By, Joy Joyner
Me and cooking have never really gotten along very well. Which is pretty ironic considering I work in the cafeteria. Maybe that is why God has put me there, to improve my skills in this area. I have actually learned a few things about myself and possibly why my cooking doesn't exactly turn out as I’d hoped. One of the reasons is simply following instructions or rather the recipe. You see, I try to behave like the master chefs, just add a dash of this and a little of that. Then I kind of veer off from professionalism and start going rogue. Oh, the recipe calls for salt, looks like I’m out of that, Ehhh, it’ll be fine.
I remember a time one of my best friends from college came home with me. She was so excited to show me her special Chocolate chip cookie recipe. We began the process of getting together the ingredients and setting up the baking area. Then she began putting me on my tasks. Of course I thought I would help her out in some other areas and jumped ahead here and there.
Then she began telling me about how important it was to follow the recipe in order because it would affect the outcome of the texture of the cookies. Woops!!! I’ll never forget her words of disappointment once the cookies came out of the oven. “These cookies did NOT turn out the way they were supposed to, I’m not sure what went wrong?” Of course, I thought they were great cookies, but they were not what the author of the recipe intended for them to be and the results spoke for themselves.
A lot of times this is how we approach our prayer life. (God is always appreciative when we pray. Like a toddler having a conversation with an adult. That adult loves talking and conversing with the child but it does not compare to an adult conversation. When we first begin to pray our prayers may be that of a toddler but they should not stay there. We have to grow in our conversation with Him). We want to just throw together some ingredients and present it to God as a masterpiece and as a child in Christ He loves it, but He has given us a recipe that He wants us to follow.
So without further ado, let’s look at and observe this recipe and start applying it to our prayer life.
"Our Father who art in Heaven, Hallowed be Thy Name."
Jesus first starts out by giving all honor and praise to God. He acknowledges who God is and the Praise He deserves. This is how we should always begin our prayers. I used to always begin my prayers with confession of my sins but after studying this recipe I realized that is not the correct order of prayer. The first order of prayer is to get our hearts in the right place. Off of ME and on to Him. Recognizing Him, His holiness and power!
"Thy Kingdom Come, Thy Will be done on earth as it is in heaven."
This is probably one of my most favorite parts of the prayer! In order to appreciate it in full I would have to do a whole series on the idea of God’s Kingdom so for now I will try to give a quick synopsis of what this means. When Jesus came to earth He was ushering in God’s KIngdom. He taught and lived out how God’s kingdom was to be on earth. He commissioned us to further His Kingdom.
Eventually God’s full Kingdom will come down to live on earth but for now we are the forerunners to that ultimate promise. Therefore our homes and lives ought to be Kingdom minded. They ought to be an example to the world of what a kingdom home, wife, mother, daughter, friend, coworker, boss, employee ought to be. I cannot begin to tell you how much my parenting changed after I began praying this prayer on a daily basis. I will give an example of how that can be prayed later.
"Give us this day our daily bread"
Most of us here reading this probably, truly do not need to pray that God provide our food for us. We have steady jobs, we have money to buy food and if we do not have the money we have options provided for us to receive the help we need. That being said we should pray for this to always be met and not take those things for granted. It is a great reminder to us where our daily bread ultimately comes from.
With that being said, let’s take this a little bit deeper. What did Jesus tell Satan when He was being tempted to turn rocks into bread? Man shall not live by bread alone but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God. Jesus referred to Himself as the bread of LIfe. So we should not only be praying for physical bread but also spiritual bread. I find it very interesting that this portion of prayer comes immediately after we pray for God’s kingdom to be done in our lives. We cannot fulfil that without our daily spiritual bread.
"Forgive us our tresspasses as we forgive those who have trespassed against us."
This one is self explanatory. The only thing I find interesting about this passage is how far down it is in the prayer. When I once used to start my prayers with asking forgiveness, it really blows my mind that this is not one of the first things that God asks us to pray. I think it goes to show that while we are to confess our sins and be repentant of sins that is not where God wants us to focus our attention first.
Maybe by the time our minds are focused on the positive main objective, praising God, being kingdom people and kingdom minded, filling our physical and spiritual tummys, our hearts are truly in a state of humble repentance. Not in an "oh woah is me, I’m a despicable, sinful human being and all my sins separate me from you so therefore I must confess and grovel before you" sort of way. But in an inspired, truly cleanse me of my sins so that I can be a kingdom mom, wife, sister, daughter. I don’t want these sins in my life because I want to be successful in my spiritual growth!
The only thing I would add is that Jesus made it very clear that we forgive others before He can forgive us. He even reiterated it after the prayer. Forgiveness is always hard but is a must!
"Lead us not into temptation"
Do you ever pray that? Do you ever think to ask God to lead you away from the temptations in your life that plague you? He tells us to! If you don't, perhaps you should give it a try. He says that He will make a way of escape. Trust His promise!
"Deliver us from evil."
Pray for protection! Do you pray for protection everyday? Maybe for a long trip but how about every day? Do it!!
"For Thine is the Kingdom and the Power and the Glory Forever, Amen"
Some argue that this last piece was not what Jesus originally said, but what’s it going to hurt to sandwich a prayer between praise. You start by getting your mindset prepared and end by remembering Who God is and what He is capable of. Not to mention we are instructed to pray with thanks that God answered our prayer already. What better way to end a prayer than in Thankfulness and praise!
If you would like to see an example of the Lord’s Prayer put into my own words, click HERE!