Sunday, June 24, 2018

The Daniel Prayer Session 2 - Committed To Pray




The Church of Divine Guidance Sunday Morning Adult Bible Study Group studying the book The Daniel Prayer:  Prayer That Moves Heaven And Changes Nations By Anne Graham-Lotz.  

James 5:16 (NLT2) 16  Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results. 

The Daniel Prayer is born deep within your soul, erupts through your heart, and pours out on your lips, words created by and infused with the Spirit of God quivering with spiritual electricity. It’s really not an everyday type of prayer. It’s a prayer birthed under pressure. Heartache. Grief. Desperation. It can be triggered by a sudden revelation of hope. An answer to prayer, a promise freshly received, a miracle that lies just over the horizon.


Study along with us by getting a copy of the book by clicking this LINK or the image of the book in the study notes. 

After listing out Israel’s national sins as his own sins, Daniel does not fear God’s abandonment. Instead he takes hold of God’s mercy. It is difficult, in the face of our personal sin, to trust in God’s mercy. It is even more challenging for us, taking responsibility for the sins of our nation and our past descendants, to believe God’s mercy holds strong. Yet, Daniel is unfazed. Under the weight of so much evil (personal and corporate) he is confident that the steadfast love of God will not break. It will not even bend. What sin do you find yourself to ashamed to confess? For what evils in our collective past or present do we deny responsibility? God’s mercy to us in Jesus frees us to confess radically. Moreover, just as Daniel’s confession leads to the end of Israel’s exile, we may hope that our own confessions today lead to healing and restoration in our world.

Daniel 9:18-19 NIV Give ear, our God, and hear; open your eyes and see the desolation of the city that bears your Name. We do not make requests of you because we are righteous, but because of your great mercy. Lord, listen! Lord, forgive! Lord, hear and act! For your sake, my God, do not delay, because your city and your people bear your Name.”

COMMITTED TO PRAY


Paul Told the Thessalonian followers of Jesus when he instructed them to “pray without ceasing.

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 NIV Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
 
The Daniel Prayer. It’s a commitment to pray until the prayer is answered.  It’s not easy. It requires time. Energy. Sacrifice. It involves reading and pleading God's promises. It’s motivated by a wholehearted love that’s willing to suffer, to repent, to sacrifice—to do whatever it takes to get an answer. But whatever you have to sacrifice or invest to make the commitment, the Daniel Prayer will be worth it one hundred times over when Heaven is moved and this nation is changed.

One thing he teaches us is that his commitment to pray required preparation. Just as an athlete can’t expect to win by showing up at game time without having practiced, the commitment to pray doesn't just happen. It requires preparation.

1 Corinthians 9:24-26 NIV Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. Therefore I do not run like someone running aimlessly; I do not fight like a boxer beating the air.


A PREPARED PLACE FOR PRAYER


Daniel had a specific place that he designated for prayer, which was an upstairs room in his home to which he withdrew three times every day.  We don’t know anything else about this room except that it had windows facing west.

Daniel 6:10 NIV Now when Daniel learned that the decree had been published, he went home to his upstairs room where the windows opened toward Jerusalem. Three times a day he got down on his knees and prayed, giving thanks to his God, just as he had done before.

 We all need this kind of sacred space set aside for special time alone with God.

Like the lady's closet in the movie “War Room”. In Prayer Does It Make Any Difference Philip Yancey talked about a “God Space”. We all need this kind of sacred space set aside for special time alone with God.

While God meets us wherever and whenever we call out to him, a Daniel-like commitment requires deliberation and preparation in order to maximize the impact of our prayers.

Your God space should be unique to you. A comfortable place with everything you need to spend some alone time with God. It can be at home or work or even outside. I could do it on my walks.

Do you have perhaps one or two friends who could be your prayer partners?

A PREPARED TIME FOR PRAYER


Do you not only have a set-aside place for prayer, but a set-aside time to meet with God in prayer? When do you pray?

I pray in bed. I pray after waking up in the morning.

Interesting rational for praying in the morning.

“The woman who taught me how to study and teach the Bible, Miss A. Wetherell Johnson, commented that when our prayer time is at night, it’s like tuning our violin when the symphony is over. Because, of course, the violin needs to be tuned before the symphony so that its sound is pure. Why would we tune our instrument after it’s been played? With the same reasoning, we need to begin our day with prayer to ensure we live in sync with God. Why would we spend time only in evening prayer after we have already stumbled through the day? While it’s wonderful to end our day in prayer, she urged me to pray in the morning when the day before me was a clean slate—a blank page that had yet to be lived out.”

