Why I Stopped Ignoring the Lord’s Prayer and Started Using it to Disciple My Kids

I need to confess something. I used to have an antagonistic spirit toward the Model Prayer (or the Lord’s Prayer) as many call it. I knew it was in the scripture, but I felt like it was something that was foreign to me. I went to a Christian school from fourth through seventh grade and I’m sure that maybe I learned it there. It wasn’t something we recited in the home, it wasn’t something we recited at church, and I’m pretty sure the only reason I memorized it was because it was part of my school work.

So it sat dormant in the back of my mind. I think I also had a prejudice against it because I felt like the words became hollow when everyone said them in unison. I wondered if God would even hear the prayers of those who repeated these words. I mistakenly thought prayer was a one sided communication. I was supposed to just tell God what I needed and he was supposed to provide. I didn’t realize that prayer was one of the key ways that God changes our hearts.

Everything changed for me when I had kids. I wanted my kids to know God the way that I know God. My life was radically changed when I was about twenty-five years old and I haven’t quite gotten over it. I knew that the model prayer must be important. Who better to teach my kids how to pray than Jesus, right? At this point I thought I had it all figured out. I was praying my way for a while. I never thought to go back and look at what the Scripture says about prayer. I never thought to go back to this prayer that I had memorized. I never thought that this was anything more than a tool to use with my kids.

So I started teaching Miss R, my oldest, when she was about three. And Mr.N, my youngest, learned to say it as soon as he could talk. In fact we have a video of Mr.N saying the Model Prayer when he is about two years old. He’s recited it nearly 1000 times in his little lifetime now.

Not long into the journey something happened. I forget the spark that caused it all, but one day one of my kids was struggling with bitterness and I said, “Remember how Jesus teaches us to forgive in the model prayer,” and I shared the story of the unmerciful servant. Then one of my kids were concerned for someone and I said, “Remember how Jesus teaches us to ask God for our daily bread.” Then one day one of my kids was struggling with an injustice in their world, and we saw that the Lord’s prayer teaches us to ask for Jesus’ kingdom to come.” Then one day my daughter is consumed with her sin and as I pass by her door at night I hear her praying, “Dear Jesus will you forgive me for my sin just like I ask in the Lord’s prayer?”

I began to meditate deeply on the Lord’s Prayer, going over it again and again in my mind. Thinking through the implications and tangents to other scripture passages and I was amazed to realize that there was a lot more to the Lord’s Prayer than I had thought. I was the one guilty of repeating things without thinking, but with sincere meditation this has become I guide for me in how I pray.

One of the ways that the Lord’s Prayer effects us is it acts like a tuner. I have a guitar. I don’t play much but someone gave me a guitar… and a tuner. The tuner is helpful because the guitar is very prone to getting out of tune. You put the tuner on the end, play a note and then adjust accordingly. It works great when I use it. This prayer is like that. Our lives get out of tune. We begin to lose focus. We think life is really all about this thing or that thing and somehow we miss God in the mix. This prayer teaches us how to adjust our attention, our focus. Is your life filled with anxiety? Go to God in prayer like Jesus teaches us to and you will find peace in the midst of a troubled night. It tunes our hearts. It checks our actions. It exposes our secret motives. Most of all it focuses us on the supreme value of Knowing God.

Join me as I dig into the Model Prayer over the next few weeks. I’ll be sharing brief exposition with practical application. I won’t be blogging every day on this topic, but will be blogging frequently. Check back often to get the latest.

James 3:1-12 (Devotional Thought)

Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers, for you know that we who teach will be judged with greater strictness. For we all stumble in many ways. And if anyone does not stumble in what he says, he is a perfect man, able also to bridle his whole body. If we put bits into the mouths of horses so that they obey us, we guide their whole bodies as well. Look at the ships also: though they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are guided by a very small rudder wherever the will of the pilot directs. So also the tongue is a small member, yet it boasts of great things. How great a forest is set ablaze by such a small fire! And the tongue is a fire, a world of unrighteousness. The tongue is set among our members, staining the whole body, setting on fire the entire course of life, and set on fire by hell. For every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and sea creature, can be tamed and has been tamed by mankind, but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse people who are made in the likeness of God. From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers, these things ought not to be so. Does a spring pour forth from the same opening both fresh and salt water? Can a fig tree, my brothers, bear olives, or a grapevine produce figs? Neither can a salt pond yield fresh water. (James 3:1-12 ESV)

My father-in-law likes to keep a fire going in his fireplace in the winter. I enjoy going over to his house and splitting the firewood for him. Apparently it’s a huge event in our family because the last time I set out to split wood my children and nieces were watching me… By watching me I mean they sat on top of a blanket eating snacks and drinking hot chocolate. On this particular occasion I was working on a rough log and had to get out a wedge and sledgehammer to free my ax. I’ll be honest, I’m a bit uncoordinated and I hit my thumb with the full force of the sledge hammer. I yelled out at the top of my lungs, “Praise God!”

I’m sure there were lots of other words I could have used, but I’m thankful that on this day I chose to shout out praise to our Maker rather than to shout out curses. James says that being a teacher is a big deal because what is in your heart will come out of your mouth. Teachers are models and examples for us to imitate and follow. Teachers have a great capacity to lead others towards growth in Christ and also lead others away from Christ. We should all aspire to control our tongues and be great Christ followers. We should also be willing to learn in humble submission before we become teachers.

Overwhelmed: Winning the War Against Worry (Review)

overwhelmed I was really blessed by this book. I hope a million people read it and pick up on the message! To be clear, I’m not a big Perry Noble fan, most days his speaking style annoys the snot out of me. However, I was blown away by this book (which I can only assume was based on a sermon series). Perry is an incredibly gifted writer (or he has an incredibly gifted ghost writer… who knows these days?).

I think what makes this book so good is that Perry takes you to the scripture in every chapter. This is really like an old school exposition on the book of Daniel. I think Perry also connects with readers as he walks through his own personal struggles. The book greatly benefits from Noble’s cheesy redneck humor (I was laughing with the giddiness of a school girl somewhere around page 159… so much so that my wife had to come check on me… Not bad for a book on worry).

Overwhelmed: Winning the War against Worryis a great book to have on your shelf and an even better book to read, especially if you deal with worry, depression and/ or anxiety. Perry doesn’t pull any punches and while he has you bent over laughing one moment, he’ll have you pouring your heart out to God in repentance the next. I gladly recommend it to anyone dealing with anxiety or looking for a practical level exposition on the book of Daniel. I hope it blesses you as much as it blessed me.

At the time of this post. Amazon.com has it on sale for $10.11in paperback and $9.60 for the kindle. you can also download the audio version for around $14.95 as well (which is great for listening to while your working out).

Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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Another Great Book by Author Timothy Keller!

King’s Cross by Timothy Keller is an amazing book.  Keller leads the reader through the gospel of Mark sharing background and key insights all along the way.  One of the especially encouraging things I appreciate about this book is the way that Keller illustrates the gospel at every turn through the lens of scripture. Every verse, every reference centered on the gospel of Jesus Christ.  It provoked me to greater admiration and worship of God. I gave it 5+ stars.

I pre-ordered my copy from Amazon.com.  I was really impressed with the way they handled my order.  The price dropped between the time that I ordered and the time the book shipped and they passed the savings along to me!  The retail price for Kings Cross is $25.95, but it’s still on sale at Amazon.com for less than $16.

Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”