Prayer Journal – Kingdom, Power, and Glory

kingdom_power_gloryEven though this phrase isn’t found in early manuscripts of the New Testament, there is evidence that it was used in the Mass as early as the time of the apostles.  But, what do we mean when say these words?  “Thine is the Kingdom, and the Power and the Glory, forever and ever, amen.

I think it means what it simply says.  The Kingdom of God, belongs to God.  As children of His inheritance, He shares it with us, and we get to participate in it as a member of the body of Christ.  (For a fun study on your own, go to Bible Gateway and do a word search on “Kingdom of heaven” and “Kingdom of God”…just read through the Scriptures that match the search.  I’m getting so many cool ideas for future blog posts and/or Bible studies. )

The power also belongs to Him.  What power?

All of it.

This is one of the attributes of God, He is “all powerful”, not limited like we are, but able to do above and beyond what we could ever ask or even imagine.  He showed his power from the creation of the world, to the divine protection and deliverance of His people in Egypt, He brings down strongholds, stops the sun, and opens barren wombs.  He shows that power in the lives of His followers, and He demonstrated power over death and sin itself in the resurrection.  You get the picture.  All the power belongs to Him to do with as He pleases.

And the Glory belongs to Him.

Remember all the glorifying that was going on in John 17?  The Bible says that we bring glory to God, He glorifies His Son, and even the heavens declare His glory.  He is the Lord of hosts, the King of glory!  Isaiah says that He doesn’t share His glory with another.  It belongs to Him.  We are told to ascribe to the Lord the glory due His name.  Our lives can bring glory to Him by the way we live them.  If we are walking in obedience to His precepts, and seeking His will in our life, we bring Him glory.  We proclaim that glory when the world sees our love for one another.  When we resist the devil and His ways, and embrace life in the Spirit, we can join with all nature in proclaiming His glory.

Scott Hahn sums it up well, when he says “The Kingdom comes where the King is present. Where the Eucharist is, there is the King. The “kingdom, the power, and the glory” are already here on earth, because the Church, the Eucharistic Kingdom, is already in heaven.

Forever and ever. Amen!”

You can find the rest of the Lord’s prayer at the following links:

Our Father

Let Thy Kingdom Come

Petitions

Kingdom, Power, and Glory

Prayer Journal – Petitions

The last part of the model prayer for the disciples consists of petition for three things.  Because I have a certain penchant for alliteration, I’ll call these petitions:

  • provision
  • pardon, and
  • protection

breadOne of the names of God that stood out to me was Jehovah Jireh, which means “The Lord shall provide”.  It was used in the OT when Abraham’s faith was put to the test and a ram in the thicket was provided, sparing Isaac’s life.  Through the Old Testament, there are pictures of this provision.  One of the most vivid examples is the provision of manna to the children of Israel as they wandered in the desert.

   Manna was gathered daily when God provided for His people wandering in the desert.  Since we are told that man does not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God, (Matthew 4:4) it’s fairly clear that collecting His words and applying them to our lives on a daily basis is as nourishing and beneficial to our spiritual health as food is to our body.  Remember, manna didn’t keep to the next day…the children of Israel had to go out every day and collect it for use that day…same with God’s word.  What we ate last week just doesn’t taste the same after being reheated and served night after night.  In the same way, what we learned yesterday on our journey was used to nourish us and build us up, doesn’t taste as fresh the next day.  No wonder we find God’s word “stale” and “dry”.  If we haven’t gathered our bread for today, we are resorting to munching on stale dry leftover manna from yesterday’s feast.

Now, we know from Scripture that Jesus is the Word of God (John 1:1) who came from heaven (John 17), and He boldly refers to Himself in John 6 as the “Living Bread that came down from heaven…that gives life to the world” (John 6:32, 51).  In doing so, Jesus is not merely comparing Himself to this manna, but actually earnestly laying claim to actually being that same manna that was provided for the wandering Israelites in the desert.  He goes on in this chapter to further baffle, confront, and completely gross out many of his followers.  These same people who had followed him, listened to Him teach, watched Him perform miraculous deeds, tasted of His provision, and hailed him as a prophet after seeing the miracle of the fish and loaves just yesterday, are now confused, irritated, and disgusted at the mental picture of His words today.

