THE BEAUTIFUL NAME

Lk.11:2 – And he said to them, “When you pray, say:

“Father, hallowed be your name.

Your kingdom come.”

How beautiful is the name of our Lord, his lovely Name is connected to His glory. At the mention of His Name our hearts are stirred. The heavens and the earth bow in worship and response to His Name, how much more the sons and daughters of God. Jesus Himself taught us to begin our prayers worshipping the Name of the Lord. It is in worship that the atmosphere itself begins to change. I was recently teaching the book of Revelation and became aware of the stark difference between the scenes in heaven and the drama on earth during the last days. In heaven, every creature was awestruck, worshipping the Name of the Lord. On earth; anger, profanity, and confusion. For the believer, worship is our very life. Here is an amazing quote from Francois Lambert, an early French reformer.

“The Name of God Is Holy and Unique, Deserving of Hallowing. This is the name that we explained extensively in chapter one above: “And you will call his name Jesus.” This name is sanctified by everything, and we should always pray before it. That thing is holy which is not common and ordinary but rather singular and chosen out of all things, which we also taught in the first chapter above. Therefore it is prayed here that the name of God might be hallowed by everyone together; that is, that it might be recognized by everyone everywhere that it is most just and perfect, and that by virtue of such it might be held and announced. Its excellence is so lofty, superior and more than wonderful that nothing may be united to it. Therefore his name is holy because it is singularly glorious and the highest of all things whatsoever, having nothing in common with what is created and corruptible.”

So today, we join with the cherubim. the angels, and the redeemed from every tribe and every generation in worshipping the Name of the Lord. It is the beginning of prayer and the beginning of life, from the place of worship His glory begins to fall and true prayer begins. From here, our faith soars and all things are possible. Start your day today following the instruction of the Lord, honor the Beautiful Name and you will find yourself infused with His life.

MORE LORD

Luke 11: 13 – If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?

I think many of us sell ourselves short when it comes to spiritual things. We try to get by on our past experiences when continual fellowship with the Lord and outpourings of the Spirit are part of our inheritance. In today’s verse the Lord reminded us how much a Father wants to give good things to his children. He goes on to say how much more will your Heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him. The good news is this, God’s giving is part of His eternal nature. In other words He never stops! His giving of Himself through the Holy Spirit is constant and abundant. There is always more available. Here are some thoughts from Jonathan Edwards on continuing in His presence.

“This is not too great a blessing to be sought. Though it be a blessing that would render a people exceeding happy, yet this is not a happiness too great for a people to desire and seek. So merciful is God that those blessings that are the greatest blessings, and tend most to our happiness, are those that we have the greatest encouragement to seek of any. We may, therefore, doubtless seek not only the bestowment of it, but the continuance of it We are allowed to seek the continuance of outward mercies. Thus we are directed to seek the continuance of our outward food, and to pray that God would give us day by day our daily bread. But we stand in more need of the continuance of our spiritual food, of having that bestowed from day to day, and much more than our outward food. ‘Tis true that when such a blessing is bestowed remarkably on a people, ’tis ordinarily but of short continuance. But yet that is no argument that we ought not to seek, or that it is too great a happiness for a people to desire, or ask of God.”

If you think about it, it is impossible for the Lord to stop giving and flowing. His very nature is like a fountain. It is inevitable that the fountain overflows. So don’t settle for reflecting on the good old days, He is here now and is pouring out His Spirit.

PRAYING FOR A MOVE OF THE SPIRIT

Luke 11:13 If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!”

Human beings can be just plain weird. You would think that we would be concerned about our spiritual condition but far too often it takes a catastrophe to bring us to our knees. Our country, our church, and our family can be in a sorry spiritual state and we just don’t seem concerned about it to really pray. It may take a semi-catastrophic event to get our attention. Loss of job, devastating doctor’s report, lawsuits or arrests may lead to prayer; but what about spiritual apathy, moral corruption in our highest government offices, and churches that focus on success in this life and seem to blur the lines between the profane and the sacred. Jonathan Edwards dealt with the same problems in his community in the 1700’s. In this sermon segment he appeals for his church to pray simply for spiritual renewal.

“But there is another sort of blessing that the children of men are capable of and that they stand in need of, which are through the influences of the Holy Spirit: such as the sanctification of our natures, our being made partakers of the divine nature, having the love of God shed abroad in our hearts, being united to the Son of God, being the children of God, having the presence of God, the light of his countenance and communion and fellowship with him, having divine peace and joy and living a divine life, and being hereafter possessed of eternal life and glory— which are more excellent things than the other, as high above all the temporal enjoyments of princes as heaven is high above the earth. They are infinitely the most necessary, the most profitable, the most honorable, the most pleasant and delightful and satisfying, and the most durable blessing.”

