We’ve heard the Lord’s Prayer but do you pray like Jesus? In this message we recap the essence of what Jesus teaches about the kind of connection we are made to have with God the Father, like He did. And we dig into a tool that will help us get there.
If you want a study tool to go along with the podcast, see Lift Notes here:
(From message on 2-16-14)
Key concept: God is Father
When Jesus taught his disciples to pray, he said the starting point to come to God in conversation is “Our Father.” He used the word “Abba”, an Aramaic term for father with a connotation of endearment and intimacy, used by children, like the first word a child would use to address their father. In other words, Jesus invites us to believe and feel and trust in the deepest, most childlike, most vulnerable place of our heart, that God is inherently good towards us like a perfect Daddy.
Prayer Exercise: Slowly read and let this verse sink in:
Because you are children, God sent the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, “Abba, Father.” Gal. 4:6
Reflect on the fact that you have been given the right to call God “Abba” Father. Let that soak in. Imagine yourself as a little child, running to Jesus for a warm hug, knowing that he will take good care of you because you are his beloved child.
Prayer Exercise: Read this verse a couple times slowly,
9 “Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone? 10 Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? 11 If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him! Matthew 7:9–11
Imagine you know nothing about God. Through this verse let Jesus introduce you to God for the first time. Let this verse re-define your understanding of God’s heart for you. He is not just like a good father but a perfect one that wants to give you only good things! Let this soak in and thank him for it.
Prayer Exercise:Read this verse several times slowly,
Fear not little flock, for it is your father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom. Luke 12:32
Then insert your name and think of God talking directly to you and saying this to you. Let this paint a picture in your heart of who God is to you and how he feels about you.
Prayer Exercise: read these verses and take a few minutes to reflect on the fact that God is the perfection of everything we need from a parent.
“If my father and mother forsake me, the Lord will hold me close.” Psalm 27:10 “Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has borne? Though she may forget, I will not forget you! See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands…” Isaiah 49:15-16
Thank him for this. Ask Him to show you more how He has been this perfect parent for you. Sit quiet and let the Holy Spirit speak.
Prayer Exercise: Reflect slowly on this verse one phrase at a time as a picture of God’s parental love.
“The Lord your God is with you, a warrior who gives victory. He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing.” Zephaniah 3:17
Knowing that God sings over you, can you imagine what the lyrics of that song might be?
Who is in heaven,
Hallowed be your name
(From message on 3-2-14)
Key concept: God is King
“Who is in heaven”
Prayer Exercise: This phrase is meant to be a contrast held in tension with God as our Abba Father. Reflect on the wonder that God is both intimately interested in us as Abba, but also dwells in heaven, set apart from us and Holy, as Acts 17 describes:
“God, who made the world and everything in it, being Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in temples made with hands, nor is he served by human hands, as though he needed anything, since he himself gives to all people life and breath and everything. And…‘In him we live and move and have our being.’ ” Acts 17:24-25, 28
Prayer Exercise: Spend some time reflecting on what it means that God is completely self-sufficient and doesn’t need anything. Contrast that with how much you are not self-sufficient. Praise Him for his greatness! See these verses:
1 Chronicles 29:10-16, Romans 11:33-36, Colossians 1:15-20
“Hallowed be your name”
Prayer Exercise: The natural and fitting response to the greatness of God is to give him glory. Jesus is inviting you to turn things upside down and live only for the glory of the ONE who is worthy. He is King! Ask God grow your heart with a worshipful awe of how great He is. Also, ask him to increase your awareness of things that display His glory and worth. Spend a minute praising Him for who He is.
Prayer Exercise: Think about the story of King Nebuchadnezzar. Can you relate to him in some ways?
Twelve months later, as the king was walking on the roof of the royal palace of Babylon, 30he said, “Look at this great city of Babylon that I have built as the royal residence, by my mighty power and for the glory of my majesty?” 31The words were still on his lips when a voice came from heaven, “This is what is decreed for you, King Nebuchadnezzar: Your royal authority has been taken from you…34At the end of that time, I, Nebuchadnezzar, raised my eyes toward heaven, and my sanity was restored. Then I praised the Most High; I honored and glorified him who lives forever. His dominion is an eternal dominion; his kingdom endures from generation to generation … 37Now I, Nebuchadnezzar, praise and exalt and glorify the King of heaven. Daniel 4:29-31, 34, 37
Are there areas of your life in which you are living on your own strength and for your own glory? Ask God to show those things to you and root them out, replacing them with a healthy dependence on His strength and a passion for Him alone to receive glory and praise.
Prayer Exercise: Ask God to show you ideas and ways how He can be glorified and honored in your life today. Listen, then do it!
Prayer Exercise: Practice praising God throughout your day for as much as you can.
