Transcription details: Audio 07 01 2018.mp3
Input sound file: Audio 07 01 2018.mp3
I would like to tell you something about me. Going all the way back to junior high in the first reading of the Lord of the Rings I got all excited about a sword that was magic and if a hero had a sword that was magic a hero could do good things for people. Of course, the very first thing I read was The Hobbit where a hero had a magic microphone that let people in the back row hear him. Well, I’ve got one of those. But in The Hobbit, Bilbo had a magic ring, and the power of that magic ring helped him to do good. And, of course, if you go back that far you know the TV show I Dream of Jeannie? I love reading stories and books where there’s a genie that shows up and says, “Master, what can I do to help you?” and you tell the genie to go mow the lawn or wash the dishes. I love the idea of magic.
And so I want to tell you that I am laying in the hospital bed in Austin, Texas, and I’m feeling sorry for myself and I say to myself, “You know, I really need a genie about now,” because a genie would show up and I would say, “I want to the fever to go down, I want the blood sugar to go down, I want to sleep longer, I want to wake up full of energy,” and the genie would say, “Okay.” But it was around that time that I began to realize that I had something more powerful than any magic genie, more powerful than any magic sword to do right, more powerful than any magic ring. In fact, it wasn’t a thing that I had. I had a someone because I’m laying there in bed in the hospital and I’m thinking, “You know, I could just tell Jesus because he’s more powerful than any genie.” He is smarter than any doctor having created the world. He is a great healer. We know that from reading scripture. I need Jesus and I already have him and I began to turn my attention to prayer. I’ll be honest with you, folks. If you don’t want to eat, if you don’t want to read, you know how sick I am if I tell you I don’t want to read, if you don’t want to watch TV, if you don’t even want to watch baseball, you don’t have much energy to do anything, but you always have the energy to pray.
And so I would pray with each breath. Jesus, heal me. You are smarter than I. You know what I most need. Jesus, heal me. And I prayed, day after day, after day, because I didn’t feel like doing much else. And now I’m here, I’m better. I will continue to be better. But I’m not quite as fond of [inaudible] as I was before this happened, because the most powerful person in my life to help me was my Lord Jesus Christ. We’re looking at the commands of Jesus, what Jesus asked us to do. A year ago, at this time, we had a whole sermon series on the Lord’s prayer. It’s online if you’d like to listen to the details, but here’s sort of an overflight. We’re looking at the commands of Jesus. The command of Jesus is simply this. Pray then like this, and what follows is a pattern for us to pray. The first two words set the tone for everything. Our Father. I want to tell you that, when I was in the hospital bed, I was not praying our Father. I was praying my Father, my health, my feeling better, my getting out of the hospital, my getting back to see my grandaughters. My prayers were me, me, me, me. And right there in the first two words, Jesus points something out. God is our Father. That’s when I began to pray for my wife. Lord, help her to stay healthy because I need her to help me, me, me, me.
But to be honest, our Father goes from the room that I was in, to every caregiver that took care of me, every nurse, every aid who came in the night. Our Father is every patient down every hallway, our Father is everyone that I am connected to because God is our Father. Here’s how we need to pray. We need to pray in a way that connects us to the people around us. Joshua notes that there are no singular pronouns in this prayer with regard to us. The only singular pronoun is when we say thy and we’re speaking of God. Every pronoun related to our needs is plural. Us. They all are. Our Father. And our prayers need to connect us with all around us who are part of God’s worldwide family of believers. Some of whom don’t even know that God is their Father because they don’t believe yet, but God is still loving them and drawing them to Him. Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy Name. When you notice God at work, all of a sudden you have a lot to say thank you for, you have a lot to pray praise God for.
