January 20, 2017
“…Give us this day our daily bread.” Matthew 6:11
A word that has been on the minds and lips of millions this week is “inauguration.” A synonym for this word is “beginning.” The common usage for inauguration is something like “a celebration of the beginning.”
Every day we live is the first day of the rest of our lives. There is a sense in which we experience an inauguration with every new day, week, month and New Year we live. Our Lord’s advice to us is to celebrate the beginning of every new day and accept it as a gift – a clean slate with no marks on it.
We cannot change the marks we put on the slate of yesterday. God told us not to worry about tomorrow because one day’s trouble is enough for one day. If you think about it, today is the tomorrow we worried about yesterday. God therefore emphasized one day at a time – as in “Give us this day our daily bread.”
I challenge you to celebrate each new day with a private inauguration ceremony and ask God to give you the grace and strength to be all you can be for God’s glory, one day at a time.
Dick Woodward, 23 January 2009
July 1, 2014
“Our Father Who art in Heaven, hallowed be Your name. Your Kingdom come, Your will be done on earth as it is in Heaven...” Matthew 6:9-13)
The message of the Bible frequently sifts down to just two words: God first. From Genesis to Revelation, the bottom line interpretation and application of the commandments, character studies, allegories, parables, psalms, sermons, Gospels, Epistles and teachings of Jesus is simply “God first.” The prayer Jesus taught us begins with that God-first emphasis when He instructs us to begin by asking God that His name, the essence of Who and what He is, might be honored and reverenced…
Prayer is not a matter of us persuading God to do our will. The very essence of prayer is an alignment between our wills and the will of God. Prayer is not a matter of us making God our partner and taking God into our plans. Prayer is a matter of God making us His partners and taking us into His plans…
We are not to come into our prayer closets, or corporate worship, with a ‘shopping list’ and send God on errands for us. When we pray, we should come into the presence of God with a blank sheet of paper and ask God to send us on errands for Him. We should be like soldiers reporting for duty to their Commander in Chief.
Dick Woodward, A Prescription for Prayer
July 27, 2013
“And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.” (Matthew 6:12)
Years ago I heard an Anglican Canon from Australia coin a new word when he said, “The greatest obstacle to inner healing is unforgiveness. We may be experiencing unforgiveness because we lack the assurance of God’s forgiveness, or the forgiveness of people against whom we have sinned. The source of our unforgiveness may also be that we will not forgive people who have sinned against us.”
Canon Glennon then gave many examples of people who had been brutally abused and told how their rage and hunger for revenge had retarded their own inner healing. Consider the perfect wisdom of our Lord Who prescribed that we should pray, as some translations have it, “Forgive us our sins as we have already forgiven those who sin against us.”
Forgiveness declares a fifth eternal value: Inner healing is a greater value than physical healing.
When we confess our sins we need to forget what God forgets and remember what God remembers. God forgives and God forgets our sins. We have God’s Word for that. In the New Testament we are promised that, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9). In the Old Testament, God clearly tells us, “Their sins I will remember no more” (Jeremiah 31:34). However, God remembers that we are sinners. We forget we are sinners. (That is at least one reason why we fall into sin again and again.)
When we confess our sins but keep remembering them after God has forgiven us, our guilt baggage shows that our faith is flawed after God has long forgotten our sins.
May 23, 2013
“One day Jesus was praying in a certain place. When he finished, one of his disciples said to him, ‘Lord, teach us to pray, just as John taught his disciples.” (Luke 11:1)
When the disciple’s asked Jesus this request they were not just asking Him the ‘how to’ of prayer. They were amazed at the large amounts of time Jesus prioritized for prayer. They were asking something like ‘teach us what you know about prayer that we obviously do not know that causes You to spend so very much time in prayer.’
STEP NUMBER THREE: Spend much time in prayer.
When you must know the will of another human being, what is the first step you take? Our first thought is usually that we must meet with that person and have a conversation with them. When a man is in love and decides he wants to marry a woman, his first thought is that he must meet with her and have a conversation with her.
When we seek to know the will of God, our first thought should be that we must meet with God and have a conversation with Him. Prayer is a conversation with God. If you do not know how to pray, think of prayer as simply meeting with and having a personal conversation with God.
Jesus responded to the apostles with a prayer that was not as much a prayer as it was an instruction about how to pray. When you are alone, use that prayer as an outline for your conversation with God. You will find yourself applying the second and third steps I have shared with you for knowing the will of God when Jesus instructs you to pray:
“Your kingdom come; Your will be done.”
January 15, 2013
“Yours is the Kingdom, the Power and the glory forever, Amen.” (Matthew 6: 13)
Jesus taught us to begin our prayers with a providential or God-first perspective. He also taught us to end our prayers with the same kind of Kingdom benediction. In this prayer/prescription after we get our priorities straight we are to close our prayers in a way that is consistent with the way we begin our prayers.
In essence, we are to end our prayers by telling God that since the power to answer our prayers will always come from Him the glory will always go to Him and the result will always belong to Him. That is what “Your’s is the Kingdom” is really all about.
When you pray are you taking God into your plans or are you asking Him to take you into His plans? I have had the privilege of being involved in the founding of two churches. After many years serving those churches I then had to drop out and let others pastor them. That was when I learned what it means to pray: “Your’s is the Kingdom.”
Jesus taught me to pray that since the power to answer my prayers over many years as the pastor of those churches had come from Him the glory should now go to Him and the result (the churches) should belong to Him.
James tells us we ask and do not receive because we ask amiss (James 4:3). A teenager asked me if James was telling us we can pray a hit as well as a miss. If you want to pray a hit every time allow Jesus to show you how to begin and end your prayers.