When His former fans turned to leave Him, Jesus did not recant His words.  He didn’t correct them for misunderstanding his intention, or  sugar-coat His message to make it palatable.  He could have kept His numbers up here; all He had to do was make His flesh and blood regular bread and grape juice…or a symbol of a deeper spiritual truth.  But He didn’t.  In fact, each time He reiterated his clarification, His terminology got more specific and graphic.  He went from talking about being bread sent from heaven, to the importance of eating, consuming, or devouring His body as a meal (Strong’s 5315), and finally to gnawing, crunching or chewing his flesh (Strong’s 5176).  So greatly repulsed were they, that the Bible says that many of them turned back and no longer followed Him.

Jesus is still the answer to our petition for provision, and continues to offer Himself as our daily bread.   Today, His followers are posed the same question Jesus asked His disciples then.  “Will you leave also?”  Those disciples who continued to follow did so for the sake of eternal life.  And they did so with the understanding that partaking of His body was essential to eternal life.  So it is with His followers today.  Where else would we go?  He alone has the words of eternal life.

trespasses

Jehovah Jireh showed Himself as “Provider” again  years later on Mount Calvary, when He provided the ultimate sacrifice for our sins.

Romans 3:23 tells us that “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God”  It’s true, when we sin, we fall short of God’s glory, we offend His nature, and hurt His heart.  We are in need of His mercy and pardon for our sin, and it comes natural for us to ask, knowing that He is all-forgiving, and all-loving, and desires our fellowship.

When we sin, that sin doesn’t only offend the heart and the nature of God, and affect our relationship/fellowship with Him, but we also hurt the community of fellowship that He has established, in His body, the Church.  In other words, when we make a mess of things, often it gets on others as well as ourselves and God.  If, as John 17 states, the world sees Jesus and knows that He has been sent by God by the way His followers function and relate to others, then sin against the body of Christ also affects my witness to the world that Jesus is Lord.  My mess affects my message.

I have such a hard time with this part of the Lord’s prayer.  My nature wants to hold onto hurt, rehearse it, coddle it…pick at the scab, and blame someone else for the wound in me that will not heal.  But according to this verse, I have to extend to others who have offended and wounded me, that same mercy and pardon that I ask from the Lord for myself.  And just in case I thought I could weasel out of it, He gets super specific and doesn’t pull any punches when He spells it our clearly for us.  It’s almost like He knew we would need further clarification, so he draws us an “if/then” picture: 

I illustrated this in my prayer journal by turning all the T’s into crosses.  It helps me to remember the price of my own forgiveness was the laying down of His life when Jesus died on the cross.  In the same way, I am called to take up my cross and follow Him.  And that cross is heavy to carry, but it’s even heavier when I realize the destination of that cross…death.

For me, this is another bag of M&Ms.  I find myself hurt all over again by a past offense against me, and I have to hoist up that cross again, and carry it to Calvary,  I truly believe actively pursuing this thought is a key to our process of sanctification, becoming holy, here in this sin-stained world.  Only when I die to myself, can I extend forgiveness to others and receive pardon for myself.

deliver

“I am the good Shepherd…”

Because this final petition for protection brings to my mind a picture of our Good Shepherd, I chose to illustrate this page with a staff.  A staff is a multi-purpose walking stick that provides balance for the shepherd and protection for the sheep, as it can be used along the hike to check for dangerous undergrowth, prod a wandering sheep back into the fold, or rescue a wayward or fallen one.

One of my favorite Mother’s day celebrations was the year my children and my husband all pitched in together to surprise me with a picture of a shepherd climbing down the backside of a cliff that overlooks a deep canyon, reaching down to a lamb that had gone astray and found herself in a predicament.  There is a bird of prey hovering above, just waiting for the sheep’s demise.  Thankfully, the shepherd noticed one was missing.  In his love and mercy, He left the other 99 safe in the fold to seek out the one that would otherwise perish.
How often I have identified with that sheep.  I am easily distracted, and find myself in a predicament before I even realize I have separated myself from the Shepherd and the rest of the flock.  I feel isolated and alone, and sometimes I fall, and I need to be rescued.  Jesus lovingly uses the crook of his staff to pull me back to a place of comfort and guidance…then, he continues to lead me.
I love that He leads us.  I really, really love the doctrine of free will.  As a new creation, I am no longer a slave to sin, and I have the freedom to obey.  He continues to lovingly teach me that the benefits of saying yes to God far outweigh the consequences of wandering off on my own, yet He still gives me the choice to love and follow and hears my prayers to be protected from temptation, and delivered from evil.

