Wait on the LORD: be of good courage,
and he shall strengthen thine heart;
wait, I say, on the LORD.
- Psalm 27:14
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The Nature of the Kingdom 5/10/10
Sunday was Mother's Day and in honor of mothers, here are a couple of writings that relate to them.

The first one was originally published in May 1988 in Pulpit Helps by an unknown author and the second one by written by a Mrs. Keith Nightingale.

Blessed is the mother…
Who can hold on to her children while letting them go;
Who puts a tranquil home ahead of an immaculate house;
Who knows a kind act will be remembered longer than an easy word;
Who really believes that prayer changes things;
Whose faith in eternity sweetens the present;
Whose Bible never needs dusting;
Whose sense of humor is alive and well.


Motherhood—who can describe the blessings, the joys, and the challenges that motherhood holds? The ecstasy of a healthy newborn placed in her reaching arms; the urgent wonder in a child’s voice as he rushes in to say, “Mama, come see the pretty sunset!”; the utter innocence of that childish face in peaceful slumber; sharing the excitement of the long-awaited first day of school; and following with misty eyes as the school bus door closes one world and opens another. Then a
mother reflects, “Have I prepared my child to meet the daily challenges awaiting him?”

The years pass swiftly, and the challenges of motherhood grow. This is not to say that the blessings diminish. Wiling hands that want to plant the seeds in the garden row just like Mama does, or the childish answer, “Mama, I didn’t do it because you told me not to”—such little incidents give the mother courage. In turn, a timely compliment when a child’s willingness to work is lagging serves as a tonic.

Truly the source of most joy to a mother’s heart is when her child responds to the Heavenly Shepherd’s calling. Yet, throughout the growing-up years, mothers face the challenge of providing a listening ear and sometimes a soft shoulder. At the dawning of each day, her prayer ascends for wisdom. She shares the frustrations of a difficult day in school; the injustice of being misunderstood; or how to help her child face, in a godly way, the demands of peer pressure. Some days the fussing and teasing between brothers and sisters causes her to cry out to God to help her teach her children kindness and unselfishness. She ponders the goal of establishing in her child the sense of purpose and principle that will give him the courage to stand like Daniel.

The law of sowing and reaping affects all aspects of life, and how true that is of motherhood. How vastly far-reaching are the effects of the attitudes of a mother—the happiness of our homes is at stake, and even our eternal destiny. Ezekiel 16:44 says, “…As is the mother, so is her daughter.”

If the mother sows a hurried, preoccupied atmosphere in the kitchen, will she not reap a distant relationship with her daughter? And if she allows herself to sow permissiveness, will she not reap a teenager without conviction, one who has frustrations and lack of direction? The little seeds of pride embed themselves so subtly. What will the little dress with the “just right” look produce in fruit sixteen years later? Will the reaping be vanity and bending to peer pressure? Then there are the persistent seeds of harshness and impatience. Could the reaping be found in calloused children with an insensitivity to the misfortune around them?

May we sow seeds of godliness, prayerfulness, submission, kindness, respect—and the list goes on. We all admire seeing a happy family cheerfully working, singing, and enjoying each other together. They are interested in others and give of their time unselfishly. These children, in turn, create happy homes, and the church and the community reap an abundance of blessings. These blessings did not come of themselves without facing up to the challenge.

Mrs. Keith Nightingale

Now we will consider the following verses of Scripture.

KJV Mark 10:13 And they brought young children to him, that he should touch them: and his disciples rebuked those that brought them.
KJV Mark 10:14 But when Jesus saw it, he was much displeased, and said unto them, Suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God.
KJV Mark 10:15 Verily I say unto you, Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child, he shall not enter therein.
KJV Mark 10:16 And he took them up in his arms, put his hands upon them, and blessed them.

As we look at this short text, we perhaps ask ourselves two questions: What led the people to bring their children to Jesus? Why did the disciples rebuke Jesus for receiving the children? The answer that Jesus gives is the focal point of our meditation, but in order to keep this portion of scripture in context with the rest of the chapter as well as the entire gospel, we will look at what has been happening before this encounter with the disciples and the children took place.

First of all, from a study of the previous chapters, we notice that Mark emphasizes in his gospel of the signs and wonders done by Jesus, mainly through the healing of the sick and the casting out of devils. After commissioning the twelve, they went forth doing that which He had been doing.

