84 – The “WoRK” of Prayer – Part 3
This is the final 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 renewal. In this issue we will look at kingdom-God’s kingdom program.
There is a now-famous interview that Roy Firestone had with an athlete on his television show Up Close.
Roy interviewed a man who is 250 pounds of pure muscle and athleticism. In fact, he is one of the best big men playing currently in the NBA. At that time he had taken his team to back-to-back world championships. He’s been an all-star 12 times. He speaks five languages. He’s not from this country, but he is now a citizen.
Firestone said, “Your teammates tell me that every time you hit the hardwood, you give 110%. They say that you run wind sprints until you can’t run them anymore, you practice hook shots by the hour, and if you’re in a scrimmage, you’ll go for every loose ball as if you’re in the NBA finals. Why? You’re one of the best. Why not just take it easy and enjoy it.”
The answer was incredible. This athlete said, “Roy, you need to know something. Every time I step on the hardwood, I’m not going to work. I’m going to worship. How dare I not give back to God everything that He has given to me with joy and thanksgiving.”
This man is a Muslim. His name is Hakeem “the Dream” Olajuwon. He doesn’t know God or Jesus Christ at all. And yet, he believes what we should believe. He believes that everything thing he does is a part of God’s kingdom program.
GOD’S KINGDOM PRIORITIES
Once a man has worshipped the Lord and renewed himself in the gospel, he will be ready for action, but what? We begin by thinking about God’s kingdom and will: “Thy kingdom come, thy will be done.”
Kingdom: “Your kingdom come….”
The third part of this model, based on Matthew 6:10, is “Kingdom”-to bring yourself into alignment with The Kingdom Program, aka “God’s To Do List.”
We do this first through prayer. We pray that His kingdom and will might invade the world. We ponder what God is doing and wanting to do in the world and offer intercession for both believers and non-believers.
We think about God’s plan to set apart a people for Himself and ask Him to show us our part in the Kingdom plan this day. We wonder, “What does God want to do today? What does He hope to accomplish?” We discover his will in John 6:35-40:
Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never go hungry, and he who believes in me will never be thirsty. But as I told you, you have seen me and still you do not believe. All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never drive away. For I have come down from heaven not to do my will but to do the will of him who sent me. And this is the will of him who sent me, that I shall lose none of all that he has given me, but raise them up at the last day. For my Father’s will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day.”
The promise of Christ is that His kingdom agenda is moving forward everyday. We can join Him in this work by living in dependence and faith on Him.
When we love our spouse, disciple our kids, do our work with excellence, pray for a hurting friend, reach out to a neighbor who does not know Christ, or join a group of men for Bible Study and accountability, we are joining God in His kingdom program. We are putting feet to our prayers.
TROUBLE AND HOPE
Because of the Fall we must do our work while feeling the prick of thorns. There is no doubt that we will endure troubles and suffering in this world. Think of Jesus’ parable of the wheat and the tares or his promise that the world would hate us also.
But we also know God is creating, sustaining, and redeeming a people for Himself against the Fall. He is patient, not wanting any to perish, but all to come to repentance. Jesus says, “Take heart for I have overcome the world.”
We learn He is building His kingdom-His family-and wants to send out workers (WoRKers?) into His harvest field, people who will build the kingdom and tend the culture, people who will give themselves to the ministry of reconciliation, people compelled by the love of God to share this good news.
And we go, because even in the midst of difficulty we have a sure hope that we will eventually triumph with Christ.
All around us are men who have exchanged the truth of God for a lie. According to a survey conducted by Barna Research only 8,000,000 men are involved in discipleship. That’s out of 98,000,000 men in America-every 12th man.
This would be like coaching a football team with only one man who actually knows how to play the game. Eleven barely know enough to be able to watch, much less play, the game. But they will not be allowed to watch. his is the game of life, and everyone will play. Problem: On the other side of the line of scrimmage the coach, Satan, has disguised his players as success, comfort, piety, sexual pleasure, money, and other tempting idols.
Satan will coach his team to play soft in the first half, and let men think they’re winning.
Since these men are flabby, they don’t know how to block and tackle. They don’t have the right equipment. In the first half they are merely ignorant, but by the second half, lulled, they are also cocky. They swagger around like inexperienced teenagers.
The problem is that these guys are going to get creamed. Satan will decimate them-he will addict them to money, success, possessions, power, prestige, and pornography. He will use these weaknesses to call plays that end in adultery, divorce, children who hate them, lapses of integrity, financial disasters, alcohol, drugs, violence, greed, pettiness, and self-absorption.
These men need teammates who can stand with them and teach them the game. They need men like us who will realize that the only really important thing in life is God’s kingdom program, since that is what life is all about in the first place.
We need to learn the plays from God for ourselves, then get on the field and teach other men. If we don’t, we will lose another generation of American men.
Dr. Sherry McKenzie is one of my professors at Seminary, and he’s also on our Board of Directors at Man in the Mirror. In the 1950’s as a young Lieutenant military Chaplain in Germany, he began to preach the Gospel on the base and it seemed that nobody was responding.
Finally, a young man came to him one day and said, “You know, I think I’m missing it.”
Sherry said to the young soldier, “After the service today, I am going to be out underneath the large tree outside the chapel, why don’t you come see me and we can talk about it?”
The young man came, and he and Sherry began to pray. They prayed that God would reveal himself to this young man.
The next week the young man brought a couple of other young men, and soon those two men brought a few others. After several weeks had gone by, there were 40 men meeting every week out under a tree to pray.
This whole military base had been suffering spiritually when Sherry came. By the time he left there were prayer groups on every floor in every barracks of this military base.
Why? Because one young man was afraid that he would miss God’s kingdom. And because there was one man in tune with God’s kingdom program who could help him find it.
APPLICATION AND REFLECTION
- How in tune are you with God’s kingdom program? Where has God worked in your life today? How could you become more aware of what he wants to do in and through you?
- Say a brief prayer asking God to reveal how you can be a part of his kingdom program. Pray for his kingdom to come and his will to be done in your life.
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.