Prayer Journal – Let Thy Kingdom Come

kingdom comeWhen Mary and Joseph “lost” Jesus, and “found” him in the synagogue teaching the teachers, they asked why he would behave this way and cause them anxiety.  If we want to follow and imitate Him,  His answer should give us a clue to our mission.  He answered;  “didn’t you know I had to be about my Father’s business?” (Luke 2)

As His followers, we need to be about our Father’s business.  When we pray “Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven”, we are recognizing that His will in heaven is our business here on earth, and when we pray for His Kingdom to come, we are lining ourselves up with and agreeing with His will for His Kingdom.  If we are boldly praying for His Kingdom to come, it would behoove us to know what His kingdom looks like.  I think we get a great insight into this by the example Jesus set for us in His prayer  in John 17.

According to this passage, His will is:

  • …that He be glorified in me so that He can bring glory to the Father.
  • …that I know Him.  And as a result of knowing Him, I have eternal life in Him.
  • …that we (His followers) be one, as He and the Father are one…His will is unity in the Spirit.
  • …to have His joy made complete in me.
  • …that I would be sanctified in His word, that is truth.
  • …that the world will know God loves them and will believe Jesus was sent from God by looking at me, and seeing my relationship in Christ.
  • …that God’s love will be in me, and that Jesus Himself will be in me.

thy will

Here I wrote out my favorite answer to the question “What does God want me to do?  What is His will for me?”  I actually learned to sing this Scripture when I was young, and it has never left me.

You can read more of my thoughts on this here.

earth_heaven

I was meditating on this part of the verse as John 17’s words about unity and oneness with the Father, Son, and one another reverberated through my mind, mingled with parts of the Apostle’s creed.  His will (according to John 17) is that we be one…and according to this model of prayer that He gave us, we are to pray that His will be done on earth, as in heaven.  He has one body, and we are all part of one another, here on earth as well as in heaven.

This is a vivid picture of the communion of the saints that is taught and professed in the apostles creed.  Though they have gone from this life on earth to REAL life, eternal life in heaven, a departed saint is still part of the “body of Christ”.  Dying has not disconnected them from Christ’s body of believers, otherwise, where would they go?  Christ only has one body, and it is comprised of those here on earth, as well as those in heaven.

I believe they are part of that cloud of witnesses in Hebrews 12 that is watching and cheering us on in our journey (the race), and they can and do continue to pray to the Father for us.  They haven’t left or been removed from His body, they are still active participants in His will at the feet of “our Father in heaven”, just as we are present in His body, the church, here on earth.  We are still one body, and we are held together, connected in purpose and spirit, by the Son, in whom we find unity one with another, as He prayed we would.

Our Father

Petitions

Prayer Journal – Our Father

9 Pray then like this:  First, how not to pray…now, the instruction of how rather to pray:

Our Father who art in heaven, — I love that God is not just Jesus’ Father…and he’s not just my Father…but our Father.  I am not an only child here!  I have a huge family unit consisting of brothers and sisters, spanning the globe and the ages.  We are one big family!  “Father” is a personal, intimate term.  It indicates a family relationship, of favor, love, nurturing and protection.  We might not have the best example in our earthly fathers, but everything that we would expect and respect in our own earthly daddy, God is to us, and infinitely more.  In fact, He sets the bar for earthly fathers, even the best daddy in this world will fall short of the excellency of our Heavenly Father.

Hallowed be thy name.

God’s name and very essence is “hallowed” which means holy, or consecrated (set apart…above all) sacred, or revered  (I’d be getting WAY AHEAD of myself here if I took you on the bunny trail of the word sanctification…we’ll get to it in a bit, I promise).  While we are not the ones doing the “hallowing”, by observing and understanding the holy, sacred nature of God’s Name, we participate in an act of worship to Our Father, God.  It is  the first step in adoration, that is, recognizing  and reverencing Him for who He is, apart from what He’s done/is doing. By the way, if you’ve never done a personal study on the names of God, you are missing out on some wonderful heart knowledge.  I love the thought of incorporating God’s names and attributes into my prayers, but often my mind goes blank and I can’t bring them to mind.  Having a list handy during my prayer time would be helpful, so I decided to devote one page of my prayer journal to the attributes of God, and another to the names that are recorded of His.

