Sunday, May 25, 2008

The Lord's Prayer - Part 1

How does an artist do a “piece” of art? Say he/she wants to do a bronze statue. It takes a process of several prototypes and revisions so they have the finished piece exactly how they want it.
Drawings – small clay – small bronze – full bronze statue.
There are several templates or rough versions before you get the finished product. I believe that God set patterns from the beginning of the world that would set the stage for the incarnation and the New Covenant. The reason we can talk about the Word (Logos) in John 1 in reference to Jesus, is because God directed and used the ancient Greeks, etc. to set up a pattern that would make the New Covenant familiar.
In this sense, the understanding Jesus had of, for example, the Law, was influenced by the usage and history of the word itself, but that did not box Him in to His “interpretation” (or maybe better “fulfillment”) of it. On many occasions He went beyond the current sensibility and added something new - He came not to abolish the Law but to fulfill it. So we look at it today, understanding its origins, etc, but see it through the filter of Christ’s finished work on the cross. That makes a big difference.
So we come to the topic of prayer. Jesus gives us a pattern, a template. Over the next few weeks I want to go over that template pulling out phrases and words and looking at what Jesus said is important about prayer.

“Our Father...” – Relational emphasis

Not “my” father but “our” father. Not “God above” or the like, but “Father”. You were created by God to have relationship with Him… How is that going?

“Who art in Heaven” – The reality of the spiritual world
Holography and holograms are an attempt to create 3 dimensional objects using light. There’s a depth to 3-d that makes things look more real. We see in 3-d because we have 2 eyes. We lose vision in an eye and it makes it hard to drive, to determine depth. Look at life in the same vein of thought. There is a dimension there, namely the spiritual, that if we block it out forces us to view the world from a narrow, flat perspective. We can see and touch the physical world, but there are forces and powers that go beyond the physical world. The fact is we can communicate with the spiritual world. Prayer! Not just telekinetic powers, but interaction with the mind of God, a being. Notice the present tense.

“Hallowed be Your Name” – Holiness and righteousness
There’s that story of the elephant and the blind men who encountered it. Each touched a different part and each came to a conclusion both different from everyone else, and equally as wrong. We who can see the elephant take it all in at once. And as we do that we will come up with a few words that take it all in. BIG! Grey! Tough skin. There’s the guy that ordered an elephant ear sandwich only to be told that they were out of those big buns.
Think big picture. Bonnie, as she writes, has a need to sum her book up in one short sentence so she can present it to a publisher. Talking to the Dead: “A young widow must confront her past in order to silence the voice of her dead husband.” Talking to Angels: “A young widow moves on with her life with the aid of an angel.”
God is Holy. When you read about God throughout the Scripture you can’t escape this. The whole Law of the OT is about God’s holiness. The New Covenant that was inaugurated with the incarnation and the death of Jesus on a cross is about God’s holiness!

Relation, reality, Righteousness. When you pray this week, focus on who you are before Christ, your relationship with Him. Focus not just on stuff, but pray in the reality of the spiritual world. We are in a spiritual war. GNO is about women’s souls. Upward Sports that we’ll start in the fall is about the souls of kids and families. And as you pray, allow God to search your life for un-confessed sin, for any part that you have not yielded to Him. As a Christian, He has the deed to your heart. Have your given Him all the rooms, all the closets and storage spaces, or are you holding back. Your job, your family, your hurt and pain, your stuff… Give it all to Him and let Him lead you on. He is faithful – you will never be disappointed when you give yourself to Him.

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