82 – The “WoRK” of Prayer – Part 2 (Worship-Renewal-Kingdom)
This is the second in a three part series explaining a paradigm for life based upon The Lord’s Prayer-worship, renewal, and kingdom: WoRK. In the last issue we introduced worship. In this issue we will look at renewal…
One of our faculty members, Dr. Rod Cooper, once saw a dirt road in Alaska in which cars had dug huge ruts. During winter the ruts froze over. But when the spring thaw came, the ruts reappeared and got even deeper.
He saw a sign at the beginning of the road that said, “Choose your rut carefully because you will be in it for a long time.”
One of the problems with life is that it is so “daily.” If we don’t pay attention we can soon find ourselves in a rut. As someone said, “A rut is a grave with both ends knocked out.” How do we get in a rut? And, more importantly, how do we get out?
OUR NEED FOR RENEWAL
No man plans to fail. Most men want to do the right thing. No man wakes up in the morning and wonders, “What I can do today to irritate my wife, neglect my kids, and let down my boss?” Yet we do. And trying harder usually fails, producing even more guilt. Why is this and what can we do?
What happens in a typical day? We wake up with good intentions but then go out into the world where all day long we are tempted to exchange the truth of the gospel for a lie. “They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator” (Romans 1:25)
What is the lie? The lie takes many forms. For example, lies about happiness tell us that to be happy we need to…
Make this much money Get that promotion
Drive a certain car Have an hour a day for myself
Achieve a certain desire or goal Lust after that woman
Have my wife act differently Have my children behave better
Have investments do well Be able to eat what I want
Have a ministry that gives me strokes
Do we really “need” these things to be happy? Each of these statements boil down to this core lie: “Jesus is not enough to make me happy. I need something more.”
How does the lie come to us? Blared by the world, the flesh, and the devil from a thousand cell towers, TV antennas, newspapers-even friends-the Liar wants us to believe we need more than Jesus to be happy.
What happens when we believe the lie? We are tempted to not glorify God or give Him thanks, to become wise in our own eyes, to make an idol-a second master, and to worship the creature instead of the Creator (Romans 1:21-25). The result is sin and alienation from God, loss of the joy of serving Him and, if left for a season, a hardened heart.
At its root the lie is a temptation to unbelief. It is the temptation to not believe that Jesus will always take care of us. Men who want to live for Jesus Christ often get mired down under an impotent list of rules and commitments. Christianity is often presented as a list of duties that, if kept, will produce a righteous life. Invariably this fails.
So how do we get out of this rut?
The second part of “WoRK”, based on Luke 11:3-4, is “Renewal.”
“Give us each day our daily bread. Forgive us our sins, for we also forgive everyone who sins against us. And lead us not into temptation.”
In renewal we bring ourselves before God as humble beggars. We will pour out our hearts to God-whatever we desire-but we will be sure to include, according to The Model Prayer, four things:
1. First, we renew ourselves daily in the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ through repentance and faith. Why must we do this? Because the Bible’s only solution for sin is repentance and faith. Once we have believed the lie-even a small part of it-our only hope is to run to the cross. Christ produces His life in us by ongoing grace through ongoing repentance and faith. Name your idols, any second master that rules your life, and repent. Say, “Lord Jesus, have mercy on me, a sinner.” Know what tempts you to believe the lie, and confess it. Now believe in Christ alone.
2. Second, we come to Jesus as a humble beggar looking for spiritual, emotional, and physical bread. Whether you have $1,000,000 in your checking account or you are overdrawn, you still have the same need — to depend utterly and completely on Jesus alone for your daily needs. Putting faith in your bank account, ability, job, or anything other than Jesus is to believe the lie. To not trust Jesus because you are overdrawn, unemployed, or in crisis is to believe the lie.
3. Third, we forgive others who have sinned against us. We cannot be clean if we are bitter and resentful. Our sins are forgiven when we forgive the sins of others. It is a requirement-Matthew 6:14-15: “For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.” Forgiveness is not, however, a good work we “add” to make us right with God. Rather, it removes an obstacle that prevents God from forgiving us.
4. Fourth, we ask for protection from trials and bad things. The Father, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit want to take care of us. The devil is nothing but a spiritual pygmy compared to God. The Word says, “Greater is he who is in you than he who is in the world” (I John 4:4). The only way he gets loose is when we let him get loose because we don’t pray.
This will get us out of the rut. How do we stay out?
THE CORE AFFECTIONS OF THE HEART
One recent day I was at the height of my spiritual zeal. I saw a sensuous woman and was immediately tempted to lust.
The world, the flesh, and the devil were telling me, “Jesus is not enough to make you happy. You need this lust.” That was the lie.
Fortunately I was reminded that I needed only Christ. I was, by God’s grace, able to reject the temptation because I wanted to express my faith in Jesus, that He is sufficient for me.
Can you look at something or someone, be tempted to lust for it, and say, “Lord Jesus, I don’t really need that to be happy because I have You?”
We are beginning to pinpoint the difference between what it means to be “committed” to Jesus versus “surrendered” to Jesus.
There is a sensitivity of spirit that can develop when we are walking closely with Jesus, renewing ourselves daily in the gospel through repentance and faith. The Holy Spirit speaks, and we hear.
Rules and regulations to make us a better Christian will not change our lives. To change our lives we must change the core affections of our hearts. Jesus must become our highest and best thought.
RENEWAL AND CHANGED AFFECTIONS THROUGH SURRENDER
Make a list of every thing you own, want to own, relationship, dream, and anything else that is important to you. Here’s my list….
My Lord My Wife My Daughter
My Son All my ministry desires All My Ministry Results
Our Home Our Investments My Motorcycle
Rowing Scull Right to have an hour or so a day to my self
Make your list here…
Now go through each item one by one and ask, “Does this (thing, relationship, dream) belong to me? Or does this belong to God? Can it belong to both? Can I surrender it to God?” If you can, surrender it now. Every day continue to surrender every detail of your life in daily renewal.
How do we stay out of a rut? Make Jesus the core affection of our hearts, our first and best thought in every situation. Don’t merely commit to Jesus; surrender to Him. We do so through daily renewal and humble prayer.
Business leader, author, and speaker, Patrick Morley helps men to think more deeply about their lives, to be reconciled with Christ, and to be equipped for a larger impact on the world.
©2000. Patrick M. Morley. All rights reserved. This may be reproduced with proper attribution for non-commercial purposes.