Just in the Psalms alone there are repeated references to seeking God in the morning:
     
 “. . . In the morning, O LORD, you hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait in expectation.” Psalm 5:3;
     
 “. . . I will sing of your strength; in the morning I will sing of your love . . .”  59:16;
     
“. . . I cry to you for help, O LORD; in the morning my prayer comes before you 88:13;

 “. . . I rise before dawn and cry for help; I have put my hope in your word.” 119:147;
 
“. . . Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in you. Show me the way I should go, for to you I lift up my soul.” 143:8..”

There’s an example of Jesus prayed early in the morning in Mark:

Mark 1:35, 37 NIV Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed. and when they found him, they exclaimed: “Everyone is looking for you!”
But there is nothing super-spiritual about an early morning time of prayer. While every aspect of our prayer doesn’t necessarily need to be uttered in one place at one time, I believe the Daniel Prayer requires a set-aside place at a dedicated time to truly be effective.
        
You can decide the place and time that’s most helpful to you for focusing on prayer.  The important thing is that you follow through with a consistent commitment.

A PREPARED ATMOSPHERE FOR PRAYER


There are a variety of ways to prepare the atmosphere for your prayer time.  You can play praise-and-worship music to create an atmosphere that helps you transition from your daily routine into God’s presence. You can even use aspects of color and d├ęcor to set the mood in the space you’ve set aside. Just Consider what will help you focus on God.

A PREPARED ATTITUDE FOR PRAYER


Daniel’s body language helped him remember as he prayed that he, Daniel, a slave inexile, had an audience with the One who is the living God, All Glorious,

When was the last time you prayed on your knees? Have you ever prayed on your knees?  Try it. The difference your outward position makes in your inner attitude as you pray may surprise you.

Daniel not only prayed from a kneeling position, but he made a habit of giving thanks to God. He cultivated an “attitude of gratitude”—of thanksgiving despite circumstances that were less than ideal.

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 NIV Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
  • What about you?
  • When life throws you a curveball, are you thankful?
  • When your expectations, goals, and dreams have not been realized, and never will be, are you thankful?
  •  When your life’s circumstances go from bad to worse, are you thankful?
  • When your critics are watching every move you make, anxious to catch you in something they can use to discredit you, are you thankful?
  •  When you are enslaved by a body of pain, or an abusive spouse, or a demanding employer, or an uncaring parent, are you thankful?

 
How can anyone be thankful in those circumstances?

The key to thankfulness is not to view God through the lens of our circumstances, but to view our circumstances through the lens of God’s love and sovereign purpose.  Change the perspective from ours to God's.

God had called Daniel not to a life of comfort and ease, but to a life of greatness. And so Daniel could thank God for everything in his life. He knew, as he entered hiswinter years, that all things had worked together for his good to enable him to fulfill God's purpose.

Romans 8:28 NIV And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.




Monday, June 18, 2018

The Daniel Prayer - Session 1 - It's Time To Pray The Daniel Prayer

Photo by Nathan Dumlao on Unsplash


The Church of Divine Guidance Sunday Morning Adult Bible Study Group studying the book The Daniel Prayer:  Prayer That Moves Heaven And Changes Nations By Anne Graham-Lotz.  

James 5:16 (NLT2) 16  Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results. 

The Daniel Prayer is born deep within your soul, erupts through your heart, and pours out on your lips, words created by and infused with the Spirit of God quivering with spiritual electricity. It’s really not an everyday type of prayer. It’s a prayer birthed under pressure. Heartache. Grief. Desperation. It can be triggered by a sudden revelation of hope. An answer to prayer, a promise freshly received, a miracle that lies just over the horizon.

Study along with us by getting a copy of the book by clicking this LINK or the image of the book in the study notes. 

Why do our prayers often lack power, passion, and persuasion?  Anne Graham-Holtz thinks that perhaps that we don't have  an all-out, no-holds-barred, go-for-broke, nothing-held-back, old-fashioned commitment to pray.    The kind of commitment that’s born out of desperation. Intense aspiration. Soulful longing. The kind of commitment athletes make to win the race for the game or the trophy or the medal. The kind of commitment that makes sacrifices, accepts responsibility, keeps obligations, and overcomes obstacles. That's what she wants to urge us to do in this book.  She says that The Daniel Prayer is a commitment to persevere no matter what is going on.