Our Father_Hallowed Names_Attributes

This was a lofty plan, I found as I began a crash course on the attributes/names of God, using this site.    Wow.  I knew there was not enough room on my page to list them all (further proof that our God cannot and will not be contained).  I finally just chose the ones that are relevant to me where I am on my journey today.  Eventually, I plan to do an in-depth study of the names of God, I’ll write the Hebrew name on one side of an open page, and the English meaning on the other.  For now, because of limited space, I gave myself permission to write only the English meaning of the Hebrew name.  Since God is both perfect and multilingual, I figure He’s okay with me not butchering the Hebrew when calling on Him.

What about you?   Do you find it helpful to focus you attention on His attributes when you address Him by name?  What are the names/attributes of God that you focus on when you pray?

TipUnfortunately, even with the pages doubled, my marker bled through to the opening page of my journal.  To prevent this, on future pages, I illustrated first (with an index card underneath the page(s)  I’m coloring), then glued when finished.

Let Thy Kingdom Come

Prayer Journal – Teach Us to Pray

artsyGather your favorite artsy supplies and your creative juices, and let’s make a prayer book or prayer journal. This project can be as simple or as involved as your imagination, creativity and time constraints allow.  If you are a scrapbooker, or painter, or smashbooker,  you may have some supplies or techniques that you want to incorporate into your journal.  The purpose for my little book of prayer is to break down and illustrate the Disciples’ Prayer into bite sized pieces for reflection and meditation.  I’m keeping it simple for now, but may want to embellish down the road as I pray through it in the future.  This would make a fun VBS craft for kids, especially if you had cutouts ready to glue on for quick pages.

journals

I chose to use the tiny composition notebooks (found them 3 for $0.88 at Walmart), but if you like to write out your prayers, you can certainly use a larger one (they are marked down to $0.50 each for back to school sales!!!)  I also have some kiddie scissors, a glue stick, colored pencils, and sharpie markers.

prayer journal

This is the outside of my book.  I thought about keeping it simple and leaving it plain, and focused on the inside first.  Then I found a card that was sent to me a few months ago from a friend, and decided to reuse some of it for my project.    I may continue to embellish the outside later, or I may just choose to leave it as it is…like I said, the sky’s the limit with the project, and will be a personal reflection of the author.

pray

I found this shadow picture through an online search for images on prayer, I traced it, then put it under the first page in my book and traced it again.  I liked it so much, I turned it over and did the right side the same for a cool double image.  I like to imagine it’s me and my husband, or me and a friend, with heads bowed, agreeing in prayer.  (Matthew 18:19,20)

Tip: Because my black sharpie marker bled through the page, I attached the first page to the inside cover of my book, then glued the second image to the page behind it.  I like how sturdy and thick that page feels and decided to do the same with the other pages.

In Luke Chapter 11, Jesus is praying in a certain place, and one of his disciples says to him, “Lord, teach us to pray…”  Some days I feel like that disciple.  How do I address God?  What do I say?  How do I present myself?

Well, here Jesus doesn’t blink, but lays it right out for them, how to pray.

And he said to them, “When you pray, say:

“Father, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come.

Give us each day our daily bread;

and forgive us our sins, for we ourselves forgive every one who is indebted to us; and lead us not into temptation.”

My brother once pointed out that three of us six siblings were named with  “y” in our names.  And we are the three that wore our parents out with asking “why?”  I love it when Jesus explains Himself and His ways.  Matthew’s account of this gives us even more information, first we get instruction on “how not to” pray as well as the  “why not”.  I love this about the Lord…especially in teaching us how to approach our Father.

 Concerning Prayer

Matthew 6:“And when you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites; for they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, that they may be seen by men. Truly, I say to you, they have their reward. But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you.

“And in praying do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do; for they think that they will be heard for their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.

This passage reminds me of the parable in Luke 18 of the Pharisee and the tax collector.  The Pharisee stood in a high place where he could easily be seen, arrogantly looking down his nose on “sinners”, and bragging to God on his own superiority and works of righteousness.  The tax collector in humiliation and shame would not even lift his eyes to heaven, but recognizing his sin and need for a savior, beat his breast, and begged for mercy.  Jesus said one of those men went home justified.  Care to guess which one?

Social standing, outward appearance, and eloquent words do not move God to justify man.  He isn’t looking at the outward stature of a man, but at the inward posture of the heart.  He isn’t impressed with our performance, and He isn’t looking for many words, but humility in spirit, and genuine words of sincerity.  Before I pray, I need to empty myself of my self, lay my heart out bare before myself and Him, and ask Him to teach me to pray as He taught His first disciples.