Many people know “The Lord’s Prayer” by heart because it is chanted like an incantation at many churches, not to mention public events. However, what most people realize is that this prayer was offered by Jesus, not as a magical spell to be cast by monotone repetition, but as an outline for what to pray about – in what order, and for what types of things.
This ‘model prayer’ or ‘prayer outline’ approach has become the grist for a couple of really excellent books on prayer, including Larry Lea’s Could You Not Tarry One Hour? and Dick Eastman’s The Hour That Changes the World, both excellent books.
However, this past weekend in church, a friend who does not read books much (she has some learning disabilities due to a car accident) asked if I could write a briefer explanation of the Lord’s prayer. Here it is.
Yesterday, President Obama announced that he would not participate in the National Day of Prayer. And while some conservatives see this as just another slap in the face to our Christian values and heritage, others are rightly seeing this as a good decision. I mean, how can a man who supports homosexuality and abortion be someone who shares the values of our God and savior?
You may argue that the NDOP is supposed to be ecumenical, so it should not be limited to the Christian God, and in some sense, you might be right. But just considering plain justice and righteousness, if we come to God unrepentant about such obvious sins, not to mention the others that we excuse, can we consider ourselves spiritual?
Truth be told, the NDOP is run and dominated by Evangelicals, and has been for some time, even though it is an officially declared national observance. But that was done back when we actually commonly believed in the Biblical God as a populace. Not so now.
Anyway, these are 'secondary' doctrines over which Christians can disagree, but they are not unimportant. Self-proclaimed Christians who think this way may in truth be born-again believers, but they are not thinking biblically. This is the same as saying one can be a Christian but support slavery. Sure, you *can* support such evils and be a Christian, but is your support really Godly, or sinful and a shame to yourself and God?
Reproduced below is the newsletter I received today from American Vision, entitled Why Obama Should NOT Participate in Day of Prayer. And I say AMEN.
People don’t pray much, even Christian people. Why is that? Because we don’t beleive it does much, because we think we are unworthy, because we think God is a utilitarian scrooge, and because we think we already know what God will or won’t give us if we pray. But something is wrong with each of these reasons.
I had the strangest dream this morning. I was walking down a wide stone sidewalk (about 20 feet wide), like that in a park, lined with trees, that led up to a large building. When the wind blew, I rode it up into the air, as high as 20 feet, and for distances of up to about 40 feet. I’d put out my arms and turn, almost like a dancer, enjoying the lift, and landing at the same gentle pace that I took off at. A woman behind me marveled, and I told her it was easy, she just had to relax and spread her arms out.
I apologize for the extremely light posting and even lighter commenting. Unfortunately that will continue for awhile due to personal circumstances. I’m not quitting (by any stretch of the imagination), but rather giving an explanation for past and future lack of posting. What follows is purely personal, so if you’re curious feel free to read on. If you are looking for some indepth perspective on some serious issue, this is not for you.
Since 1998, a young man nicknamed “Bike” has ridden his bicycle over 10,500 miles to tell others about Jesus. He has riden trains for several days simply so that he can share with other passengers about his faith. He hands out business cards which list his profession as “evangelist.” Bike also has a Bible study that meets in his home.
What makes any of this significant? Bike’s home is in Beijing, China.
Jesus Creed has a nice list of books on prayer, and I thought to add my favorites:
- With Christ in the School of Prayer by Murray
- Could You Not Tarry One Hour by Larry Lea
- The Fourth Dimension vol. II by Yonggi Cho
- Revival Praying by Ravenhill
- Listening Prayer: Learning to Hear God’s Voice and Keep a Prayer Journal by Leanne Payne
- Restoring the Christian Soul: Overcoming Barriers to Completion in Christ Through Healing Prayer by Leanne Payne
- The Hour that Changes the World by Dick Eastman
I know it may be confusing, but the ACLU is in favor of prayer before governmental meetings. In fact, they even sued for a woman’s right to pray before a county government meeting in Virginia. They initially won, but that decision was overturned by a higher court and the Supreme Court refused to hear the case. They are in favor of prayer, it just depends on who’s doing the praying. The ACLU sued to allow the woman, who is a Wiccan, to pray, but they are threatening a South Carolina county with a lawsuit because of Christian prayers offered by council members. Did I miss the part of the Constitution guaranteeing Wiccan prayers, but not Christian ones?
Thanks to Rob and Mark’s essays I’m going to be rethinking prayer and how I pray.