Daniel prayed the prayer that was the inspiration for this book while his people,, the nation of Israel, was devastated and displaced from its country that includes both the northern kingdom of Israel and the southern Kingdom of Judah.  They were forced into exile in the face of being warned that turning from God and worshipping idols would result in punishment and exile.  God warned them through messages, dream, and visions given through the prophets whose writings make up a lot of the Old Testament. Daniel was a member of the nobility of the southern Kingdom, Judah.  He was in the first group of exiles taken to Babylon by Nebuchadnezzar. 

Daniel 1:1-4 NKJV In the third year of the reign of Jehoiakim king of Judah, Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon came to Jerusalem and besieged it. And the Lord gave Jehoiakim king of Judah into his hand, with some of the articles of the house of God, which he carried into the land of Shinar to the house of his god; and he brought the articles into the treasure house of his god. Then the king instructed Ashpenaz, the master of his eunuchs, to bring some of the children of Israel and some of the king’s descendants and some of the nobles, young men in whom there  was no blemish, but good-looking, gifted in all wisdom, possessing knowledge and quick to understand, who had ability to serve in the king’s palace, and whom they might teach the language and literature of the Chaldeans.

We studied Daniel’s story a couple of years ago.  We learned that Daniel was a prophet and God used Him to reveal His plans for Babylon, the future of the Jews and the world. 

From the book;

“ Daniel was to serve the emperor with all his heart, mind, soul, body, and strength. He was to so immerse himself in Babylon that he would be severed from his past in order to embrace the present as the only reality. Everything was designed to force Daniel to conform to the Babylonian mold to serve at Nebuchadnezzar's pleasure.
      
Daniel 1:8 NKJV But Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with the portion of the king’s delicacies, nor with the wine which he drank; therefore he requested of the chief of the eunuchs that he might not defile himself.

And thus he began his remarkable career that spanned two world empires and the entire time of his nation’s captivity. At great risk to himself, again and again, he maintained his undivided devotion to God. In turn, God gave him knowledge and skill in all literature and wisdom; and Daniel had understanding in all visions and dreams.5 He rose to be the equivalent of prime minister under four emperors: Nebuchadnezzar, Belshazzar, Darius, and Cyrus.”

Even with all his success he longed for Jerusalem every day of his life, evidenced by the fact that three times daily, when he prayed, he turned his face in the direction of his beloved city that once had been.  He was thrown in the lion’s den for this. 

Anne writes that because of  the prayer Daniel prayed, and that  we are going to be studying,  God moved Cyrus to issue the decree that after seventy years of captivity, every Jew living in Babylon could go home.  It was a prayer that moved heaven and Earth, and caused a nation to change.  By the way when the Jews went back they did a lot of things outside the will of God but worshipping idols was not one of them. Her question is is it possible that the prayer of one person could bring renewal, restoration, and revival to America?

Ann says, and I agree, that God allows things to happen to get our attention and to alert us to His coming judgment on the world because of disobedience resulting in evil. She gives several examples of why, in her opinion, God’s patience is wearing thin.

When faced with God’s righteous judgment, there is nothing . . . nothing . . . no politics or president, no government or agreement, no institution or organization,
 no media or ministry, no economy or military, no alliance or treaty . . . nothing will turn our nation around except prayer. Heartfelt, desperate prayer. Prayer where the pray-ers rend their hearts, return to the Cross, and repent of personal and national sin. Only prayer that moves Heaven can change a nation.
      
We are going to end our first session by reading the prayer.


