I've been listening to Louie Giglio's teaching podasts, from Passion City Church. Of all the preachers I've heard, he above all has inspired, challenged and encouraged me. The latest series I'm listening to is one on the Lord's Prayer - called "Shift", inviting us to have a shift of perspective in our lives from our own limited and sinful perspective, to God's perspective. Once again it's incredibly inspiring stuff. I recommend you check it out on itunes!
The first talk, based on "our Father in heaven" was a challenging reminder that prayer shouldn't be us simply offloading onto God, telling him our problems and what he should do about them (as Louie says, we'd only be telling God what he already knows), but rather seeking to have a divine perspective on these things, to remember that above all, in our prayer and worship we should seek to glorify God, to listen to him, and everything else flows from there. It made me realise that too easily the sum total of my prayer-life is all too often made up of the shopping list, when I should begin with praise. Intercession of course plays a part, but it is only part of prayer, not all of it. We should seek to glorify God through our prayers as well as our thoughts and actions, intentionally praising him simply for who he is, resting in his presence, and thanking him for what he's done in sending Jesus to live and die to save us, and for sending his Spirit to live in us, comfort us and make us more like Jesus.
Lord, would you change my heart even more, so that my prayers might reflect your will. Change my perspective, so that I see things more the way you see them, and seek to glorify you through my thoughts, deeds, words and prayers. Amen.
The 2nd talk was based on "your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as in heaven." He related to the "occupy Wall Street" movement. He suggested that Christians should begin an "occupy all streets" movement, where we intentionally seek to declare the coming of God's kingdom where we are, that through our words and actions, God's will might be better represented wherever we are; that through our praying presence, the presence of Jesus might be known. He called for a shift - that rather than seeing our lives as going to work and going to church, or being at home, we should seek to bring God's presence wherever we are. This is incredibly challenging, because it calls us to be full-time Christians - Ambassadors for God at home, at work or school, and church. Imagine what our communities looked like if we intentionally lived like that, praying for our communities and workplaces, and asking God how we can be a blessing to our home, workplace or neighbourhood; seeking to be Jesus' hand, feet and mouth and heart wherever we go. If we all did that, we'd see radical transformation, because Jesus lives in the hearts of each one of us, and he empowers us to e his missionaries, if only we ask him to. Let's no longer be passenger, but let's seek to be agents of change so that God's kingdom comes in greater power wherever we are.
Lord, give us courage to live for you. Help us to share your love in the way we think, speak, live and love. May your kingdom come wherever we are through us and in us. Amen.