KJV Mark 6:13 And they (disciples) cast out many devils, and anointed with oil many that were sick, and healed them.

Here are the occasions and the references in which Jesus used his hands to heal, to deliver from, to restore, as well as was touched by others for their healing.

Mark 1:30-31 Jesus heals Peter's mother in law
Mark 1:40-42 Jesus heals the leper
Mark 3:1-5 Jesus points to faith as the means of the restoration of the withered hand.
Mark 3:9-10 The crowds seek to touch Jesus for healing
Mark 5:22-24; 5:35-43 Jesus restores Jairus' daughter to life by calling her name and lifting her with his hand.
Mark 5:25-34 The woman with an issue of blood touches Jesus garment and is healed.
Mark 6:2-6 People take notice of the healing that is done by Jesus' hands.
Mark 7:1-5 The Pharisees find fault with those who do not wash their hands before eating.
Mark 7:32-37 Jesus, putting his hand on the deaf mute heals him.
Mark 8:22-26 Jesus with his hands brings sight to the blind man.

As we are seeking the answer to our first question as to what caused/enouraged the parents to bring their children to Jesus, we can conclude that upon seeing that when the sick, the leprous, the crippled, the dead, the diseased, the deaf and the blind were brought to Jesus, He did not turn them away, but He healed them. Most of the time when Jesus did these signs and wonders, He instructed the restored to not broadcast it all around, but the joy of being restored was too great for the ones who had been healed. Therefore as a result of their spreading the news of what Jesus was doing, the crowds grew larger and it became difficult for Jesus to move around freely. But it seems like that is exactly what He wanted, that people would hear about what He was doing, that they would flock around Him to hear Him, for He had a much more important message to bring to them. For the miracles that He was performing were done for the purpose of physical restoration, yes, but they pointed to a much greater restoration and miracle. This restoration was going to come through His suffering, death and resurrection, which Mark records for the first time in chapter 8. He begin to preach to them of His Gospel:

KJV Mark 8:31 And he began to teach them, that the Son of man must suffer many things, and be rejected of the elders, and of the chief priests, and scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again.
KJV Mark 8:32 And he spake that saying openly. And Peter took him, and began to rebuke him.
KJV Mark 8:33 But when he had turned about and looked on his disciples, he rebuked Peter, saying, Get thee behind me, Satan: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but the things that be of men.

After being on the Mt of Transfiguration with Jesus and seeing Moses and Elijah with Him there, they descend back to the valley and witness the healing of a boy, a healing which the disciples could not do.

KJV Mark 9:17-27 Jesus takes by hand and heals the boy with a dumb spirit.

After healing the boy through the use of His hand, (note the statement of faith by the boy's father) Jesus for the second time speaks of and points to the greater deliverance that He has come to bring.

KJV Mark 9:31 For he taught his disciples, and said unto them, The Son of man is delivered into the hands of men, and they shall kill him; and after that he is killed, he shall rise the third day.
KJV Mark 9:32 But they understood not that saying, and were afraid to ask him.

At this point the disciples seem to be mystified as to what is going on, as the reactions to the statements by Jesus of His eventual suffering, death and resurrection were rejection of what He said (8:31) and no understanding of what He was talking about. They were afraid to ask him about it.

In Mark 9:33, we see that a conversation took place with the disciples and Jesus in which used a recent incident to teach them of the nature of His kingdom. For sure through His miracles He was pointing to the events (suffering, death and resurrection) that would publicly and permanently bring in the kingdom, but He here desires to teach them/us of the nature of that kingdom. After referring to some recent dispute among them as to who should be the greatest in this new kingdom, and telling them that "if any man desire to be first, the same shall be last of all, and servant of all," He set a child in the midst of them, took the child in his arms and said unto them:

KJV Mark 9:37 Whosoever shall receive one of such children in my name, receiveth me: and whosoever shall receive me, receiveth not me, but him that sent me.

Following this initial statement of Jesus a discussion begins which continues for the rest of chapter nine and which relates to the nature of the kingdom which Jesus had brought to this earth. Careful study of the rest of this chapter (9) is necessary in order to understand the meaning of chapter 10:13-16, for Jesus uses the example of a child to point to the characteristics of one who understands and lives in the kingdom of God.

In chapter 10, as the crowds are around Him and He is teaching, the Pharisees come to Him with a question, by which they wish to tempt Him, to trap Him. By their approach, may we not understand that they were not looking for Godly advice and counsel, but rather they were seeking to justify their selfish and self serving behavior? They ask Him a question about divorce, about the putting away of ones's wife? Jesus counters with a question: "What did Moses command you?"

