Thursday, March 27, 2014

We are bold to ask...

So....another side effect of being 50something--sometimes I REALLY believe I have that "thing" known as adult-onset ADD. Used to, I could keep at least 6 or 7 "balls" in the air without even breaking a sweat. But no more. 
Where my ADD reveals itself most is in my prayer life. I'll begin to pray, and the first shiny object that crosses my mind...--well, let's just say the prayer turns to dust, and I'm off and hopping down some rabbit trail.
But...somehow...Jesus must have known there would be people like me. (Well...HA...of course He did--He knit us together.) So, when those first road-weary followers asked, "Teach us to pray, Lord," He gave them words that would settle them down, focus them on what's important, words that can be used as a START line for any prayer that has ever come out of my heart. They aren't FANCY words and, when you REALLY contemplate their meaning, they definitely aren't EASY words. (He must have known we don't really need FANCY or EASY--oh, of course He did.)
So, this morning, after I had JUST used this unfancy prayer to settle me down, to focus my heart, to pray for His Kingdom to take over my heart, my Honey's heart, our boys' hearts, my nephews' hearts, my beautiful niece's heart, my family's and other dear hearts...well, these words for March 27 found me. (I just love it when God has a theme!):
"....'We are bold to say'.... 
The word 'bold' is worth thinking about.... We do well not to pray the prayer lightly. It takes guts to pray it at all. We can pray it in the unthinking and perfunctory way we usually do only by disregarding what we are saying. 
'Thy will be done' is what we are saying. That is the climax of the first half of the prayer. We are asking God to be God. We are asking God to do not what we want but what God wants. We are asking God to make manifest the holiness that is now mostly hidden, to set free in all its terrible splendor the devastating power that is now mostly under restraint. 'Thy kingdom come...on earth' is what we are saying. And, if that were to suddenly happen, what then? Who would be welcomed in and who would be thrown the Hell out?...Boldness indeed. To speak these words is to invite the tiger out of the cage, to unleash a power that makes atomic power look like a warm breeze.
To speak the second half of the prayer, you need to be bold in another way. Give us. Forgive us. Don't test us. Deliver us. If it takes guts to face the omnipotence that is God's, it takes perhaps no less (guts) to face the impotence that is ours. We can DO NOTHING without God. We can HAVE NOTHING without God. Without God we ARE NOTHING
It is only the words, 'Our Father' that make the prayer bearable. If God is indeed something like a father, then as something like children, we can risk approaching him...." 
(Frederick Buechner, "Listening To Your Life")
“And when you come before God, don’t turn that into a theatrical production. All these people making a regular show out of their prayers, hoping for stardom! Do you think God sits in a box seat?
Here’s what I want you to do: Find a quiet, secluded place so you won’t be tempted to role-play before God. Just be there as simply and honestly as you can manage. The focus will shift from you to God, and you will begin to sense his grace.

The world is full of so-called prayer warriors who are prayer-ignorant. They’re full of formulas and programs and advice, peddling techniques for getting what you want from God. 
Don’t fall for that nonsense. This is your Father you are dealing with, and he knows better than you what you need. With a God like this loving you, you can pray very simply. Like this:
Our Father in heaven,
Reveal who you are.
Set the world right;
Do what’s best—as above, so below.
Keep us alive with three square meals.
Keep us forgiven with you and forgiving others.
Keep us safe from ourselves and the Devil.
You’re in charge!
You can do anything you want!
You’re ablaze in beauty!
Yes. Yes. Yes."
(Matthew 6:5-13, The Message)

Oh, Abba God...thanks for knowing I would need these bold (but centering down words)...and then giving them to us. 
May Your Kingdom come. 
May Your will be above, so below. 
Yes. Yes. Yes.