Part 2 of 4 in our “Pray Like Jesus” Series.
Anticipation: to give advanced thought, discussion, to foresee and deal with in advance, to look forward to as certain, to EXPECT
Acts 1:11 NLT “Men of Galilee,” they said, “why are you standing here staring into heaven? Jesus has been taken from you into heaven, but someday he will return from heaven in the same way you saw him go!”
1 Thessalonians 5:23 NLT Now may the God of peace make you holy in every way, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless until our Lord Jesus Christ comes again.
Martin Luther said only two days were reflected on his calendar: “today and that day.” The latter referred to Jesus Christ’s return to rapture the redeemed. In the same way, we should anticipate and be ready constantly for that coming day of promise! Christ’s coming is mentioned more than 300 times in the New Testament. Jesus Himself often referred to His coming again, urging His followers to watch, pray and be ready.
We learn prayer is about resigning our will so that it matches the Father’s will:
Romans 12:1-2 NLT And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him.2 Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.
As Christians, believers in the Lord Jesus Christ, we gave up our rights, our will, when we surrendered our life to Him. We were purchased with a great price, the life of Christ.
Your Kingdom Come
Historically, the prayer had its origin in the Messianic expectations embodied in the picture of the ideal king in Isaiah 42:1-7. This idea had been longed for that the Jews would be victorious over their enemies and no longer slaves. This kingdom is not the kingdom of the world, one that rested on despotism of strength, but on the acknowledgement of righteousness.
People pray very little because they really don’t think it matters. They go through the motions because it’s their duty to do that but they don’t have that ongoing, passionate heart that cries out all the time to God because it believes that the effectual, fervent, prayer of a righteous man avails much.
The Christians gather to pray
Acts 12:5 NLT But while Peter was in prison, the church prayed very earnestly for him.
Do you pray like that? Do you pray that God will do things that you have absolutely no faith He will do? What we’re talking about here is the typical, traditional, common attitude of those who pray without expecting an answer. This is passive resignation.
Jesus, God in the flesh, preached in Mt 3:2, 4:17 “Repent, because the kingdom of heaven has come near.”
I John 4:4 NLT But you belong to God, my dear children. You have already won a victory over those people, because the Spirit who lives in you is greater than the spirit who lives in the world.
Love God: Deuteronomy 6:5 NLT And you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your strength.
Love One Another: John 13:34 NLT So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other.
Love the Poor: Matthew 19:21 NLT Jesus told him, “If you want to be perfect, go and sell all your possessions and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.
Love the orphans and widows: James 1:27 NIV Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.
Love your enemies: Luke 6:27 NLT “But to you who are willing to listen, I say, love your enemies! Do good to those who hate you. 28 Bless those who curse you. Pray for those who hurt you. 29 If someone slaps you on one cheek, offer the other cheek also. If someone demands your coat, offer your shirt also. 30 Give to anyone who asks; and when things are taken away from you, don’t try to get them back. 31 Do to others as you would like them to do to you.
Forgive Others: Colossians 3:13 NLT Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others.
The Kingdom of God is believers having the same attitude of Christ Jesus. Philippians 2:5 NLT
Your will be done on earth, as it is in heaven
“Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven” (Matt 6:10), brings into sharp focus that God is the chief concern of this prayer and not us. Too often, you put yourself in the center forgetting that God may have something entirely different in mind for you.
How can the will of God be known? Putting the Bible first will keep us from error in thinking and error in practice. Paul’s view of Scripture, or rather, the Bible’s view of itself, is this: “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work” (2 Tim 3:16-17).
The totality of faith and life is to be deduced from “the whole counsel of God” set down in Scripture. There isn’t an aspect of our lives that doesn’t fall beneath the umbrella of what the Bible teaches.
Discovering God’s will involves the following four things:
- Asking what most glorifies God in any particular action and always choosing the best.
- Studying Scripture to see what it has to say, either directly or by good and necessary consequence.
- Using our minds and rational faculties: that is, employing the maxim of Psalm 32:8-9 NLT “I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you and watch over you. Do not be like the horse or the mule, which have no understanding but must be controlled by bit and bridle or they will not come to you.” Too many errors come at this very point
- Seek the counsel and be led by the Holy Spirit in all things.
It is one thing to know what the will of God might be, another to do it!
What the third petition of the Lord’s Prayer asks is that God’s will might be done. The issue is one of submission and obedience on our part. There is a sense in which God’s will is always done, and our part in this is to accept it.
2 Peter 3:9 NLT The Lord isn’t really being slow about his promise, as some people think. No, he is being patient for your sake. He does not want anyone to be destroyed, but wants everyone to repent.
Have you accepted the Lord as the Lord and Savior of your life? What are you waiting for to make this commitment in your life?
Pastor Michael Longfellow