They answered, "Moses suffered to write a bill of divorcement, and to put her away." (They answered according to Scripture,)

KJV Deuteronomy 24:1 When a man hath taken a wife, and married her, and it come to pass that she find no favour in his eyes, because he hath found some uncleanness in her: then let him write her a bill of divorcement, and give it in her hand, and send her out of his house. 2 And when she is departed out of his house, she may go and be another man's wife. 3 And if the latter husband hate her, and write her a bill of divorcement, and giveth it in her hand, and sendeth her out of his house; or if the latter husband die, which took her to be his wife; 4 Her former husband, which sent her away, may not take her again to be his wife, after that she is defiled; for that is abomination before the LORD: and thou shalt not cause the land to sin, which the LORD thy God giveth thee for an inheritance.

To this Jesus replied, (Mark 10:5-9)
5 And Jesus answered and said unto them, For the hardness of your heart he wrote you this precept.
6 But from the beginning of the creation God made them male and female.
7 For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and cleave to his wife;
8 And they twain shall be one flesh: so then they are no more twain, but one flesh.
9 What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.

What Jesus is referring to is that due to the selfishness and self serving nature of the hearts of mankind as the result of our fall into sin, that Moses had allowed for separation in certain cases such as is described above. But what had happened is that the allowance for divorce had grown to include almost any reason as a cause, any cause which would serve the self serving and selfish nature of a man. There were two schools that had major influence in affecting people in that day. One was very restrictive towards the allowance of divorce while the other allowed divorce for almost reason. These teachings were prevalent back then and they remain today, for the depth of damage to us as the result of our fall into sin which results in worship of self is hard to fathom. We want to be served rather than to serve.

If we keep our mind on what Jesus is teaching here and especially think of how this conversation was initiated by Jesus with his disciples, we see how it directly applies to our discussion concerning children and of how they model the nature of the kingdom of God. The disciples, like us, as the result of the fall into sin, firstly think of themselves and what is in it for us. Jesus uses the occasion of the Pharisees tempting Jesus to teach his disciples of the destructiveness of the type of behavior that they (the disciples) are demonstrating. He had pointed to their recent dispute about "what was in it for them," had placed a child in front of them and had outlined to them that serving the other is a trademark of this kingdom that were disputing about. Here we might say that these dispute came after Jesus had foretold of His suffering, death and resurrection. They/we missed the serving nature of Jesus and focused on the ruling aspect of the kingdom. That is our sinful nature, which unless we come to the place of humility and service, will reign in our hearts and lives.

It seems to me that Jesus used this example of the question which was asked by the Pharisees to point to the eventual outcome of a selfish and self serving nature in marriage. The Pharisees were looking for justification of selfish behavior, not rebuke, correction and direction of their behavior. They did that because they looked at the kingdom as a place which they could reign, and not serve. When we look upon our relationships as opportunities to reign or dominate people, we are like the Pharisees. When we look upon relationships as opportunities to serve people, we are displaying the true nature of the kingdom of Jesus Christ. That is what He is referring to when He told the Pharisees that what Moses allowed in order to keep order in the society of that day was never intended to be broadened in its interpretation to include just about any loophole for divorce in their current society. Jesus pointed to that which God had instituted in the beginning, saying that nothing has changed since that as far as God is concerned.

So hearing all this said, when they got back into the house, the disciples asked Jesus about what had just happened. He told them:

Mark 10:11 And he saith unto them, Whosoever shall put away his wife, and marry another, committeth adultery against her.
12 And if a woman shall put away her husband, and be married to another, she committeth adultery.

Here Jesus reiterates what He had told them in verses 5-9, driving home to them the point that the union with one's spouse is permanent and that it is a lifelong commitment. (This account is expanded in Matthew's gospel, 19:3-12.)

With today's divorce rate and the destruction that it brings unto people and their children, it is relatively easy to understand the purpose of the statement that Jesus made here and which He makes in Matthew's Gospel. Even as Moses gave certain situations as reason for divorce in his day and, human nature being what it is, broadened the reasons for divorce to include almost any reason, so it is in our day that which Jesus gives as allowance in Matthew's Gospel has been broadened to include almost any reason. There could be a lot discussed here concerning this and it would be a good and helpful discussion, but we could shorten the discussion greatly by going back to a verse in the book of Genesis and discussing a little about that verse. The bottom line is: We are selfish by nature, and we do not want to humble ourselves before God so that we could live in union with Him through Jesus Christ.