So I think it is time to pray again. Our schools have strayed from their moorings that made our country great, our political leaders are floundering in the land of political correctness, our preachers are caught up in serving peoples’s perceived need for their best life now rather than challenging them to prepare for eternity. It’s time to seek the Lord so that He can send showers of blessing upon our land once again.

180 PRAYER – ONE MORE TIME LORD!

Luke 11:13 If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!”

We recently started morning prayer on Wednesday mornings at our church. Boy, did that bring back some memories. We had done morning prayer daily from 1979 all the way until 1994. The main point of our prayer for those sixteen years was to cry out for a move of God. Now it’s time to pray again. There seems to be an expectancy and a hunger growing in the church for another move of the Spirit. Of course we are all praying for many personal as well as kingdom things but lying beneath the surface of it all is a growing roar, ‘ONE MORE TIME LORD !’. We are calling out for another visitation of the Holy Spirit in our region. Jonathan Edwards found himself in the same situation in his church; praying for a revival between two moves of the Spirit. Here is a powerful segment from Edwards’ sermon ‘Praying for the Spirit’.

“Therefore let all souls now stir up themselves. Aged people, let them cry earnestly for such a mercy, that they may have the advantage of one more such blessed season to prepare for death in before they go out of the world, and that they may say with good old Simeon, “now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, according to thy word. For mine eyes have seen thy salvation” [Luke 2:29-30].

Let heads of families earnestly cry to God for this blessing. Let concern for yourselves and compassion for your poor children, that you have been the instruments of bringing into the world, stir you up. If God should not any more remarkably pour out his Spirit upon us, in all likelihood most of your poor children, the bigger part of the rising generation, will burn in hell to all eternity. Consider [that] you have been the instruments of bringing children into the world in a miserable state and condition, under wrath, and will you not earnestly seek a blessing by which they may be saved?

Let young people now earnestly cry to God. Let sinners cry to God. Let saints cry to God. Let all cry for the pouring out of the Spirit on their own souls and on others. Let all that are admitted near to God, to communion with God, improve that opportunity.”

So join us in our prayers, ‘Lord send another revival to me, to my church, to my city, and to our nation’.

A WAY TO PRAY

Luke 11:1 Now it came to pass, as He was praying in a certain place, when He ceased, that one of His disciples said to Him, “Lord, teach us to pray, as John also taught his disciples.”

Jesus taught His disciples to pray. According to today’s verse, John taught his disciples to pray. Leading people into a lifestyle of prayer has been a huge part of mentoring since time began. Instructing individuals about how to make contact with the Living God is the greatest of all lessons. I learned about prayer through daily life as well as in class room instruction. My first mentor lived next-door to me at our Bible school. I learned about prayer through his early morning prayer sessions (it helped that all of the windows were open). I also learned about prayer from a prayer seminar called “Change the World School of Prayer” with Dick Eastmond. I am forever grateful for those two vehicles that helped me to make continual contact with the Lord. Matthew Henry also taught his followers about prayer in his book ‘A Way to Pray’. Here is a short excerpt from his first chapter.

“Let me rouse myself to take hold of God, to seek his face, and to ascribe to him the glory due his name.

Unto you, O Lord, do I lift up my soul.

Let me now with confidence enter the holy place by the blood of Jesus, by the new and living way that he opened for me through the curtain, that is, through his flesh .

Let me now attend to the Lord with undivided devotion, and let not my heart be far from him when I draw near to him with my mouth and honor him with my lips.

Let me now worship God, who is spirit, in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him.

Address God with Reverence and Awe

Having thus engaged my heart to approach God.

I must solemnly address myself to that infinitely great and glorious Being with whom I have to do, as one who is possessed with a full belief of his presence and a holy awe and reverence of his Majesty, which may be done in such expressions as these:

Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord God Almighty, who was and is and is to come!

O you whose name is the LORD, who alone are the Most High over all the earth!”

We really can enter His gates with thanksgiving and enter His courts with praise. As Henry pointed out, we come into His presence by faith in His blood. That is where we rest, that is where we worship, that is where we find restoration.

THE FATHER’S BLESSING

THE FATHER’S BLESSING

Luke 11:2 ¶ So He said to them, “When you pray, say:
Our Father in heaven,
Hallowed be Your name.
Your kingdom come.
Your will be done
On earth as it is in heaven.

