When the disciples asked Jesus how they should pray, He modeled the submission, confession, and adoration behind our prayer offerings to The Father.
9 “This, then, is how you should pray:
“‘Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
10 your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
11 Give us today our daily bread.
12 And forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.
13 And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from the evil one.'”
But as the Holy Spirit brought this Scripture to my mind this morning, it was the ending that stood out to me like never before. These three phrases are not actually contained in the earliest of the Greek manuscripts of the Bible; however, I believe that they give us the apologetic or reason behind everything we do, not just for prayer. It explainsu the what, how, and why of our lives.
“For thine is the Kingdom,”. Both yesterday and today, God has brought to my attention the fact that the foundation of our American ideology is completely counter-Christian. The idea that as Americans we are completely and rightly independent of any greater authority has no place in the true understanding of God’s Word. God is the king and in the monarchical structure, that position has all authority. “For His, God’s is the Kingdom!” He has complete ownership and authority over everything, including us! Just let that sink in and think about what that really means. We live our lives everyday stuck in this paradox between the false independence of American freedom and the true surrender and submission that is required of us as followers of Christ. If you are honest with yourself, which mindset guides your actions most of the time? We are fooling ourselves if we believe that we control our destiny at all. God’s will is sovereign. We can choose to submit to it, daily, and live as our King created us to, or we can choose to rebel against His authority and strike out on our own, believing that in the end, we call the shots. So, what will determine your thoughts, actions, and words today? God’s sovereign and perfect will, or your own?
“And the power,”. These three words name our energy source and give us the how of our lives…the Holy Spirit. Again, our American mindset screams against allowing anything else to move us or motivate us, but our own energy. WE empower ourselves through our education, money, influence, etc.. and WE empower others. The rugged independence of pulling YOURSELF up by YOUR bootstraps and through mere determination propelling YOURSELF to success underlies most of the messaging we get from our culture today. The opposite is actually true. Jesus, in the book of John, constantly tells His disciples that the only source of anything is through the Father. He then repeats that He and the Father are One. Finally, in John 16:17-18 , He gives them the knowledge that when He is no longer with them, The Father will send the Holy Spirit to dwell in them, to be the source of all they do! So why do we, especially ME, waste so much time trying to accomplish anything in my own power? It’s crazy because in reality, nothing that is God’s Will can be accomplished apart from the Holy Spirit’s power to make it happen! So, approach whatever you do today and tomorrow and the next day and everyday after by first, plugging into the power outlet of the Holy Spirit. He never has a power outage and we never have to pay a cent for it because Jesus already paid it all for eternity!
“And the glory, forever, Amen!” Why do you really do what you do? Most of us, if shown our true motives, would see that it is self-serving in some way. We want to be accepted, we want to be loved, we want to be known. This is why we do what we do. Jesus tells us here that the why of everything we do is to be for God’s glory. He is the one who shines when we do His will, through His power. It’s actually pretty simple when you think about it. If we are letting Him determine what we do, and we are letting the Holy Spirit determine how we do it, then we can’t help but let the world know why we are doing it. We inherently take the “we” out of everything, making it all about HIM.
Today, may these phrases control every decision and notice the difference that true freedom brings to your life.