KJV Genesis 3:16 Unto the woman he said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children; and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee.

As the result of the fall, the union of two was broken, our fellowship with God was broken, and as a result, we became self serving as this verse implies. This verse had been interpreted in a number of ways, one of which is that as a result of the fall, women were viewed as seductresses and therefore they were to be kept down from influential places as well as considered as property to be used. And history verifies that that thought and practice has been carried out, to the extent that woman have been and yet today are viewed many societies as property to be used and not as God intended that it be in that they are to be loved and appreciated as humans created in His image. They are heirs of the grace of life.

Another interpretation is interesting to consider: Woman, being more relational than men in their approach to life, have a desire to get back to that which was enjoyed in the Garden of Eden, but man (male) in his fallen and unrenewed state will resist that type of relationship and will rule over his wife, deeming her to be property instead of being the"better half." Again history and current practice among nations verifies the truth of this in result and not from God's desire. What it seems to say here is that women play an important and integral role in keeping the family going in the right direction in that their desire and ability to influence the relationship of marriage toward its oneness is a God ordained and inspired. They nurture relationship and desire to move it back to what it was before the fall.

Now parents bring their children to Jesus so that He may bless them. Sure, they know that Jesus will bless them, the disciples still do not understand the nature of the kingdom, rebuking those that brought the children to Him. but what it Jesus teaching us here in all of these verses?

1. He is showing us that self serving and selfishness lead to exclusivity (Mark 9:38-40)

2. In His kingdom, no service is too small to be noticed and rewarded (Mark 9:41)

3. If we realize that we are offending these little ones, we must stop doing so at all costs to our selfseving and selfish nature. (Mark 9:42)

4. Selfserving and selfishness will lead to the breaking of the union of that which God has joined together.
(Mark 10:1-12)

5. The union of marriage is to be lived in like a child: We are brought to God by our parents, we are taught by our parents in the ways of the Lord mainly by their example, and as we grow in the grace and knowledge of Jesus Christ, we are slowly understanding and yielding to the ways and purposes of God through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit.

6. We live in humility before God and before people, we live in dependence on God, we live in forgiveness of God and toward others, which means we live in union with Jesus Christ.

7. Because we are in union with Jesus Christ by declaration God through faith, the awareness of what this means and the experience of it becomes greater as we grow in His grace and knowledge, and consequently, we learn more and more of what it means to "have a child like faith". It is not childish faith, but it is childlike faith.
Childlike vs Childish
KJV 1 Corinthians 13:11 When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.

KJV 1 Corinthians 14:20 Brethren, be not children in understanding: howbeit in malice be ye children, but in understanding be men.

KJV 1 Peter 2:1 Wherefore laying aside all malice, and all guile, and hypocrisies, and envies, and all evil speakings,
2 As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby:
3 If so be ye have tasted that the Lord is gracious.

8. In this union, we are as held in His embrace of security of forgiveness, of love and joy, and of hope in the expectation of the future.

May the Lord help us to see and understand what He is teaching us about what it means to become like a child and how it is the trademark of a child of the kingdom. May He open our understanding of His Word so that we may truly grow in the humility and dependence of a child and in the maturity of an adult.
The example of our congregation's long time servant, Pastor Oscar Wilson, is a good one to leave lingering in our minds as we consider the embrace of our Lord Jesus Christ. This quote is taken from the history of our congregation, The Apostolic Lutheran Church of Kingston.

"Oscar and Stella had four children, Carmelle, Phillip, Rita and Erick. Oscar was a loving and dedicated pastor who never wavered in his beliefs and upheld the foundation our faith is build upon. We sincerely thank God that He gave us Oscar how helped preserve our Christian heritage. Oscar never lost his love for our congregation. He was a long-suffering servant and patient man who always endeavered to do the will of God. Many of us remember his loving arms embracing us in Christian love as he assured us the our sins were forgiven in the Name and shed blood of Jesus Christ."

May the abundant grace of our Lord Jesus Christ minister to us today.

Together in His Union,

Pastor Orval Wirkkala
Posted on 10 May 2010 by Pastor Orval Wirkkala
Lord, teach us to pray 5/3/10
The Apostle Peter writes in his second epistle of the importance of us not forgetting the principle things, referring to them as "these things," with his people. In the following four verses of he pours out his heart concerning "these things."