 Daniel 9:1-4, 4-23 MSG “Darius, son of Ahasuerus, born a Mede, became king over the land of Babylon. In the first year of his reign, I, Daniel, was meditating on the Scriptures that gave, according to the Word of God to the prophet Jeremiah, the number of years that Jerusalem had to lie in ruins, namely, seventy. I turned to the Master God, asking for an answer—praying earnestly, fasting from meals, wearing rough penitential burlap, and kneeling in the ashes. I poured out my heart, baring my soul to God , my God: “‘O Master, great and august God. You never waver in your covenant commitment, never give up on those who love you and do what you say. Yet we have sinned in every way imaginable. We’ve done evil things, rebelled, dodged and taken detours around your clearly marked paths. We’ve turned a deaf ear to your servants the prophets, who preached your Word to our kings and leaders, our parents, and all the people in the land. You have done everything right, Master, but all we have to show for our lives is guilt and shame, the whole lot of us—people of Judah, citizens of Jerusalem, Israel at home and Israel in exile in all the places we’ve been banished to because of our betrayal of you. Oh yes, God , we’ve been exposed in our shame, all of us—our kings, leaders, parents—before the whole world. And deservedly so, because of our sin. “‘Compassion is our only hope, the compassion of you, the Master, our God, since in our rebellion we’ve forfeited our rights. We paid no attention to you when you told us how to live, the clear teaching that came through your servants the prophets. All of us in Israel ignored what you said. We defied your instructions and did what we pleased. And now we’re paying for it: The solemn curse written out plainly in the revelation to God’s servant Moses is now doing its work among us, the wages of our sin against you. You did to us and our rulers what you said you would do: You brought this catastrophic disaster on us, the worst disaster on record—and in Jerusalem! “‘Just as written in God’s revelation to Moses, the catastrophe was total. Nothing was held back. We kept at our sinning, never giving you a second thought, oblivious to your clear warning, and so you had no choice but to let the disaster loose on us in full force. You, our God , had a perfect right to do this since we persistently and defiantly ignored you. “‘Master, you are our God, for you delivered your people from the land of Egypt in a show of power—people are still talking about it! We confess that we have sinned, that we have lived bad lives. Following the lines of what you have always done in setting things right, setting people right, please stop being so angry with Jerusalem, your very own city, your holy mountain. We know it’s our fault that this has happened, all because of our sins and our parents’ sins, and now we’re an embarrassment to everyone around us. We’re a blot on the neighborhood. So listen, God, to this determined prayer of your servant. Have mercy on your ruined Sanctuary. Act out of who you are, not out of what we are. “‘Turn your ears our way, God, and listen. Open your eyes and take a long look at our ruined city, this city named after you. We know that we don’t deserve a hearing from you. Our appeal is to your compassion. This prayer is our last and only hope: “‘Master, listen to us! Master, forgive us! Master, look at us and do something! Master, don’t put us off! Your city and your people are named after you: You have a stake in us!’ “While I was pouring out my heart, baring my sins and the sins of my people Israel, praying my life out before my God , interceding for the holy mountain of my God—while I was absorbed in this praying, the humanlike Gabriel, the one I had seen in an earlier vision, approached me, flying in like a bird about the time of evening worship. “He stood before me and said, ‘Daniel, I have come to make things plain to you. You had no sooner started your prayer when the answer was given. And now I’m here to deliver the answer to you. You are much loved! So listen carefully to the answer, the plain meaning of what is revealed:


Bible Study Audio





Sunday, June 10, 2018

The Prayer That Turned The World Upside Down - Session 8 - For Thine Is The Kingdom



The Church of Divine Guidance Sunday Morning Adult Bible Study Group studying the book Prayer That Turned The World Upside Down: The Lord's Prayer as a Manifesto for Revolution by R. Albert Mohler, The President of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.

The Lord’s Prayer is the most powerful prayer in the Bible, taught by Jesus to those closest to him. We desperately need to relearn its power and practice.

The opening words of the Lord’s Prayer have become so familiar that we often speak them without a thought, sometimes without any awareness that we are speaking at all. But to the disciples who first heard these words from Jesus, the prayer was a thunderbolt, a radical new way to pray that changed them and the course of history.


Far from a safe series of comforting words, the Lord’s Prayer makes extraordinary claims, topples every earthly power, and announces God’s reign over all things in heaven and on earth. Study along with us by getting a copy of the book by clicking this LINK or the image of the book in the study notes. 

More on Thy Kingdom Come


The Kingdom Isn’t What You Think from What If Christianity Isn't What You Think? Reading Plan by  Jefferson Bethke from his book It's Not What You Think: Why Christianity Is About So Much More Than Going to Heaven When You Die

“Repent for the kingdom of heaven has come near.”

A lot of times when we hear the word “kingdom” or “heaven” we think of a place really far away and we go there when we die. But according to Jewish thought, the world Jesus lived in, heaven was actually more like God’s control room. God’s space. A place not very far away, but a place that is near.

And so Jesus steps on the scene and tells people to turn around, change their mind, and change the direction of their life. Why? Because the place where God is fully reigning and ruling is near. It has crash landed in Jesus. It is right in front of them. It’s less about a destination, and more about bringing our lives under His reign and rule right now. In this moment. In our finances, in our schools, in our relationships, and every facet of our being.




