Look Full Into His Wonderful Face
Thursday, February 17, 2011

 

“For the Kingdom of God . . . [is a matter of] righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit.” (Rm. 14:17)

 

Does the weight of the world have you down, maybe even paralyzed?  Sometimes it feels like if the next straw is added to my load, my back will break and I will not be able to move forward another step.  There is a solution, you know.  It is one I too often forget.  The solution is the glory of God.   Jesus gave us the Lord’s Prayer, with 6 requests of God, which all are for one singular purpose – to glorify Him.  When the disciples asked, “Teach us to pray. . .” Jesus response was, “You pray by asking for the glory of God.”  As I continue my writings, designed to point our thinking away from ourselves and toward God, let’s look at the Lord’s Prayer from that perspective.

 

Jesus’ first petition in the prayer is clearly for the glory of God.  He asks that God’s name be hallowed – that it be holy wherever it is spoken, used, or witnessed to.  It is the first four commandments wrapped up into one.  The prayer is that all humanity would look upon God the way He is looked upon by the angels, “Holy, Holy, Holy, is the Lord God Almighty.”  Oswald Chambers wrote, [and I paraphrase], that his greatest fear each day is that somehow, some way, somewhere, that God’s name will not be hallowed this day.  Clearly, when we pray the focus of our prayers is for the holiness of God to be revealed in our world, but maybe more particularly in our own hearts.  For when God is holy in our minds and hearts He is glorified.

 

The second petition is for God’s Kingdom to come – that what is already manifest in heaven, will begin to be revealed on this earth.  The Kingdom of God is far too deep a subject to cover in a short paragraph, but His Kingdom is where what He wants done gets done.  And what God wants done is for His people to love Him with all their hearts, souls, minds, and strength; and to love one another as Christ loved us.  That Kingdom is a pearl of great value; a treasure worth giving up all we own for; a matter of power; righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit; and a peace which surpasses all understanding.  So when the King is glorified on earth, the Kingdom of God begins to break through.

 

The third petition is like the second in some ways.  It is praying for the will of God.  And boldly praying that His will should be higher than our own is an act of giving God the glory.  And that certainly does not mean the highest priority of our prayers is our own desires.  For Jesus, the will of God was death on the cross.  And from a human perspective, that is foolishness.  So we forge out a life of prayer based on the way we think life ought to be – our own life in particular.  And when God does not answer that prayer as we think He ought, we try to make things happen in our own way and our own will.  Then God is tarnished or shamed by our actions.  Abraham had the promise of God, but because he did not trust God’s will to overcome the natural defects of aging, he took matters in his own hands.  As a result, God was dishonored and some 4-6,000 years later people are dying by the thousands each day in the Middle East.  Judas did not think Jesus was behaving as a Messiah should, so he ignored God’s will (or so he thought) and betrayed Him.  The result in his life was shame and suicide.  God’s will is often hard to pray for, but if we believe in His word, “in all things God works for the good of those who love Him,” we can trust that He will be glorified and we will be blessed.

 

The fourth petition, some have interpreted, is a shift from God to ourselves:  “Give us this day our daily bread.”  But in reality Jesus is praying just the opposite.  He is asking God for us to give Him glory through His own provisions.”  We find that in the Proverbs where the Solomon prays, “Give me neither poverty nor riches, but give me only my daily bread.  Otherwise, I may have too much and disown You [fail to glorify You by my own self pride] and say, ‘Who is the LORD?’  Or I may become poor and steal and so dishonor the name of my God.”  You see, when we pray for our daily bread we are praying that God be glorified even in what provisions He gives us.  The 10th commandment of coveting comes into play.  We give God glory by being content with all He has given us.

 

The fifth petition is one I have written volumes on.  I have written so much about it because I believe that one of the greatest ways Christians dishonor God is by our unforgiveness.  Jesus prays, (and we repeat weekly) “forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us.”  And this can only be interpreted to mean that we are praying that God will forgive us in equal proportions to the forgiveness we give others.  You see, Christ gave glory to God by the cross for in the cross is forgiveness of sins.  So forgiveness of others is our cross and when we pick up our cross, we glorify God.

 

And His final petition to God in prayer is that we will be delivered from evil (and the evil one).  Jesus said in another passage that “by their fruits you shall know them.”  And when our fruits are self-centeredness, unrighteousness, and even evil, then God is again dishonored.  Self -surrender to doing things God’s way for His glory, can only come with God’s help.  If you recall the 23rd Psalm (probably the second most memorized Scripture) David writes, “You lead us in the path of righteousness, for Your name’s sake.”  As I have written consistently over the last few days, we are on display.  And our prayer and David’s prayer is that God deliver us from evil, so that He will be glorified by our behavior.

 Praying for the glory of God will indeed turn the world’s face toward God.  And as the beautiful (and one of my favorites) hymn says, “Turn your eyes upon Jesus, look full into His wonderful face, and things of earth will grow strangely dim, in the light of His glory and grace.”  How beautiful our prayers when we pray for the glory of Christ.  Only there will the weight of the world be lifted from our shoulders.

Kingdom Road Ministries
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10 South Main, Suite 201
Victor, ID 83455
903-262-5088
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