NLT 2 Peter 1:12 I plan to keep on reminding you of these things-- even though you already know them and are standing firm in the truth.
13 Yes, I believe I should keep on reminding you of these things as long as I live.
14 But the Lord Jesus Christ has shown me that my days here on earth are numbered and I am soon to die.
15 So I will work hard to make these things clear to you. I want you to remember them long after I am gone.

Prayer is certainly one of °these things° of which much is spoken about in the Bible and much is written about in today's world. We know of the importance of prayer, we understand the power of it, but yet it remains one of the most difficult disciplines of grace that have been given to us to master. Yet it is through the regular and continual exposure to the plans and purpose of God that we are able to be reminded of and directed toward the right mind, heart and attitude towards prayer, and thereby, the practice of it.

As we think about prayer in relation to what the Apostle Peter has written in his letter, we realize that it is needful for some of us to on occasion be exposed anew to the teachings and examples in the Scripture concerning prayer. There are many rich examples in the Bible of the experiences of those who have come to "live a life of prayer" in the body of Jesus Christ. There are also those who live today who have yielded themselves and are yet yielding themselves to a "life of prayer." It is not so much that they have mastered prayer, but that they have come to understand and experience in a greater way what it means to live in the body of Jesus Christ. But yet we know that from the testimony of others and through our own experience, prayer is not something that comes naturally to us. So, we desire to be reminded of that which the Lord has taught us about, of that which He has given us clear example through His life, and of that He calls us to imitate:: We would be a praying body.

Utilizing visible things as reminders of past occasions of the deliverance of God is nothing new, for we read in the book of Joshua and of how the children of Israel were told to keep before themselves and succeeding generations 'stones of remembrance." These reminders were to keep in their memory of their being brought through the river Jordan by the Lord. Verse 24 gives that which the Lord wanted them to be reminded of through the visible sign of the stones that were left in a conspicuous place so that as they went through their everyday life they would not forget, but would be reminded. The stones were not only for the children of Israel, but were for all people as the verse indicates

1) All people of the earth might know the hand of the Lord, that it is mighty

2) That they, the children of Israel, would fear the Lord their God forever.

Joshua 4:21 And he spake unto the children of Israel, saying, When your children shall ask their fathers in time to come, saying, What mean these stones?
22 Then ye shall let your children know, saying, Israel came over this Jordan on dry land.
23 For the LORD your God dried up the waters of Jordan from before you, until ye were passed over, as the LORD your God did to the Red sea, which he dried up from before us, until we were gone over:
24 That all the people of the earth might know the hand of the LORD, that it is mighty: that ye might fear the LORD your God for ever.

All of us have wall hangings in our homes. Some we have purchased ourselves, but others have been given to us by those who wished to bring us encouragement. Some of these things are of a spiritual nature, some are not necessarily so, but they are all there for the purpose of bringing blessing to the hearts and lives of ourselves and to those with whom we have fellowship. Look around your home and attempt to recall to memory of the occasion in which a particular "blessing" was inherited by us, purchased by ourselves or which was given to us. We think on the meaning that is given from either the message or the symbolism on the wall hanging and are blessed anew by the message. Additionally, when someone has given us this type of gift that is designed to bless us, we are again appreciative of the kindness that was extended to us by someone who cared and does cares. A gift that is given to us and which is left in a conspicuous place will be a continual source of blessing to us.

Marion Daniels has knit together over 7500 feet of yarn in the making of this app 4'x4' wall hanging of the Lord's Prayer, which will be our subject of meditation today. May we be renewed in our awareness today of the richness and the depth of what we have been given by Jesus in the prayer that He taught us. May this gift that has been given to us as a congregation be an encouragement as well as inspiration for many years to come. May Marion be blessed for her the kindness and love she extends to us in our congregation.

We will use as the basis of our meditation the first four verses of the 11th chapter of Luke's Gospel. But before we read that, we will read the first 8 verses of the 6th chapter of Matthew's Gospel.

KJV Matthew 6:1 Take heed that ye do not your alms before men, to be seen of them: otherwise ye have no reward of your Father which is in heaven.
2 Therefore when thou doest thine alms, do not sound a trumpet before thee, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.
3 But when thou doest alms, let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth:
4 That thine alms may be in secret: and thy Father which seeth in secret himself shall reward thee openly.
5 And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.
6 But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.
7 But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking.
8 Be not ye therefore like unto them: for your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask him.