Our Final Session




The author of the book from which we are studying ,“The Lord’s Prayer”, R. Albert Mohler, Jr,  uses the “Lord’s Prayer” in Matthew 6:9-13 from the New International Version;

Matthew 6:9-13 NIV “This, then, is how you should pray:  “ ‘Our Father in heaven,  hallowed be your name,   your kingdom come,  your will be done,  on earth as it is in heaven.   Give us today our daily bread.   And forgive us our debts,  as we also have forgiven our debtors.   And lead us not into temptation,   but deliver us from the evil one.   ’

Many Christians who regularly say the Lord’s Prayer in church services each week or remember a version they memorized as a child recite concluding words that do not appear in many modern translations—“for yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever, Amen.”

Matthew 6:9-13 NKJV In this manner, therefore, pray: Our Father in heaven, Hallowed be Your name. Your kingdom come. Your will be done On earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, As we forgive our debtors. And do not lead us into temptation, But deliver us from the evil one. For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.

The reason these words are not found in modern translations such as the NIV or the ESV is that they probably did not appear in the original copy of Matthew. As a result of studying ancient manuscripts, scholars now believe with some certainty that these words were probably a later addition to the Lord's Prayer. Since the Lord’s Prayer seems to end rather abruptly, Christians in the early church added a doxology to the end of the prayer so as to give God the final word of praise in corporate worship settings.

Doxology  a liturgical formula of praise to God.

The dictionary defines doxology as “an expression of praise to God, especially a short hymn sung as part of a Christian worship service.” The word doxology comes from the Greek doxa, (“glory, splendor, grandeur”) and logos, (“word” or “speaking”). Most doxologies are short hymns of praise to God in various Christian worship services, often added to the end of canticles, psalms, and hymns.

Another commonly heard doxology is “Praise God from Whom All Blessings Flow,” which was written in 1674 by Thomas Ken, a priest in the Church of England. The familiar words are “Praise God, from Whom all blessings flow; Praise Him, all creatures here below; Praise Him above, ye Heavenly Host; Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. Amen.”

Although the word doxology is not found in the Bible, the themes expressed in doxologies are certainly scriptural, and have always been integral parts of true Christian worship.

In fact, one of the doxology found in the Old Testament looks almost exactly like the doxology traditionally appended to the Lord’s Prayer:

“Yours, O LORD, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the victory and the majesty, for all that is in the heavens and in the earth is yours. Yours is the kingdom, O LORD, and you are exalted as head above all” (1 Chron. 29:11).

Praising God for His blessings


Ephesians 1:3 NIV Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ.

Giving Him all glory


Romans 11:33-36 NIV Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable his judgments, and his paths beyond tracing out!  “Who has known the mind of the Lord? Or who has been his counselor?”  “Who has ever given to God, that God should repay them?”  For from him and through him and for him are all things. To him be the glory forever! Amen.

 Affirming the Trinity


Matthew 28:19-20 NIV Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,  and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

Is it right or wrong to append these words to the Lord’s Prayer? It would certainly be wrong to ignore the textual evidence and assert that these words are scriptural and part of Matthew’s Gospel. We should never say something is part of Scripture that the author never intended. At the same time, it is not wrong to recite the Lord's Prayer with the concluding doxology or to benefit from this tradition—so long as we understand the words are not themselves Scripture. The reasons for this are numerous.
        
Additionally, the psalms provide example after example of prayers beginning in supplicationand ending in doxology. And this tradition of concluding prayers with doxologies continued into the early church. One of the earliest Christian documents outside the New Testament,
          
The Didache (Teaching)—a treatise dating from the first century—has a version of the Lord’s Prayer that includes this very doxology.

The Didache is also called the "Teaching of the Twelve Apostles."  It was possibly written around 65 - 80 A.D. and is supposed to be what the twelve apostles taught to the Gentiles concerning life and death, church order, fasting, baptism, prayer, etc.  There is debate as to its authenticity.

Simply put, doxologies are a regular part of the worship of the people of God and have a unique role in developing their piety. As J. I. Packer Noted,
        
Doxologies (that is, acts of praise to God for his glory) pop up all through the Bible. . . .Personal devotion praise and prayer grow out of, lead into, and stir up each other.  Need felt and need met are their respective mainsprings, and praise for what God is and does, is the strong support of hope in what he can, and will, do. . . . So the more you pray, the more matter you will have for praise.

