are in the process of being saved. We can, through our disobedience and rebellion, remove ourselves from that process. Sincere repentance reactivates that process; that relationship. Churches teach that false doctrine because the Bible, truly, states that we’re saved by grace not by works. Works can’t save us because that means that salvation is in our hands. Christ is the savior, Christ is the deliverer, Christ is the redeemer. There is nothing that we can do to earn salvation. We deserve death for our sins. Works do nothing to erase those sins. Those harmful actions that we’ve made to destroy relationships with others may always scar hearts. Even in repentance and seeking forgiveness with the person we’ve wronged might not ease the pain. Our act of submission to our brother may be rejected and that pain carried in them forever. But, God looking upon our repentance with favor extends His grace.
I want to reiterate here that our sins don’t cause God to walk away from us. He is omnipresent. Through our sins we separate ourselves from Him. We close the door, build a wall and put our fingers in our ears and shout LALALALALALA so that we can’t hear his voice, or we just ignore it. God can’t lead us if we’re not listening to His direction. Because, in our sinful state, we’re consorting with a spirit of rebellion, we may wind up following a path of destruction. God allows that because we choose our own destiny. But God will continue to knock, will continue to call out. He’ll never leave us nor forsake us. But when we’re in sin, we’re in control or, even worse, that spirit of rebellion is in control and it’s like driving with our eyes shut – easy to get stuck in a ditch. But God’s still there and what Satan may intend for evil, God uses for good and may use the situation to get us to open our eyes, pull our fingers from our ears and be able to listen and be obedient to Him.
“Give us this day our daily bread.”
Matthew 21:22 “And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive”
Luke 11:9 “And I say unto you, Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.”
It is perfectly ok to ask God to meet your needs. In order to serve God and be used of God, you must be alive in order to do it. God is merciful and will supply your needs. If He looks after the sparrow in the field, how much more will He care for you?
But you are right in that this refers to every need. Our daily bread is our physical sustenance and our spiritual provision. “I am the living bread which come down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever: and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.” John 6:51
The Old Testament is very important as it contains types and shadows that point to Christ and, as Paul said, is the schoolmaster that teaches us how to live in Christ; for Christ didn’t come to destroy the Old, but rather fulfill it. The Law was a strict guideline to follow, but wasn’t meant to be lived as rote obedience. The Law was meant to teach guidelines and principles to follow. In Christ, the law is fulfilled. That doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t pay attention to it because it still holds true – in principle. Indeed, because we have the Holy Spirit dwelling within us we’re held to a higher standard, not a lower one. Again, getting off track.
One of those types and shadows was the manna from heaven.
“This is that bread which came down from heaven: not as your fathers did eat manna, and are dead: he that eateth of this bread shall live for ever.” John 6:58
The Law was often centered on the physical that was a type of the spiritual. God delivered the Hebrews from bondage and Egypt and led them into a wilderness. Because the nation of Israel could not survive in the wilderness, God sent them manna (bread) from heaven so that they could live physically. God delivered us from the bondage of sin and we live in the world. (And though we are to be in the world, we are not to be of the world.) which is a place that we can not survive on our own. So God sent Jesus, the bread of life, from heaven so that we can have eternal life.
Jesus is our Daily bread. It’s not just bread that we eat once in a long while; but rather it is a relationship that we must have daily. We eat every day, and if we don’t our body hungers. The act of fasting is about putting aside the physical eating of bread and making it subordinate to the spiritual act of communion with Christ – eating the Bread of Life. A Christian fast is not just the act of going without food. If we don’t commit within that day of fasting to subordinate eating to spending time with God, then it’s pointless. If you normally take an hour lunch, then when you fast you should spend that hour in prayer. I don’t think it has to be that particular hour, because that’s not always practical if you work or go to school where you can’t easily get away from coworkers or peers. Rather, that evening lock yourself away and spend time in prayer and reading the Bible, which is, as you said, also referred to as bread.
Daily bread is our physical and spiritual provision. Receiving our daily bread is through having our physical needs met; food, clothing and shelter. And it is our spiritual needs being met; prayer and reading the Bible. All of which we ask that we can have daily.
“Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.” “For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever.”
Not only are those words an act of praise, but are also an act of submission. As I already discussed in the topic of repentance; in order to have a relationship with God we must be obedient to Him.
“Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God.” Romans 6:13
“If ye love me, keep my commandments” John 14:15
It strikes me funny how many people say ‘Jesus is Lord’ but there is no evidence of His Lordship over their lives. There is a great deal in the Old Testament about how the Nation of Israel should keep themselves distinct from the cultures around them. Not only in religious practices, but in their daily walk. They were required to have a distinct manner of dress, of cutting their hair and way of generally living their lives. That distinction is still seen today in the Orthodox Jews. Remembering that the Old Testament serves as a schoolmaster providing principles for how the New Testament church is, isn’t it amazing that many who call themselves Christians are indistinguishable from ‘the world’ around them. We are called to Holiness, both in word and deed. That Holiness will set us apart from the world. I’m not referring to legalism – which is in reference to ‘The Law’ of the Old Testament. The Old Testament church was legalistic, they had to follow strict physical guidelines that were supposed to inform their spiritual principles. It was very legalistic. We don’t have those physical guidelines but we still have those spiritual principles. But we have to return to the concept of ‘By their fruit ye shall know them’ because spiritual obedience will result in physical fruit being grown.