Jesus addresses the giving of alms, prayer and fasting in this teaching which was part of His Sermon on the Mount, which is contained in chapters 5-7. He cautions against not doing these things to be seen by others, to resist the temptation to "keep score ourselves", but to practice these disciplines of grace with the awareness that we do all these things before our Father, to be seen of Him. We are told that the Father, who sees in secret, will give the appropriate reward. We are then instructed that since our Father knows our needs before we ask him, that we are not to use vain repetitions as the heathen do, thinking that they may be heard for their many words. Then Jesus tells us: Matthew 6: 9 After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father, which are in heaven and so forth..

What is prayer?

Let John Calvin (1509-1564) answer our question: ‘Believers do not pray with the view of informing God about things unknown to him, or of exciting him to do his duty, or of urging him as though he were reluctant. On the contrary, they pray in order that they may arouse themselves to seek him, that they may exercise their faith in meditating on his promises, that they may relieve themselves from their anxieties by pouring them into his bosom; in a word, that they may declare that from him alone they hope and expect, both for themselves and for others, all good things.’. Luther put it more succinctly still: ‘By our praying ... we are instructing ourselves more than we are him’.

1. Jesus taught about prayer in the gospels.

To reiterate what was said above, as Jesus gave His teachings on prayer, He gave caution against three errors: Hypocrisy, Self Promotion and Empty Talking. He included the giving of alms, praying and fasting in in His counsel, which begins in chapter 6 of Matthew.

In being taught how to pray, we are aware that it is neither the praise of men, nor a ground for self-commendation, but rather the approval of God that guides our journey towards a more intimate relationship with our Father in heaven through prayer.

Additionally, we experience for ourselves the struggle that often faces us as we commune with our and are reminded of why Jesus instructed us to enter our closet, and AFTER we have shut the door, to pray to the Father who sees in secret. The following illustration is something perhaps that we may be able to relate to...

A little girl was being instructed by her father of the importance of thinking on the meaning of the words in the Lord's Prayer and of how it was a special time of talking with and hearing from God. He went on to say that she should try her hardest not to think about anything else while she is praying. He told her that if she could pray the whole prayer without thinking about anything else, he would give her a horse. The girl began to pray and after she said, "Give us our daily bread", she said, Daddy, "Can I have a saddle with it?"

2. Jesus prayed (There are at least 27 prayers of Jesus recorded in the Bible)

He began His ministry with prayer.
KJV Luke 3:21 Now when all the people were baptized, it came to pass, that Jesus also being baptized, and praying, the heaven was opened,

KJV Luke 5:16 And he withdrew himself into the wilderness, and prayed.

KJV Luke 6:12 And it came to pass in those days, that he went out into a mountain to pray, and continued all night in prayer to God.
KJV Luke 6:13 And when it was day, he called unto him his disciples: and of them he chose twelve, whom also he named apostles;

KJV Luke 9:18 And it came to pass, as he was alone praying, his disciples were with him: and he asked them, saying, Whom say the people that I am?

KJV Luke 9:28 And it came to pass about an eight days after these sayings, he took Peter and John and James, and went up into a mountain to pray.
KJV Luke 9:29 And as he prayed, the fashion of his countenance was altered, and his raiment was white and glistering.

KJV Luke 22:32 But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren.

KJV Luke 22:39 And he came out, and went, as he was wont, to the mount of Olives; and his disciples also followed him.
KJV Luke 22:40 And when he was at the place, he said unto them, Pray that ye enter not into temptation.
KJV Luke 22:41 And he was withdrawn from them about a stone's cast, and kneeled down, and prayed,
KJV Luke 22:44 And being in an agony he prayed more earnestly: and his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground.

He ended His earthly ministry with a prayer of blessing.
Luke 24:50 And he led them out as far as to Bethany, and he lifted up his hands, and blessed them.
51 And it came to pass, while he blessed them, he was parted from them, and carried up into heaven.

3. As the body of Jesus Christ, we are called to prayer
KJV 1 Thessalonians 5:17 Pray without ceasing.

KJV 1 Timothy 2:1 I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men;

KJV James 5:16 Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.

KJV 1 Thessalonians 5:25 Brethren, pray for us.

