I know what people are prone to say. We say it in conversation; we love to post it on facebook, we sing it in songs and even stick it to our cars. Please allow me to be clear, it is not my intent to offend anyone or hurt their delicate feelings or call anyone out… this rant is on me.
I do not love God, I love me. I attempt to love God, I seek to love God, I show love to God, I even place my hope and heart in the hands of God, but it is a little hypocritical and dishonest to say I love God. Don’t get me wrong, I do not judge others who say it, I don’t start conversations with an obligatory statement about how I don’t love God and sometimes out of sheer exuberance I just say it without thinking (at those moments I probably do love God but to be completely upfront it is probably reaction to some great thing He has done as opposed to Him simply being God).God is my greatest hope and my greatest fear, I’m not afraid of Hell or being “Left Behind” (thanks LaHaye for ruining the awesomeness of Revelation btw) He is truth and to make matters worse he is truth beyond the perception of my own insight. Now I don’t get caught up in the things God cares about, I get caught up in my own concerns, some concerns are godly, others are wicked; most are surely selfish. I don’t consider what will benefit Him most nor do I beg and plead for His good, I find myself focused on myself or at least my immediate circumstance far more often than I am on a bigger picture. This picture of loving God molds every pursuit in my heart, so when I think I think harder, when I work I work intentionally, when I serve I serve without expectation…
So when I pray, I pray simpler, I love written prayer cause it makes me think, I love Luther’s prayers cause they are honest, I love personal prayer with a good friend, I have a small book of prayers that I hold very dear. I love the Lord’s Prayer because even in its concern for the self it relinquishes the selfishness of “more” and simply asks for the “lesser”
Our Father — you see it puts all the focus back on God, on His love for us and not our false or imaginary, or well intentioned but ultimately lackluster love for Him. It also focuses on the gentleness and authority He extends toward us, Our father, not our judge (although that’s part of fathership) not our friend (although what greater joy is there for a man than realizing that your dad can be your friend also?) Not a genie or a wishing well, simply Father. A father that says no and yes without our counsel.
who is in Heaven —He is still separate even though He is intimately close. There is no familiarity with God though there may be comfort, He maintains His “otherness” even in closeness.
Holy is your name — Not my name or my ideas, or my conception of you. Your name alone and above all else is holy, separate, consecrated, exalted. And that name is Yahweh (God) without equal or comparison.
Your kingdom come — Though He is in heaven (referenced above) His rule, His way, dominion is invading the Earth, and we are ambassadors and citizens of that kingdom, we have not yet inherited it outwardly but we may see it effected inwardly and working its way out in our lives. When I spend time with the people of God I get to see the kingdom enacted in humility, in frailty, in service and abounding love. I saw it last weekend at a men’s football dinner, I’ll see it this weekend at home church.
Your will be done — This is the hard part; learning to separate God’s will and my own is the hardest Christian lesson. It requires all effort and there is no down-time, if we let go for one second the supremacy of Christ and His purpose we fall to pride and self-serving ambition.
On Earth as it is in Heaven — this is the active function of Christian living, not that we are perfect or saintly or without flaw, but that we share in the ministry of reconciliation, in the risen hearts of men, like the Levites, we have the role, the commission and the privilege of living out God’s will on Earth. It is hard work, it is discomforting and I’m pretty sure most of us suck at it, but the prayer refocuses us to that end.
Give us this day our daily bread — man oh man, we ask for luxury while a world is dying in poverty, I’m not saying shun the blessing, I’m just saying, what is the blessing for?
And forgive us our tresspass as we forgive those that trespass against us — nobody seems to get this. This isn’t about asking for forgiveness it’s about extending forgiveness. There is no line that others can cross that will outreach the extent God reaches to save us. I don’t ask for forgiveness, I seek the power of forgiveness, to truly look beyond faults and weakness and see spiritual worth. There is power in the blood that many will never know or even begin to understand.
And lead us not into temptation — I am weak, we are weak. We should follow God away from that which can destroy us and into freedom. That is not to say we should remain weak, as power grows in us we should commit to saving lives and bringing hope to hurting and broken people, that is the intention of spiritual growth, to remain meek in motive and livelihood but strong in faith to resist temptation and war against evil.
But deliver us from evil — This is a matter of complete trust, I laugh when people say they want to take on the Devil. They do not understand God nor do they understand the enemy! Only god can defeat evil, and you can only stand in the crossfire and be destroyed. The best thing we can do is seek God and find His strength. The work of evil is all around but there is no trust in God to destroy it, instead Christians want to devote democracy and social action toward ending evil. Don’t be silly, pray harder, pray longer, seek more, work less, love without holding back. Those things work.
Thine is the kingdom and the power and the Glory, Forever. Amen.
…so I love that God loves me, I love his freedom and protection, but I’m seeking to love Him, to know Him. I’m commanded to love but I’m honest in my assessment that I’m not that good at following that command. I love God.