Your kingdom come, Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven
(From message on 3-16-14)
Key concept: God’s will is for more of heaven to transform earth
The idea of the “Kingdom of God” is Jesus’ framework for understanding and explaining what God is doing in the world. In fact, the very first words of Jesus in the book of Mark are: “Jesus went into Galilee, proclaiming the gospel of God saying, ‘The time has come. The Kingdom of God is at hand…’” Mark 14-15
So, for Jesus, the Good News (Gospel) is that God’s will is to transform the pain, suffering and brokenness of the fallen world with the goodness, perfection and wholeness of Heaven.
“your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven!”
Prayer Exercise: As His followers, Jesus invites us to participate in His Kingdom mission through declarative prayer: This is not a begging and pleading prayer. This is a confident declaration. Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven! Jesus is giving his followers the immense privilege to carry on the advancement of God’s Kingdom as he did, through prayerful declarations of His will to be done, on earth as it is in heaven. What are some situations in your life that are less than heavenly? Can you make a faith-filled declaration for the release of more of God’s will as it is in heaven into those situations?
Prayer Exercise: Read these passages a couple times each and ponder the immense privilege Jesus gives his followers to participate in the advancement of his Kingdom through declarative prayer.
“…whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you.”
“Again, truly I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything they ask for, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven.” Matthew 18:19
24 Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours. Mark 11:24
Through this aspect of prayer we come into agreement with God’s will, and by faith we release more of heaven’s goodness onto earth. Ask God to grow your faith and trust in him that he does actually want you to pray big and bold prayers for his Kingdom to be advanced on earth as it is in heaven.
Prayer Exercise:Ask God to put on your heart specific ways that He wants the kingdom to come in your life. How does He want to bring your thoughts, actions, desires, priorities, and goals more into alignment with the heaven? How can His will be done more in your life in your marriage, kids, school, friends, work? Then prayerfully declare His will on earth as it is in heaven!
Prayer Exercise: Ask God to show you situations around you today that are in need of God’s will to be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Pray a bold prayer of faith that God’s Kingdom will be released by the power of the H.S. to transform the situation.
Give us this day our daily bread
(From message on 3-23-14)
Key concept: God is your provider
Prayer Exercise: Read this verse. “your Father knows what you need before you ask him.” Matthew 6:8
Reflect on the fact that God cares about what is happening in your life so much that he is already thinking about what you need before you’ve even asked. He’s waiting for you to ask and trust him as your provider. Thank Him for being your provider.
Prayer Exercise: Simply pray, “God I entrust the provision of my day into your hands. I thank you in advance that you want to and will provide for me.”
Prayer Exercise: Thank Him for all the things that you can think of that he has provided for you. Then thank him that He will continue to provide for you.
Prayer Exercise: Read this verse: Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. Matthew 6:31–33
Ask the Holy Spirit to assess your heart: “Who am I depending on to provide for me?” If its You, you will feel anxious toil. If its God, you will feel restful trust.If you are carrying the burden of provision, envision yourself taking a big burden of heavy stuff off of your shoulders and handing it over to Jesus to carry for you. As you do that, tell God that you are entrusting your daily needs into his provision.
Prayer Exercise: Sometimes what we think we need isn’t what we need. For example, when the Israelites asked for the food of Egypt God didn’t provide as they wanted because he had a greater purpose: “He humbled you, causing you to hunger and then feeding you with manna, which neither you nor your fathers had known, to teach you that man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord.” Deuteronomy. 8:3
In God’s daily provision for them and in God not answering what they felt they “needed”, it says they were humbled, and that is a good thing. It’s the foundation of a relationship with God (Blessed are the poor in spirit…). What God knew they “needed” far more than a tasty kind of food, was a deeper experience of intimacy with God coming through humility. Can you pray this prayer? “God, I am going to trust the needs of my daily life to your wisdom and care. And when what you provide clashes with what I want, I ask you to teach me more about who you are and teach me to trust you as I wait for your provision.”
Prayer Exercise: ask God to show you if there is a way that you can be an answer to this prayer for someone else. Is there a person or family in your neighborhood, school or church that you can help in a tangible way?
Forgive us our debts, as we have also forgiven our debtors
(From message on 4-6-14)
Key concept: take the pulse on your relationships
Check the pulse of your connection in your fundamental relationships: Are you right with God & are you right with people?
Our connection with God… “Forgive us our debts…”
Prayer Exercise: Jesus teaches us to regularly exercise the power of His undeserved goodness and mercy toward us. Slowly read this: “God made us alive together with him…having forgiven all our trespasses, by cancelling the record of debts that stood against us. Colossians 2:13-14” Do you walk in this forgiveness? Many don’t walk in this nearly as much as Jesus invites them to. Instead we often walk in a cloud of guilt, a cloud of shame, a cloud of regret, a cloud of our past. Jesus has a better way. Jesus invites you through prayer to walk daily in your forgiveness. Soak in these truths today. Your sin was not and is not too big for Christ to handle. Your past mistakes are not more powerful than what Jesus did on the cross. Choose today that you wont give sin the glory by walking in shame. Give Christ the glory today by walking in the freedom of forgiveness that He bought for you. Pray and ask God for help to do this.