Therefore we ask the Lord to teach us to pray, even as the disciples asked Jesus to teach them to pray.

4. Lord, Teach us to pray

KJV Luke 11:1 And it came to pass, that, as he was praying in a certain place, when he ceased, one of his disciples said unto him, Lord, teach us to pray, as John also taught his disciples.
KJV Luke 11:2 And he said unto them, When ye pray, say, Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, as in heaven, so in earth.
KJV Luke 11:3 Give us day by day our daily bread.
KJV Luke 11:4 And forgive us our sins; for we also forgive every one that is indebted to us. And lead us not into temptation; but deliver us from evil.

From Luther's Small Catechism, we are reminded of the meanings of each one of the petitions. May those teachings that we learned as a young person be renewed in our minds and inspire us to a new appreciation for what the Lord has given to us in His prayer. There are four parts to the Lord's Prayer

1. Introduction

2. First Three Petitions: God's name, God's rule, God's will

3. Second Three Petitions: Our dependence, our need for forgiveness, our need for protection by God

4. Conclusion: His kingdom is powerful, glorious, eternal

Introduction: Our Father Who are in Heaven

What is meant by this?
God would hereby truly invite us to believe that He is truly our Father, and that we are truly His children, so that we may ask of Him with all cheerfulness and confidence as dear children ask of their father.

In telling us to address God as ‘our Father in heaven’, the concern of Jesus is not with protocol (teaching us the correct etiquette in approaching the Deity) but with truth (that we may come to him in the right frame of mind). It is always wise, before we pray, to spend time deliberately recalling who he is. Only then shall we come to our loving Father in heaven with appropriate humility, devotion and confidence.

Further when we have taken time and trouble to orientate ourselves toward God and recollect what manner of God he is, our personal, loving, powerful Father, then the content of our prayers will be radically affected in two ways. First, God’s concerns will be given priority ... (‘your name, your kingdom ..., your will ...’). Secondly, our own needs, though demoted to second place, will yet be comprehensively committed to him (‘Give us ..., forgive us ..., deliver us ...’). (John Stott)

The first three petitions in the Lord’s prayer express our concern for God’s glory in relation to his name, rule and will.

First Petition: Hallowed be Thy Name.

What is meant by this?

The Name of God is indeed holy in itself; but we pray in this petition that it may be hallowed also among us.

How is this done?

When the Word of God is taught in its truth and purity and we, as the children of God, also lead holy lives according to it. This grant us, dear Father in heaven. But he that teaches and lives otherwise than God's Word teaches, profanes the Name of God among us. From this preserve us, heavenly Father.

Second Petition: Thy kingdom come

What is meant by this?

The kingdom of God comes indeed of itself, without our prayer; but we pray in this petition that it may come also to us.

How is this done?

When our heavenly Father gives us His Holy Spirit; so that by His grace we believe in His Holy Word and lead a godly life, here in time and hereafter in eternity.

Many great kingdoms have rose, but they have all disappeared and are now history. The great Babylonian Empire, the Assyrian Empire, the Roman Empire, the Russian Royal Families, the British dominance in Europe have all disappeared into the past, but the kingdom of God came with Jesus and yet reigns today through the King Jesus.

The Third Petition: Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.

What is meant by this?

The good and gracious will of God is done indeed without our prayer; but we pray in this petition that it may be done also among us.

How is this done?

When God defeats and hinders every evil counsel and purpose, which would not let us hallow God's Name nor let His kingdom come, such as the will of the devil, the world, and our own flesh; but strengthens and keeps us steadfast in His Word and in faith unto our end. This is His gracious, and good will.

In the second half of the Lord’s prayer the possessive adjective changes from ‘your’ to ‘our’, as we turn from God’s affairs to our own.
Having expressed our burning concern for his glory, we now express our humble dependence on his grace. A true understanding of the God we pray to, as heavenly Father and great King, although putting our personal needs into a second and subsidiary place, will not eliminate them. To decline to mention them at all in prayer (on the ground that we do not want to bother God with such trivialities) is as great an error as to allow them to dominate our prayers. For since God is ‘our Father in heaven’ and loves us with a father’s love, he is concerned for the total welfare of his children and wants us to bring our needs trustingly to him, our need of food and of forgiveness and of deliverance from evil. We seek God for our daily needs, we seek Him for forgiveness and we seek Him so that we would be preserved from temptation. We are underscoring our total reliance on God. (John Stott)

The Fourth Petition: Give us this day our daily bread.