Second, doxologies are an appropriate response to the saving purposes of God and his glory. As I hope this book has shown, the Lord’s Prayer clearly expresses the glory of God and the gospel of grace. It reveals the coming of the kingdom of Christ, the forgiveness provided by the King, his daily provision and care for his people, and his deliverance of his people from the powers of this age. In light of these truths, Christians should respond with effusive praise. Prayer that truly reflects the heart of God is inseparable from a response of praise. Again, as Packer explained, “Prayer and praise are like a bird’s two wings: with both working, you soar; with one out of action, you are earthbound.  But birds should not be earthbound, nor Christians priceless.”

Third, the theology of the traditional doxology is particularly fitting with the content of the Lord’s Prayer. The elements of “kingdom,” “power,” and “glory” are found throughout the Lord’s Prayer. At the prayer’s beginning, Jesus taught us to pray that God’s kingdom come. The prayer also reveals God’s power by showing us he is the King, the Provider, the Savior, and the Deliverer. And finally, it shows us his glory by revealing himas the Father in heaven whose very name is to be hallowed in all the earth. The traditional doxology reminds us at the prayer’s end that the kingdom will indeed come, for it belongs to the God of all glory and power. Indeed,  the doxology perfectly and succinctly sums up the character of God as revealed in the Lord’s Prayer and does so in the posture of praise.
        
        

A FINAL ADMONITION


Every generation of Christians must learn to make the request, like the disciples before them, “Lord, teach us to pray.” Every generation of Christians must also remember that Jesus’ response to that question now is the same as it was two thousand years ago. If we would have the Lord himself teach us how to pray, then we must turn to the Lord’s Prayer for instruction.
        
 As this book has shown, each petition is a theology lesson in itself. None of Jesus’ words were careless, and this is particularly true of the Lord’s Prayer. This prayer turned the world upside down. This prayer is dangerous, overturning the kingdom of the principalities and powers of this world. This prayer is hopeful, expecting the kingdom of God to come in fullness with Christ on the throne. This prayer is compassionate, teaching us to call God our Father and depend on him for our every meal. This prayer is reverent, showing that nothing is more sacred than the name of God. This prayer is good news, reminding each of us that God forgives sin and delivers us from the powers of darkness.
        
In an age of superstition and superficiality, the Lord’s Prayer is a beacon of true biblical piety and theologically informed worship. As Christians await the arrival of God’s kingdom in its fullness, let us continually return to these words, asking with humble hearts, “Lord, teach us to pray.”
        
 Finally, I want to return to Martin Luther’s advice to his barber.

“So, as a diligent and good barber, you must keep your thoughts, senses, and eyes precisely on the hair and scissors or razor and not forget where you trimmed or shaved, for,  if you want to talk a lot or become distracted thinking about something else, you might well cut someone’s nose or mouth or even his throat.”

Going all the way back to the Old Testament, God’s people have ended their prayers with “Amen.” Why?
           
The word signals agreement and affirmation, but it actually means much more. As Luther Said to Master Peter the Barber:
        
Notice, at last, that you have made the “Amen” strong every time and not doubt. God Is surely listening to you with every grace and is saying yes to your prayer. Do not think to yourself that you are kneeling or standing , for all Christendom, all upright Christians, are with you and you among them in a unanimous, harmonious prayer, which God cannot disdain. And do not leave the prayer unless you have thought, “All right, God has heard my prayer, and I truly knowthis for certain, for that is what Amen means.”
        
 We never pray this prayer alone, but with all Christendom, and we never have to wonder if this prayer is pleasing to God. Christ gave it to us! And yes, we know that God has heard our prayer when we pray like this.
        
That is really what Amen means. And there is no more perfect way to end our study of the Lord’s Prayer, the prayer that turns the world upside down, than with Amen.

Bible Study Audio


Next Week 


The Daniel Prayer: Prayer That Moves Heaven and Changes Nations by Anne Graham Lotz.

Anne Graham Lotz, daughter of Billy and Ruth Graham, is the president and CEO of AnGeL Ministries (www.annegrahamlotz.com), a nonprofit organization that undergirds her efforts to draw people into a life-changing relationship with God through His Word.

Many people today find that their prayers don’t “work.” And like a broken cell phone, DVD player, or TV remote, they throw prayer out as unnecessary “clutter” in their busy lives. Anne Graham Lotz has found that while prayer does work, sometimes the “pray-ers” don’t. So she has turned to the prophet Daniel for help.

Sunday, June 3, 2018

The Prayer That Turned The World Upside Down - Session 7 - Lead Us Not Into Temptation: Fighting The Enemy Through Prayer



The Church of Divine Guidance Sunday Morning Adult Bible Study Group studying the book Prayer That Turned The World Upside Down: The Lord's Prayer as a Manifesto for Revolution by R. Albert Mohler, The President of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.