Prayer Exercise: Read this verse: If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:9 Ask God to search your heart. If you have any known sin confess that to him and then hold on to the promise that you are forgiven and he will purify your heart so that you walk in increasing intimacy with Him. (Blessed are the pure in heart for they will see God! Matt 5:8)
Our connection with others…”as we have also forgiven our debtors”
Prayer Exercise: Read Matthew 18:21-35 and spend some time reflecting on how you are the servant who owed 10,000 talents. Think of the sins that would be in those bags. Ponder the truth that you have been forgiven for much, a debt so big in fact it could never be paid back. From the heart, thank God for this forgiveness. Then Ask the Lord to bring to mind any unforgiveness, bitterness or anger that you are harboring towards someone. If there is any, ask God to help you forgive that person. Remember, forgive literally means to “let go.” From this parable Jesus teaches that it means to let go of your right to punish. So instead of carrying the poison of revenge in your heart, release it and trust that God will handle the person with justice in His way and His time. After pondering these things, make the choice to forgive them. Speak it out loud to God and if needed go and tell them. (Remember that forgiving someone doesn’t mean you endorse their behavior or let it continue, read Matthew 18:15-17 to see how God gives you permission to set a clear boundary if they are unwilling to change hurtful behavior.)
Prayer Exercise: “Forgive as the Lord forgave you.” Col.3:13 Think of all the ways God has forgiven you. Thank him for it. Then think of anyone that has wronged you. Can you show them the same kind of forgiveness that Jesus shows you? . Speak it out loud to God and if needed go and tell them.
Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
(From message on 4/13/14)
Key concept: God is your protector and deliverer
Jesus is inviting us to live sober to the reality of the spiritual world we live in and call upon the power of God for victory over evil.
Prayer Exercise: “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.” John 10:10 A foundational piece of Jesus’ worldview is that this is a spiritual universe and there is a spiritual battle. Everything Jesus does is a collision of Kingdom’s (the kingdom of the enemy which belongs to the devil who is the “ruler of this world”(John 12:31) and the Kingdom of God the Father who is only good and desires to save, heal and redeem the world). Re-read this verse and spend some time pondering on the reality of the spiritual world we live in. Pray that God would deliver you from all the plans of the enemy to steal, kill and destroy. Declare God’s protection and victory that His Kingdom will reign in your life today.
Prayer Exercise: Read each of these verses a couple of times.
For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Ephesians 6:12
Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.
1 Peter 5:8 Spend some time reflecting on these verses and the implications they have for your life. Ask God to give you a sober wisdom so that you do not live in either extreme of ignoring the reality of spiritual warfare or blaming everything on the devil and not taking personal responsibility for your actions and attitudes.
Prayer Exercise:One of the primary ways the enemy attacks us is to speak lies, often about our identity. “[The devil]…is a liar and the father of lies.” John 8:44. Take a few moments of quiet listening and ask the Holy Spirit to reveal a lie that the enemy has been trying to speak to you (it could be about you and your identity, about God, about your past, your future, etc.). If a lie is revealed, ask God to show you his truth that you can hold on to instead of the lie. Thank him for this and then pray that the power of the enemy’s lie is broken so that you can walk in the freedom of God’s truth.
Prayer Exercise:Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold. Eph. 4:26–27
This verse carries a critical spiritual truth that goes beyond just anger and bedtime. It is about dealing with our junk and the reality that if we have junk in our hearts (anger, lust, pride, bitterness, envy, fear, greed, etc.) and don’t deal with it head on, then we are leaving the door open for the enemy to have a place in our life to work and exploit our weakness. Ask God to show you if there are any areas of life that you have left open and given the enemy a place to work. If anything is revealed, ask God to forgive you and then ask God to deliver you from the power of the evil one’s work to steal, kill and destroy.
Prayer Exercise: Ask the Holy Spirit to make one specific phrase pop out to you. Then say the Lord’s Prayer, slowly. Whatever phrase pops out to you the most, spend some time there using some of the exercises mentioned above for that phrase or spend some time on that phrase in whatever way the Lord leads you to.
Prayer Exercise: Say each phrase and spend a little bit of time on what they each mean. For example:
Our Father: Soak in your identity as a beloved child of a good heavenly Father who delights to give you only good things.
Who is in heaven, hallowed be your name: Praise Him and thank Him for good things in your life and awesome things about Him!
Your Kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven: Make a faith-filled bold declaration for more of heaven to be released onto earth for the transformation of a situation.
Give us this day our daily bread: Tell God that you are depending on him as your provider and thank him in advance that he will provide what you need today.
Forgive us our debts as we also have forgiven our debtors: Confess any known sins and receive God’s forgiveness. Ask God to help you forgive anyone that has wronged you, then forgive them.
Lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil: Ask for God’s protection and deliverance from any attacks of the enemy in your life.
To listen to any of the sermon messages related to each section of the Lord’s prayer, the podcasts are free at:
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