Prayer, Plain and Simple

Prayer, Plain and Simple

To God on a First Name Basis

posted by Mark Herringshaw

“Hallowed be your name”

 

God our Papa has a name. Actually, he has several, and the Bible tells us what they are.

Today parents name their children based on the sound or popularity of the word. Parents in the ancient world endowed character and even personality through the names they gave their children. People became – quite literally – “known” by their names. “Jacob” means “trickster” in Hebrew, and the story of his life reflected this character until God changed his name and in the process transformed his life and the destiny of his family.

 

So it is with God. We know God by knowing his names. We do not have to guess God’s personality. The names tell the story. 

 

In the Lord’s Prayer “Hallowed be your name” Jesus invites us to pray specifically to given names of God. He challenges us to revere God for the details of his character. When we pray, we’re calling God by name and by his very nature.

 

And what are God’s names? 

- “The Lord” is the infinite eternal, self existent “I AM” (Exodus 3). 

- “The Lord will provide” cares for his own (Genesis 22:14).

- “The Lord our healing” fixes brokenness (Exodus 15:26).

- “The Lord who wins” battles against evil (Exodus 17:15). 

- “The Lord sanctifies” makes us his favorite ones (Exodus 31:13). 

- “The Lord is peace” brings order to chaos (Judges 6:24). 

- “The Lord my righteousness” is holy and makes me holy (Jeremiah 23:6).

- “The Lord is there” never leaves me alone (Exodus 48:35). 

 

These names define God. They tell the truth about his character. Practice praying to God on a first name basis…  

 

Action: Today, begin to call God by his names. Perhaps there is a particular quality of God’s nature you need to see him express in your life right now. If you need provision, provision is his name, so address him as “The Lord who provides.” If you need to know you are not alone, God is “The Lord is there.” These simple steps of faith are the ways we “hallow” or revere his name.

 

Questions: What does your name mean?  Is there any correlation in your personality to the name you were given?  How about God’s names?  Which is the easiest one for you to personally understand?  Which is the most difficult?  

 

The Wonder Words of Jesus

posted by Mark Herringshaw

 

“Be quiet!”

 

“Be clean!”

 

“Be still!”

 

“Be free!”

 

“Be unafraid!”

 

“Be opened!”

 

“Be careful!”

 

“Be yours!”

 

“Be alert!”

 

Words of Jesus from The Gospel of Mark

 

Explore more in the free ebook Fight Like Jesus at www.markherringshaw.com

 

“Papa God”

posted by Mark Herringshaw

We call it “the Lord’s Prayer.”  Actually, it is our prayer, taught to us by Jesus: a beautiful template to guide our conversation with our Creator. 

 

Jesus begins with the two most radical words in human history: “Our Father.”  He’s revolutionary for two reasons: First, Jesus says “our” including each of us in his invitation to address God as our kin. Secondly, he invites us to call God “Father” or, as he likely would have said in Aramaic, his original language, “Abba.” On several occasions (Mark 14:36) Jesus prayed using the word “Abba,” the word little Hebrew children used for “Daddy” or “Papa.” Bible translators seem too skittish to translate it literally, so they resort to a formal “Father.”

 

But Jesus is anything but formal. He says we must come to God as the tiny helpless children we are, or we cannot come at all.  

 

For some of us such intimacy with God seems irreverent and presumptive. It’s not easy to pray with the words, “Our Papa…” But Jesus insists this attitude is a precondition for genuine prayer. 

 

For others – those of us who have had a difficult relationship with our earthly fathers – the idea of God as “Father” becomes an emotional barrier rather than an invitation.

But Jesus never wavers. He insists that God is the Father, the foundation upon which all fatherhood is based. Even if we’ve struggled with our own fathers, his invitation stands: Come to God and allow him to be everything a father is supposed to be:

- The source of our life (John 3:3)

- Supplier of all we need (Matthew 6:31-33)

- The one who rightly disciplines us (Hebrews 12:5-11)

- The one who grants us an inheritance (Romans 8:15-17)

- The one who gives us abounding affection (I John 3:1, Luke 15:20-24)

 

Awkward as this may seem, we are summoned by Jesus to pray, “Our Daddy in heaven…” and to see him as the fulfillment of our true need for a true father.  In fact, only in a relationship with Father can heal us from the hurts and disappointments we’ve had from our own fathers.

 

Challenge: in your prayer today address God as “Father.” Then go further and address him as “Papa,” then “Daddy.” Speak it out load, whisper it as you drive to work, sing it as you wash the dishes, mutter it as lie down to sleep.

 

“Daddy…”  How does that sound?

 

Here is where “haggah” comes in into play. When you say these words of the Lord’s Prayer add more like:

“Father, you are my true Papa, the source of my life, the one who provides for me, the one who gives me a name and a true identity, the one who provides healthy, loving discipline, and the one who showers me with abounding affection…” 

Dare: Before you end the day, address God as “Papa.” It’s only at that point that true prayer really begins.

Jesus Copycat

posted by Mark Herringshaw

I learn best by modeling. I’m too old and too soon gone from the planet to learn all I need to know by trial and error. I’ll mimic my Master, and live by his experience. I’ll copy Jesus.

 

When Jesus shows up, things happen. When he comes, he speaks words and recreates the world. Words are his weapons of choice and tools of design. He could have hurled lightning bolts, or split mountains with his fist, or with a wave of his hand tossed armies into the sea. Instead, Jesus said things.

 

Words, when they are the right words, spoken by the right messenger, deliver power.

Jesus explained his mission using the same words Isaiah the Prophet borrowed from God:

“The Spirit of the Lord is on me,

because he has anointed me

to preach good news to the poor.

He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners

and recovery of sight for the blind,

to release the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor”

(Luke 4:17-19).

Jesus claimed these words as his commission: He would proclaim things as they ought to be. Everything Jesus did in the three years of his work on earth followed what God had spoken through Isaiah seven centuries earlier.

 

- Jesus’ words met physical needs. He turned water to wine, multiplied bread and fish  twice – and provided finances to cover a tax bill. Jesus’ words supply enough and make provision a sign of his regime.

- Jesus’ words pardoned the guilty. He declared a leper “clean” and a prostitute “forgiven.” – Jesus’ words release grace and make pardon a sign of his regime.

- Jesus’ words healed the broken. He declared a blind man “whole” and dead girl “alive.”  – Jesus’ words transmit power and make healing a sign of his regime.

- Jesus’ words expelled demons. He drove out a legion of spirits and silenced a blasphemer. Jesus’ words command authority and make deliverance a sign of his regime.

- Jesus’ words revealed Father’s love. He told stories of victory in this world, and hope in the next. Jesus’ words create vision and make favor a sign of his regime.

 

What worked for Jesus will work again for Jesus living through me… And through you as well…

 

I explore this theme further in a short ebook called, Fight Like Jesus. It’s available for free download at www.markherringshaw.com.

 

 

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