The military teaches you how to march so that you present an air of confidence by walking and acting in an engage and alert manner. If you started from a place of confidence then you’d already be walking in an erect and aware manner. The Law taught the Israelites how to ‘walk right’ in order to teach them ‘confidence.’ We are gifted the Holy Spirit and thus gain ‘confidence’ that will cause us to ‘walk right’
This brings me to “Being used of God.” You mentioned that this sounded wrong. I only sounds wrong when we put ourselves first. Perfect submission is the act of being a vessel.
Romans 12:1 “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies and living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.”
Romans 6:6 “Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin.”
The saying “Jesus is my co-pilot” has it completely wrong. Jesus is to be our pilot. Declaring that Jesus is Lord is the act of saying that we are subordinate to Him. We’re dead in Christ. Our motivations, our desires, “our” anything and everything is subordinate to Him. If it is His will that we die today, He is Lord. We are a living sacrifice. After repentance we offer ourselves to God to be used. And if that means that we’re used so be it. And I guarantee that if you allow yourself to be used by God, you will wind up feeling used. The Bible doesn’t pull any punches about that. “For unto you it is given in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for his sake.” Philippians 4:12
The trick is to be like they were in Acts “..rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for his name.”
The flesh doesn’t want to submit, the flesh doesn’t want to suffer. In being fleshly beings it is easy for us to rationalize our disobedience. “That’s not who I am.” “God made me this way.” … these are things I’ve heard people say to justify their sin. We’re all born of Sin. We all have natural lusts and desires that are ungodly. We are creatures of Sin. But we’re delivered from sin. We die and offer ourselves a living sacrifice. Not to be who we are or how we were made, but rather to be vessels to be filled with His spirit and used as He wishes us to be used. Moses was described as being extremely meek and humble. Yet despite his meekness he was called of God to lead an entire nation. God doesn’t call who you are, He calls who you can be. Who you are is no excuse to live an unrepentant and sinful life.
All of this; Praise, Repentance, Asking and Yielding is all about developing a relationship with God. Allowing Him to have Lordship over your life. It’s a simple acronym and only covers the tip of the iceberg; but I thought it might be one that you’ve not heard and so thought to share it with you.
Have a great day!
After I asked him if I could post this, he sent me more 🙂 Here’s the rest of his thoughts, which are so spot on. I really wish more would come to understand these things- and who knows maybe if you’re reading this and are Christian, it will really resonate with your soul+
You said correctly that Prayer and Meditation are different. While they might yield the same and similar results; they are very different. Prayer, as you said, is about developing a relationship with God. Prayer is about intimacy with God. Again, as you said, it’s an unhealthy relationship if it’s just a one-way communication of me me me and you never stop to listen to God and hear from Him. That is certainly not praise, worship and love. Asking from God can be a form of praise in that in asking you are acknowledging Him as your provider (Jehovah-Jireh). But He doesn’t want to be your sugar Daddy and that be the only relationship that you have with Him. Intimacy requires a back and forth. Your relationship with your husband or child won’t be fulfilling in any way if you tell them that you love them and all that they give back is ‘I need’ or ‘I want.’ You’d probably smack them if you said ‘I love yo’ and they responded with ‘What’s for dinner?’ or ‘Go make me a sandwich.’ Yet that is how too many people treat God.
God doesn’t intend for us to be legalistic and follow some pattern or act in some formula. Isaiah 1 shows this. The nation of Israel were obeying the word of the law. They observed the Sabbath and made their sacrifices as they had been commanded. God’s response was “To what purpose is the multitude of your sacrifices unto me? Saith the Lord: I am full of the burnt offerings of rams, and the fat of fed beasts; and I delight not in the blood of bullocks, or of lambs, or of he goats. When ye come to appear before me, who hath required this at your hand, to tread my courts? Bring no more vain oblations; incense is an abomination unto me; the new moons and sabbaths, the calling of assemblies, I cannot away with; it is iniquity, even the solemn meeting. Your new moons and your appointed feasts my soul hateth: they are a trouble unto me; I am weary to bear them.”
Though the people were being obedient and following the Law, as commanded, it was vanity. They were doing it because it was tradition. They were doing it for show. They were doing it because they wanted to merely appease God; and the act of obedience made God sick because it was empty. Going through the motions isn’t what it was about. All those things were the schoolmaster attempting to use the natural to inform the supernatural. It was physical requirement meant to demonstrate a spiritual state of being. The sabbath was a reminder that we need rest. Physically we need to take some time off to become refreshed and renewed. Spiritually it points to Christ and our relationship with him “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.” Matthrew 11:28-29.
Empty action bothers God. Obeying the letter of the Law is useless if you don’t grasp the spirit of it: living without sin and doing what is right (Isaiah 1:16-17).
A Christian is required to both Pray and Meditate. Prayer is active, meditation is passive. In prayer you are engaging actively with God, speaking to Him and He communicating with you in a more active way. In meditation you are quiet. David said that the Godly man meditates upon the law day and night (Psalms 1:1-2). When you read your Bible (eating your daily bread), you need to take time to meditate on what it says and allow God to speak to you and reveal what it means. Praise and Worship can be very emotional – in communicating actively and sincerely with God, you’ll feel His presence in an active way and it will evoke some strong emotions. Meditation often results in something more subtle; that still small voice giving you insight that you didn’t have before. Meditation is about opening yourself to the awareness of God, as He should be the reason for everything that you do. There is no meditation to empty your mind for the sake of having an empty mind. A Christian empties their thoughts in order to allow themselves to be filled with His presence and to hear his voice. A Christian doesn’t meditate in order to become self aware and that self awareness be the end goal. The end goal is to become self aware to understand our motivations and our thought processes so that we don’t confuse our will with His will.