What is meant by this? God gives daily bread indeed without our prayer, even to all the wicked; but we pray in this petition that He would lead us to acknowledge this and receive our daily bread with thanksgiving.

What is meant by daily bread? All that belongs to the wants and support of the body, such as meat, drink, clothing, shoes, house, home, land, cattle, pious servants, pious and faithful rulers, good government, good weather, peace, health, order, honor, true friends, good neighbors, and the like.

God never missed one day in providing manna for His people in the forty years in the wilderness and that which He had spoke to them concerning His warnings always came true. He fed them in a way that He had never done before, therefore can He not provide for us in ways that He has never done before? Yes, He can and He will.

We are God's personal concern, for He is our Father and He knows best.

God is able to discern between our needs and our desires.

Whatever God gives us is not mine only to use, but rather it is to be used to share with others. If some do not have as we do, we are to help those who have needs.

The Fifth Petition:And forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.

What is meant by this?

We pray in this petition that our Father in heaven would not look upon our sins, nor on their account deny our prayer; for we are not worthy of anything we ask, neither have we deserved them; but we pray that He would grant them all to us by grace; for we sin much every day and deserve nothing but punishment. And on our part we will heartily forgive and readily to good to those who sin against us.

The Sixth Petition: Lead us not into temptation.

What does this mean?

God indeed tempts no one; but we pray in this petition that God would guard and keep us, so that the devil, the world, and our own flesh may not deceive us, nor lead us into unbelief, despair, and other shameful sin and vice; and, though we be tempted, that we may still in the end overcome and obtain the victory.

But Deliver us from evil.

What is meant by this?

We pray in this petition, as the sum of all, that our Father in heaven would deliver us from every evil of body and soul, property, and honor, and at the last, when the hour of death shall come, grant us a blessed end, and graciously take us from this vale of sorrow to Himself in heaven.

Thus the three petitions cover all our human need - material (daily bread), spiritual (forgiveness of sins) and moral (deliverance from evil). What we are doing whenever we pray this prayer is to express our dependence upon God in every area of our human life.

Conclusion: For thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever and ever. Amen.

What is meant by this?

That I should be sure that these petitions are acceptable to our Father in heaven, and are heard by Him, for He Himself has promised to pray, and has promised to hear us.
Amen, Amen, that is, Yea, yea, it shall be so.

We need to remember that he loves us with most tender affection, that he sees us as his children even in the secret place, that he knows all their needs before they ask him, and that he acts on behalf of us, his children by his heavenly and kingly power. If we thus allow Scripture to fashion our image of God, if we recall his character and practise his presence, we shall never pray with hypocrisy but always with integrity, never mechanically but always thoughtfully, like the children of God we are.

Our Father in heaven, your Son taught us that we are to pray, He taught us how to pray and He emphasized His teachings with action. For He spent many hours with you in the communion of prayer, sometimes all night. Father, help us to grow in our dependence upon you and diminish in our self reliance on self. May we see come before your Word in humble, sincerely and truthfully, seeing ourselves as we truly are: prone to trust in self, prone to forget that you are our Father who truly loves us, who knows what is best for us, and who filters every trial that we experience through love.

May we as a part of body of Jesus Christ here in our congregation grow in our awareness of the power of prayer, may we participate in a greater way in this grace of prayer and fellowship. May those in the community come to see the effects of our praying congregation, that they would see this church as a house of prayer.

As we learn to pray, dear Father, may we lean upon your promises which are recorded in your Word. May we continue to trust you inspite of that which we see as a setback in our lives, knowing that what is a setback to us is for You an opportunity to being blessing into our future lives.

As we intercede in prayer for one another, may we remember that we are the link between the one we are praying for and the One to whom we are praying. We are in the middle and You long to have us ask You to bless someone else. When praying through to the answer to whatever is before us, let us not let the worsening circumstance hinder us from continuing in prayer. Let us not give in to hopelessness when dealing with seemingly futile situations, but rather trust you in your promises.

Lord, Will you teach us to pray?

In the name of and for the sake of the name of Jesus, Amen.

May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you today and always!

Pastor Orval Wirkkala
Posted on 03 May 2010 by Pastor Orval Wirkkala

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The Nature of the Kingdom 5/10/10
- Posted by Pastor Orval Wirkkala

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Carol Fischer and her family as they grieve the loss of Bob