The Lord’s Prayer is the most powerful prayer in the Bible, taught by Jesus to those closest to him. We desperately need to relearn its power and practice.

The opening words of the Lord’s Prayer have become so familiar that we often speak them without a thought, sometimes without any awareness that we are speaking at all. But to the disciples who first heard these words from Jesus, the prayer was a thunderbolt, a radical new way to pray that changed them and the course of history.


Far from a safe series of comforting words, the Lord’s Prayer makes extraordinary claims, topples every earthly power, and announces God’s reign over all things in heaven and on earth. Study along with us by getting a copy of the book by clicking this LINK or the image of the book in the study notes. 


And lead us not into temptation,  but deliver us from the evil one.  
Matthew 6:13 NIV

The Illusion Of Enemy Less Christian Discipleship


Because of sin and mankind's fall the world is a very dangerous place. Jesus told us as much in His description of the last days.

Jesus answered: “Watch out that no one deceives you.  You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come.  Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places.  All these are the beginning of birth pains.   “Then you will be handed over to be persecuted and put to death, and you will be hated by all nations because of me.  At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other,  and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people.  Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold,  but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved.  And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.  For then there will be great distress, unequaled from the beginning of the world until now—and never to be equaled again.   “If those days had not been cut short, no one would survive, but for the sake of the elect those days will be shortened.
Matthew 24:4, 6-14, 21-22 NIV, 

He continues for the rest of chapter 24.

He said in John

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
John 16:33 NIV

The Bible clearly teaches that the Devil and his demons are real and that these invisible enemies are bent on destroying our spiritual lives.

Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.
1 Peter 5:8 NIV

For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.
Ephesians 6:12 NIV

When talking about our enemies we can go one of two ways. We can obsess over them blaming them for everything that goes bad or we can refuse to discuss to talk about them at all. Both extremes are harmful. We must acknowledge and be aware of the fact the Bible clearly teaches that the Devil and his demons are real and that these invisible enemies are bent on destroying our spiritual lives.

I like the quote from the Screwtape Letter which I'm going to read.

“There are two equal and opposite errors into which our race can fall about the devils.  One is to disbelieve in their existence. The other is to believe, and to feel an excessive and unhealthy interest in them. They themselves are equally pleased by both errors...

WHY WE NEED THIS PETITION


Temptation, is I believe, a weapon that the enemy uses in spiritual warfare even though much temptation comes from within.  We will talk about that later.  

When we did our study Prayer Warrior Praying Your Way To Victory we discussed the fact that prayer is a powerful weapon against our enemy in spiritual warfare. 
Prayer Is Always a Powerful Weapon Against the Enemy

In prayer ask God to do a lot of things for  us.  It’s not that He is unaware of the problem or doesn’t know what's going on. He knows what is going to happen before it happens. Before we see the need, He already knows the answer.

 “It shall come to pass that before they call, I will answer; and while they are still speaking, I will hear” (Isaiah 65:24).
           
God has set it up that we pray and He answers. He doesn’t make us robots. He doesn’t impose His will on us. He waits for us to choose His will over our own. The reason He does this is so we will walk with Him in an ever-deepening relationship.

When you bring your concerns and needs to the Lord and ask Him to meet those needs, that is called petitionary praying. When you petition God for something, don’t stop praying. Bring it to Him again and again if you need to until you have peace in your heart that you have truly left it in His hands. After each prayer, thank Him that He has heard your prayers and that He will answer in His way and in His time.
           
God is very specific about what He wants from us. You must be specific too. As you pray, tell God that above all you want His will to be done. Because if you are praying for something that is not His will, you want to know it and be led by His Spirit to pray the right thing. Do not sit in judgment on how well you think you prayed. That is not your job. Your work is to pray. It is God’s work to answer the way He wants to. And definitely do not sit in judgment on how God has answered. You simply pray and leave the outcome in God’s hands to answer in His way and time. Then every time you pray, your prayers will become a weapon against the enemy and his plans for your life.

Jesus’ reminder to pray regularly against temptation reminds us just how prevalent and dangerous the appeal of sin can be in the Christian life.  He instructed His disciples to pray asking that God provide daily, and that includes this petition, to lead us not to temptation.   He also provides an example of consistent prayer.

Jesus prayed first thing in the morning.

“In the morning, having risen a long while before daylight, He went out and departed to a solitary place; and there He prayed” (Mark 1:35).
           
