Praying the ‘Our Father’ prayer can be likened to entering a spiritual house. Every part of the prayer can in one sense be viewed as a whole room of treasure to be explored in prayer. As we wait and ponder the depth of each word, of each sentence, a treasury of revelation inspired by the Holy Spirit floods our hearts and minds, filling us with awe and wonder for our God! In this second article on the topic, we reflect on the last few facets of the ‘Our Father’ prayer.

 

FORGIVENESS

Forgive us our trespasses

Forgiveness literally means ‘to untie’ or ‘to let go.’ To have our trespasses forgiven, we must confess them. We have to admit what we have done wrong, without excuse! The Holy Spirit helps us to discern our wrongs, for we cannot perceive it ourselves. Jesus died on the cross and shed His Blood to cover all the sins of mankind, but we have to accept this free gift by acknowledging that we have sinned and asking God to save us from our fallen state. In Christ, we then receive forgiveness and our sins are cancelled. (1 John 1:7).

 

Focus on God’s perspective: When last did you spend time to think about your life: how you relate to or treat people, your family, your spouse? How you do business or speak to someone assisting you in the bank or in a supermarket? More than jotting down rights and wrongs, ask the Holy Spirit to help you see the true condition of your heart. Write these things down and pray through each one.

 

FREEDOM

As we also have forgiven those who have trespassed against us

Why do we need to forgive daily? Hebrews 12:15 (NKJV) says: “looking carefully lest anyone fall short of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up cause trouble, and by this many become defiled”. Keeping a short account will stop small issues from becoming big ones! Forgiveness is key to be restored to fellowship with God and others. Forgiveness is an ongoing process throughout our lives. As we finish dealing with the past, we are confronted with new things we must set right. We all feel the sting of our pride being wounded, offended or hurt by someone. If not dealt with, such memories will leave scars on our soul. One psychiatrist stated that since she had started encouraging them to simply forgive others, she had seen quicker healing in her patients.

 

Focus on God’s perspective: Getting rid of hurt or rejection because of what others have done to us is difficult. But the truth is, if we don’t, it will be harder on us than on the offenders. The burden of unforgiveness becomes unbearable. Although it is difficult to admit unforgiveness in our hearts, it is crucial, even if we will never hear the offenders apologise to us. There is no time like the present to begin dealing with such matters. Ask God’s forgiveness for what you have done and also forgive others who have sinned against you.

 

PROTECTION

And lead us not into temptation

We are all bombarded daily with self-centered desires. Although vulnerable and open to attack, we should see every temptation or time of testing as an opportunity to grow and find grace from God. Being tempted is not sin but giving in to it is. Praying this prayer means asking God to help us not yield to temptation (James 1:14-15). Temptation is not from God, nor does He tempt anyone (James 1:13). According to 1 John 2:16, we face three main areas of temptation: (1) coveting – the cravings of the sinful nature; (2) lust – the lust/desire for everything we see; (3) pride – boasting about what we have and do. This ‘room’ in the ‘Our Father’ house of prayer is a secure place of safety from temptation when we dwell here with great humility and dependency on the Father. Here we pray for godly characteristics to rule our lives: Generosity, purity, and humility.

 

Focus on God’s perspective: If you look at your life, can you identify some temptations related to these three areas? Write them down where you will be reminded of them every day, such as inside your cupboard door, on the mirror, etc. Each morning, ask the Father to help you not to yield to temptation on that day, whichever way it may cross your path. Remember that you can have victory in the Name of Jesus Christ in every situation. Apply it with confidence so that your life will truly glorify Him in every circumstance! Remember the armour God has given us (Ephesians 6:10-18).

 

DELIVERANCE

But deliver us from evil

Although we are continuously tempted by the enemy to sin, we need to also be aware that we are engaged in ongoing spiritual warfare. We can only overcome through the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit (Romans 8:13). Spiritual warfare is a harsh reality (2 Corinthians 10:3-5), and its main battlefield is in our minds. How does a Christian wage war? We can boldly use God’s mighty weapons to resist the devil as we take every thought captive and train our minds to think godly thoughts. Scripture encourages us to be strong in the Lord and to put on the whole armour of God so that we are adequately prepared to engage in our spiritual conflict, which is NOT a fight with people (Ephesians 6:10-16).

Also keep in mind that it is not really ‘us against the devil’.  It is the Lord, through the working of His Holy Spirit within us, who helps us gain victory over the devil. To be set free from demonic bondage, we must resist the devil through prayer and proclaim God’s Word as we call upon the Name of Jesus. James 4:7 teaches us to submit to God and then resist the devil. This is the key – if you are right with God, you have His power visible in you to resist the devil. The power of God alone makes the devil flee.

 

Focus on God’s perspective: The wonder of God’s provision of His armour as described in Ephesians 6:10-16 is without end! Spend time reading this passage again today. When praying in this ‘room’ of the ‘Our Father’ house of prayer, remember to put on God’s armour.

 

KINGDOM

For Yours is The Kingdom

When Jesus began to preach, his first sermon was, “Repent, for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand” (Matthew 4:17). As Christians, we are citizens of the Kingdom of God here on earth. But it does not belong to us; we are only sons and daughters (heirs) of the Father through His Son Jesus Christ. To find out how to live our lives practically as kingdom pioneers when confronted with life’s issues, means to ask the well-known question: What would Jesus do? The Kingdom of God is expressed from within us (Luke 17:20-21) everywhere we go. The Kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit (Romans 14:17). 1 Timothy 2:1-2 tells us that to pray kingdom prayers is to pray for everyone on earth. Prayer is the backbone of His kingdom. It is one of the most significant contributions we can make to advance the Kingdom of God as we admit our weakness, depend entirely on Him and experience His powerful work, to the glory of His Name!

 

Focus on God’s perspective: Two critical points to meditate on: (1) Do you ask yourself on every occasion during the day: What would Jesus do? Ask the Holy Spirit to remind you to do this and see how radically it changes the way you do things. It is truly an adventure! (2) Do you regularly pray for people other than yourself? This is how you and I help to build the Kingdom of God. Ask the Holy Spirit to remind, teach and train you to begin praying for all people (1 Timothy 2:1-2). Take time to study and find out what is meant by supplication, prayer, intercession, and of giving thanks in the Bible, and begin to include all these in your prayers. It will take some effort from you, but it’s God’s command, and if we obey faithfully, it will always result in blessing for us and others.

 

 POWER

And the power, and the glory forever, Amen.

To enter into the fullness of what God has planned for our lives, we have no greater need than to be plugged into the power source of the Holy Spirit. For this to happen, we begin to pray for a new dimension of the Holy Spirit’s power in our lives and those we are praying for (Ephesians 6:18). Praying with power can take various forms (1 Corinthians 14:5,15). It is important once more to mention that we do not have any power outside of God, but only by Jesus Christ expressing Himself through us, through the working of the Holy Spirit. Therefore, we boldly pray that God would grant us according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man (Ephesians 3:16). Power belongs to Him.

 

Focus on God’s perspective: Have you ever experienced the presence of the Holy Spirit in your prayer life or at a meeting? Trust Him and allow God to fill you with His Holy Spirit all the days of your life. Be sure to be on the lookout for opportunities during the day where you can pray for someone in need. Remember to give God the glory for His power when He answers your prayers.

When spending time in this ‘room’ of the ‘Our Father’ house of prayer, remember to intentionally give God the glory for working in and through you every day.

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