It is not that God is insecure and needs you to prop up God’s ego. But every word of praise that comes from your mouth shows God how much you understand about God. We speak of God as Father and if that’s true, God, I suppose, has something like a refrigerator and on it, is a drawing from little Davie. And maybe no one else knows it’s a camel, maybe only God knows it’s a camel, but God rejoices at every step I take that shows that I understand the beautiful and wonderful nature of God. Hallowed be Thy Name. By Kingdom, Thy will be done, on earth as it is in Heaven. The more that I understand about God, the more that I understand that there is a plan, even a plan for me to be in the hospital on my vacation. There is a purpose in everything that happens around us. It is to cause the Kingdom to come to pass in our world. As the Kingdom comes to be real in our world, it comes to be real because Thy, God’s will is done, more and more, on earth as it is in Heaven.
So this is what we pray for. Let the Kingdom come, let God’s will be done. Let good be sown like seed into fertile ground. And may God’s glory come from that. Well, now that we’ve gotten the God stuff correct, it’s time to take the Kingdom out into our neighborhoods. As you pray for your family and your friends, pray that God’s will would be done in their life. As you pray for your interests, your hobbies: “I go to the movies, I go to the ballgames.” Pray for the people who are there that the Kingdom would come and God’s will would be done. As you go to work, as you volunteer when you put yourself out for others when you serve. Where you serve it and what you do, may the Kingdom come and God’s will be done. And lest we forget, as we pray for our neighbors in all of these places, they are the people who simply are our geographical neighbors. Let the Kingdom come and pray for God’s will to be done. On earth, as it is in Heaven.
Here’s John Wesley’s suggestions: “Do no harm, do more good. Do all the good you can and draw near to God with every step you take.” Now, it’s our turn. Lord, give us this day our daily bread. Really all I need is what I need to today. For today, I can trust God to provide. I can trust the nurse to bring the medications that I need tomorrow and the pills I need to take today. I can trust the “us.” But I need to pray that other people’s needs be met, as well. Because because people like this family in India that are literally living on the sidewalk, and every one of their belongings is right there with them, they’re refugees, they are my concern as well. I’m connected to them by the fact that we have a Father. I need to pray that they will also have their daily bread. Here comes another important thing. And forgive us our debts as we also have forgiven our debtors. Right after the Lord’s Prayer, Jesus explains this. If you forgive men their trespasses– and that’s why we say trespasses, if you forgive them their trespasses, your Heavenly Father also will forgive you but hear me well. If you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.
Now it is important for us to understand that women sometimes need to be forgiven, too. Because women sometimes do mean things, too. But the entire point that Jesus is making is we need to be people who are givers of forgiveness because we also need it. There are some of us in this room, I need to say, have been horribly abused in their childhood. Some are horribly abused in their adulthood. To forgive the person who abuses you does not mean that gives them a fresh chance to hurt you again. What it means is that you let go so that God can deal with them because now you’re out of the way. Part of that is that, if we are to be forgiven, we also need to share forgiveness with others. And then we also can trust God for our future. Lead us not into temptation, which means a time of testing. Friends, I’ve had all the testing I want for a while. I’m due for the seventh inning stretch, that’s for sure. But we can trust God. Lord, do not lead us into testing, but Lord, deliver us from evil. Because we can pray thy will be done with my future. We can pray thy will be done with my bread and my med and all of my needs. We can pray thy will be done with all of our sins and mistakes.
Now I’ll be honest with you, after all of these years wishing that it would be fun to have a genie, I’m probably not going to lose that interest right away. But I will tell you with the deepest humility, I’m so thankful that I go on a prayer walk with Jesus Christ, and he walks with me, and he talks with me, and he tells me I am his own. And next to that, I am so thankful that whenever I pray this prayer, I remember that I am praying how we have our Father, and that you walk with me also and lift me up in prayer. I am so thankful for all of that. We have the opportunity to live our lives as a prayer walk where Jesus goes with us in so many ways. Amen. Lord Jesus, one of the ways that you go with us is the night you were betrayed you took bread, you took the cup, you said, “Take and eat.”