Jesus prayed at night.

“He went out to the mountain to pray, and continued all night in prayer to God” (Luke 6:12).
           
Jesus prayed alone.

“When He had sent the multitudes away, He went up on the mountain by Himself to pray. Now when evening came, He was alone there” (Matthew 14:23).
           
 Jesus prayed without ceasing.

“Watch therefore, and pray always that you may be counted worthy to escape all these things that will come to pass,man to stand before the Son of Man” (Luke 21:36).
           
We need to pray as Jesus did—day and night, without ceasing, in private communion with God.

Jesus’ reminder to pray regularly against temptation reminds us just how prevalent and dangerous the appeal of sin can be in the Christian life.  

This petition also reminds us that we are not able to resist temptation by our own power. Most people know by experience that your willpower is not quite as strong as we would like to think.

Jesus does not teach us to pray, “Lord, give me more willpower in the fight against sin.” He teaches us to ask for shepherding and deliverance—“Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.” These words express a heart of dependence, not self-sufficiency. 

We’ve talked about our dependence on God the past couple of sessions. In Session 5

Give us today our daily bread.
Matthew 6:11 NIV
 
Reminds us of our dependence on God for even the most fundamental needs of life.

The petition “forgive us our debts” emphasizes our most urgent spiritual need which is forgiveness. Saying we owe a debt to God means that we have failed to give him the obedience he is rightly due. We owe God our obedience, and we have failed to pay up. Thus, as sinners, we stand before God condemned, rightly deserving his just wrath. Only God’s forgiveness can clear our guilt and establish a meaningful relationship between God and us.  Now Jesus is instructing them to pray for endurance in the fight against temptation. 

DOES GOD LEAD PEOPLE INTO TEMPTATION?


When we ask this we are not implying that God tempts anybody.  We are not asking Him to not do something that He normally does.  The Bible is very clear that God does not tempt anybody. 

When tempted, no one should say, “God is tempting me.” For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; but each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.  Don’t be deceived, my dear brothers and sisters. Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. He chose to give us birth through the word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of all he created.
James 1:13-18 NIV

Mohler says that while God doesn’t tempt He does test us.  The only disagreement that I have is that I say that the tests don’t originate with God but He allows the trials, temptations, and testing that comes from our enemy to “test us”.  We won’t talk about that today but if you’re interested in my point of view read my blog post Does God Test Christians?.  It’s on my website.  It doesn’t matter if you agree with Mohler or me me because the petition is the same, and that is that God gives us the endurance to pass the test. 

THE ANATOMY OF TEMPTATION

Temptation can be both internal and external. We've talked a couple of times about internal temptations. We have some control over them but if we don't deal with them they can get out of control.

Pride leads to arrogance.

Lust leads to sexual immorality.

Ultimately, we are at war with our own desires. Our greatest enemy, indwelling sin, is with us at all times.  Satan can use these weaknesses against us.

The adversary will exploit those weaknesses at every opportunity. This is why we need the Lord’s gracious hand to guide us away from temptation at every turn.

Scripture, however, demands a clear and drastic response to temptation.

Jesus told his disciples,
        
If your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body be thrown into hell. And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body go into hell. (Matt. 5:29–30)

Jesus didn't really mean for you to dismember your body but the point was to take drastic measures not to sin. It may mean leaving a relationship, a job, a church, whatever just do something to keep from or stop sinning. Get away from the temptation.

THE DEVIL MADE ME DO IT . . . REALLY?

        
While the final petition of the Lord’s Prayer is typically rendered “deliver us from evil,” most modern scholars and translations note that the most appropriate translation is probably “deliver us from the evil one.”


We must ask for protection from Satan. The fact that Jesus tells us to do it tells us that we can’t do it on our own. We are told to resist not engage. He has been defeated by Jesus but he is still dangerous.

Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.
James 4:7 NIV

Temptation comes to individuals, churches, and institutions. We know the power of temptation by looking in both history books and the mirror. If we are honest with ourselves, we are not up to the task. But Jesus teaches us that we have access to deliverance from sin and temptation by the grace and mercy of God, which is why we must repeatedly pray this prayer of deliverance. We are frail in our flesh and must pray for God’s protection from evil. As the familiar hymn “O Worship the King” reminds us: “Frail children of dust and feeble as frail, in thee do we trust, nor find thee to fail; thy mercies how tender, how firm to the end, our maker, defender, redeemer, and friend.”

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