Because I find new understanding when I use a variety of translations, this day I see a glimmer in the Lord’s Prayer that has eluded me all these years.
Jesus told them, “When you pray, say: ‘Father, uphold the holiness of your name. Bring in your kingdom. Give us the bread we need for today. Forgive us our sins, for we also forgive everyone who has wronged us. And don’t lead us into temptation.’” [Luke 11:2-4, CEB]
In this translation (Common English Bible), the verb “uphold” is used along with all the other requests: do something, do this.
Usually this section is translated as “hallowed be thy name” or “may your name be kept holy,” but this is a rare version in which we can ask God to act in such a way that the name of God would remain pure and holy and full of power. We are saying, “Lord, do whatever it takes to remain holy,” and in mind, I am letting God know that this relationship of God’s holiness and my lack of it are critical to the order of things. Without the holiness of God, I am lost.
“Oh God, hear me. No matter what I say or do, no matter how the world distracts itself from your Truth, uphold your holiness, because in this way, the kingdom of God will come and reign and goodness will triumph. In the meantime, keep my body whole and when I personally choose badly, forgive me. I promise, I will do my best to do the same for others. And above all, don’t let me mistake your way but strengthen my resolve to be steadfast.”
This is my prayer.
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Today I have decided to memorize a blessing of words and love for anyone in need. I discovered this passage today in Colossians.
Because of this, since the day we [I] heard about you, we [I] haven’t stopped praying for you and asking for you to be filled with the knowledge of God’s will, with all wisdom and spiritual understanding. We’re [I am] praying this so that you can live lives [a life] that are [is] worthy of the Lord and pleasing to him in every way: by producing fruit in every good work and growing in the knowledge of God; by being strengthened through his glorious might so that you endure everything and have patience; and by giving thanks with joy to the Father. He made it so you could take part in the inheritance, in light granted to God’s holy people. He rescued us from the control of darkness and transferred us into the kingdom of the Son he loves. He set us [you and me] free through the Son and forgave our sins. [Colossians 1:9-14, CEB]
So often, people ask for prayer, at the conclusion of a meeting or on Facebook, or even in the hallway at work. Please pray for me and I, being the dutifully believer, say that I will. But how often do my good intentions slide by and I forget that name or that circumstance. This short prayer covers so much and if I am able to put it to memory, it can be in my mind and in that moment. It’s a complete blessing, full of the riches of promise and good will, grace and hope. And so, even right now, whoever may read this post, know, that I offer these same words to you.
All of these things I pray , in the name of Jesus, who is “the image of the invisible God” [Colossians 1:15].
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Posted in Lent, tagged Ash Wednesday, ashes, bread and wine, Christ, contrite heart, devotion, devotional work, heart, Joel, keys, Lent, locks, prayer, secret places, surrender on March 5, 2014 |
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Tonight our church entered Lent with two Ash Wednesday services. One of the themes was “keys” and how we can use those keys to unlock those places hidden away inside our hearts.
Even now,” declares the Lord, “return to me with all your heart, with fasting and weeping and mourning.” Rend your heartand not your garments. Return to the Lord your God, for he is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love, and he relents from sending calamity. [Joel 2:12-13]
We mark the beginning of Lent with this day. It can become a mere ritual of ashes, bread, and wine, or it can be enriched with commitment and desire. Do I want more of God in my life? Do I want to surrender the secret places?
Lent is not just a time of “giving something up.” It’s a time of exchange. I will to exchange one time sucker, one habit, for something new, for devotion, for meditation, for prayer, for reading, for conversation with Spirit. I not taking away. I am adding. I am making a promise. That is the message of Ash Wednesday and Lent for me.
One of the stations we had was a cross where we could affix a simple post-it note with something (or someone) that is hindering our journey to the Cross. This roadblock we gave to Christ. As one of the organizers of the Ash Wednesday service, I feel compelled to treat these requests with respect. And so, as part of my devotion, I will be praying over and with these requests along with those who left them there. I will be their Aaron for these 40 days, as God reveals.
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Posted in Ordinary Time, tagged Abraham, Christ, Code Red, Daniel McNaughton, follow, followership, Genesis, healing, hearing, love, prayer, Restore Church, righteousness, wicked, wickedness on January 17, 2014 |
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What is your take-away in the negotiation between Abraham and the 3 “angels” about the fate of Sodom and Gomorrah?
Abraham: Please don’t be angry, Lord, at my boldness. Let me ask this just once more: suppose only ten [righteous people] are found?
Eternal One: For the sake of only ten [righteous people], I still will not destroy it [the city]. [Genesis 18:32, The Voice]
And there it is, the ultimate question and answer, “Will God sweet away the righteous with the wicked?” Those who study the end times have all kinds of scenarios about the final destruction, the great apocalypse. But in the end, don’t we really wonder, would God cast all away in one full sweep? Abraham wondered the same thing.
The answer was that God would save the city for the sake of the ten . . . but ten could not be found.
Ten could not be found.
How many are enough to save the Earth? or our nation? or continent? Will God stay the hand of destruction for the sake of the beloved? Am I one? Am I enough to make a difference in my world’s fate?
Today, at our church’s “Code Red Revival,” the last of our guest speakers [Daniel McNaughton, from his book, Learning to Follow Jesus] laid out a clear context in which any believer must be operating in the world:
- Learn to be with Jesus (like any mentor and mentee relationship, you must hang out together).
- Learn to listen (it takes practice to hear God and there are many places where that can happen: in a large group like a church setting; in a small group like a bible study or micro-church; in a one-on-one relationship with another person; or simply alone with God).
- Learn to heal (for this is modeled by the Christ and healing is promised, whether physical-mental-relational).
- Learn to influence (being the salt of the earth or light in a dark place).
- Learn to love (for God is love and until we step toward people in love, even those we “hate,” nothing changes).
- Learn to pray (it is a dialogue built on respect and trust in which we can intersect with the divine).
- Learn to manage God’s resources (work with the gifts we are given, now and along the way).
This is how we can be one of the ten or twenty or 10,000. Thanks be to God.
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