Do you remember what we call The Lord’s Prayer?
Pray like this:
Our Father in heaven,
may your name be kept holy.
May your Kingdom come soon.
May your will be done on earth,
as it is in heaven.
Give us today the food we need,
and forgive us our sins,
as we have forgiven those who sin against us.
And don’t let us yield to temptation,
but rescue us from the evil one.
That’s a New Living Translation.
Here it is in the good old King James,
After this manner therefore pray ye:
Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.
Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil:
For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.
We have been going through a life and death illness for the past five years. When that happens one hears everyone’s ideas about why. Human beings are always searching for reasons why. We just can’t help it.
“The Lord’s mercy often rides to the door of our heart upon the black horse of affliction.” ― Charles Spurgeon
In social psychology this human proclivity to look for answers is called attribution. Sometimes…
- we use our common sense to find explanations
- we sort out whether something was intentional or accidental
- actions are based on internal personality
- other causes are due to external factors (bad traffic!)
I don’t think people would consciously do this with God, assigning him blame for bad news. But sometimes it sounds like it.
We pray our way through every day we have to live. Try to make it count. We thank God and try to walk in joy. Sometimes we feel like old Matisse, sitting in his bed cutting out shapes…
“I didn’t expect to recover from my second operation but since I did, I consider that I’m living on borrowed time. Every day that dawns is a gift to me and I take it in that way. I accept it gratefully without looking beyond it. I completely forget my physical suffering and all the unpleasantness of my present condition and I think only of the joy of seeing the sun rise once more and of being able to work a little bit, even under difficult conditions.” ― Henri Matisse
When I go back and pray the Lord’s Prayer I am instructed to pray for God’s will to be done on earth. This reminds me that I’m not living in a world where God is always running everything. I know he’s not always in charge of my life – I don’t submit to his will every day as I could and should. I still have a free will.
(I’m fully aware this is going to drive my Calvinist friends crazy)
- I do know that sometimes God intervenes on his own and makes things happen as history and humanity move toward his planned larger purpose for us all. No one stops God from doing what he wants to do!
- I also know that he answers the prayers of his children. He steps in and acts because of my faith. I can tell you this happens all the time in my life.
- There isn’t anyone in my Bible who didn’t suffer for one reason or another. It’s the life on earth Adam and Eve chose for all of us and the death that Christ delivered us from.
So, while we live out each day with a dark wolf at our door, we work to make it count. We pray for God’s will to be done in each of our interactions and decisions. We want to be conscious, not oblivious. We want to be aware of opportunities to make suffering count.
“God speaks in a soft voice I can hear better when I resolve to listen and stop putting words in His mouth.” ― Elaine Orabona Foster
Pray for God’s will to be done, in your life, in your thoughts, in your words, in your hopes, in your actions and in every minute of your life right now. Then say yes.