One of the simplest and, at the same time, most profound things Jesus taught is what we call the Lord’s Prayer. Jesus shared this prayer with his disciples in response to their simple request, “Lord, teach us to pray”. This is a great example of the teaching of our Lord, child like simplicity and unmistakeable power. No one ever taught like this man. The beginning of this prayer begins to lead us out into the bottomless ocean of God’s love; “Our Father”, how incredible. The Lord of all things has become my Father. As I begin my prayer calling out to my Father I become aware of His nearness and love for me. Intimacy like this is beyond anything I had ever hoped for, I am safe and secure in the protection of my Father God. A.B. Simpson spoke about this intimacy in prayer as we call out to our Heavenly Father.

“The first view given of God in the Lord’s Prayer is not His majesty but His paternal love. To the listening disciples this must have been a strange expression from the lips of their Lord as a pattern for them. Never had Jewish ear heard God so named, at least in His relation to the individual. The Father of the Nation He was sometimes called, but no sinful man had ever dared to call God his Father. They, doubtless, had heard their Master speak in this delightful name of God as His Father, but that they should call Jehovah by such a name had never dawned upon their legal and unillumined minds. And yet it really means that we may and should recognize that God is our Father in the very sense in which He is His Father, and ours as partakers of His Sonship and His Name. The Name expresses the most personal and tender love, protection, care, and intimacy; and it gives to prayer, at the very outset, the beautiful atmosphere of the home circle and the delightful affectionate and intimate fellowship of friend with friend.”

One of the profound blessings we receive when The Lord pours out His Spirit in revival is a restoration of intimacy and relation with our Father in heaven. One of the hubs of the revival in the 1990’s was the Toronto Airport Church. The Spirit of God began to be poured out there in unusual ways in January of 1994. One of the distinct characteristics of that outpouring was a new appreciation of the Father’s love. As a matter of fact the pastor of that church, John Arnott, liked to call the outpouring “The Father’s Blessing”. He wrote a popular book about his experiences called “The Father’s Blessing” describing the restoration of intimacy with God. At the end of the day that is what revival (or prayer for that matter) is all about. The Lord pours out His Spirit of grace and supplication, our response is “Father, thank you for your love for me”.

TEACH US TO PRAY

TEACH US TO PRAY

Luke 11:1 Now it came to pass, as He was praying in a certain place, when He ceased, that one of His disciples said to Him, “Lord, teach us to pray, as John also taught his disciples.”

We were at church in Coos Bay, Oregon for a Sunday morning service, there was nothing normal about anything else. This was our “day off” from tree planting and the church we were attending was in a former hospital that had been converted into a Christian community. The worship was refreshing but I will never forget the sermon I heard that day. The pastor taught on the Lord’s prayer as the model prayer for our private time with the Lord. I had never heard anything like that before and for me it was life changing. Since that time I have come to understand that teaching the Lord’s prayer as a model for our prayer life is as old as the church itself. Technically, that is what Jesus was doing that day, giving his disciples a model prayer for their prayer life. A. B. Simpson shared some powerful thoughts about this prayer and the Lord’s call to prayer.

“This wonderful prayer was dictated by our Lord in reply to the question on the part of His disciples, “Lord, teach us to pray.” His answer was to bid them pray. This is the only way we shall ever learn to pray, by just beginning to do it. And as the babbling child learns the art of speech by speaking, and the lark mounts up to the heights of the sky by beating its little wings again and again upon the air, so prayer will teach us how to pray; and the more we pray, the more shall we learn the mysteries and heights and depths of prayer. And the more we pray, the more we shall realize the incomparable fullness and completeness of this unequaled prayer, the prayer of universal Christendom, the common liturgy of the Church of God, the earliest and holiest recollection of every Christian child, and the latest utterance often of the departing soul. We who have used it most have come to feel that there is no want which it does not interpret and no holy aspiration which it may not express. There is nothing else in the Holy Scriptures which more fully evolves the great principles that underlie the divine philosophy of prayer.”

Over the years this prayer has been reintroduced into my life by the Lord. In the eighties there was a powerful prayer movement that seemed to be connected to Dr. Yonggi Cho’s teaching on the Lord’s prayer. Churches all over America were having early morning prayer meetings. As a result we had early morning prayer in our church for years. Sometimes, we had more people in the prayer meetings than in our evening services. So let’s revisit the Lord’s prayer, it is impossible to improve upon it. In it you will find intimacy, worship, intercession, petition, forgiveness, and declarations of faith; you will also find Jesus, after all, that’s what His prayer is all about.