AN OLD PRAYER MADE NEW

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by Nate Champneys

I remember a time this past winter when I was brutally honest with God. I let Him have it. I called the Complaint Department and I laid into Him. Giving had been down, and I was lacking people to serve in different ministry positions. I remember sitting in my car, having this fierce conversation with Him: “God, why don’t You give us more money so we can accomplish all the things we want to as a church?! God, why haven’t You given me the people that I need to fill all my ministry positions?! I feel like You are intentionally making my life difficult here, Jesus!”

The strangest, oddest thing happened. The end of the Lord’s Prayer popped into my head. “For Yours is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory forever. Amen.” Now let me tell you why this is strange. Will you allow me to be completely transparent with you for a moment? I have hated the Lord’s Prayer for many years. Yes, I said, “hated.” You’re thinking, “What?! Nate, you’re a pastor. You can’t say that!” Let me explain.

When I was a child we recited the Lord’s Prayer very often at the church we attended, and really, it was kind of creepy sounding as everyone recited it as a sort of mantra. But, more than that, I have always valued the fact that, because of Jesus’ work on the cross, we are now made to be His children. I can talk to Him like a son talks to a father. Reciting the Lord’s Prayer almost irritated me because saying a bunch of prewritten words is not how I talk to my real-life father. Why would I want to talk to my heavenly Father that way?

Now you can see why these words popping into my head was almost funny. But let me tell you, that day those words had more meaning to me than they ever had in my entire life. I understood them in that moment with perfect clarity. Jesus prayed that prayer as an example to us of complete surrender and dependence. “For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever and ever. Amen.” Jesus was saying, “Father, this is YOUR kingdom that YOU are building, with YOUR power, for YOUR glory.” I sat there in silence. I thought to myself, “Wow, my name isn’t even in there …”

God was saying to me, “Nate, will you quit trying to build your kingdom? This is My kingdom that we’re building here, not yours. It is by My power that it is accomplished, too. You have no power to do anything in this spiritual kingdom I am building. And don’t worry, it’s all for My glory, so even if you did fail it wouldn’t be on you. It would be on Me. (Which, by the way, I don’t think I need to remind you, Nate, I don’t fail at anything.) I really do know what I am doing.” What do you say to something like that?

It is amazing the pressure we put on ourselves to accomplish things that are not even in our control to accomplish, isn’t it? You may be thinking, “Well Nate, that’s great for you. You are a pastor, but how does that apply to me?” Here’s the reality: We all are invited to be a part of building God’s kingdom here on earth, not just pastors. Now I am not talking about church programs and positions. Do you have a friend that you know needs Jesus, but you are afraid to talk to them? Do you have a neighbor that you would love to invite to church, but you are afraid they will say no? Jesus has invited each of us to share in His joy in the building of His kingdom. Many of us miss out altogether by simply refusing to be a part of the process because of fear. Many also set out to be a part of building God’s kingdom, but we take control and want it done our way. That’s a lot of pressure that none of us needs on our shoulders.

In Matthew 28, Jesus told us from his own mouth, to, “Go and make disciples.” Left by ourselves, that is a lot of pressure. But he also said, “I am with you always.” The reality is that you and I have no power to create change in the hearts of others. None. When we acknowledge that truth, we let go of the reins and allow Him to build His kingdom in us and through us.

Jesus, you truly are our Daddy in heaven, but You are also a Holy God, I AM. We desire Your will as You build Your spiritual kingdom in each of us. You hold all things, including us, in Your hands. Just as You have forgiven us far beyond what we deserve, help us to forgive all others. Protect us from ourselves and from the Evil One. This is Your world, Your church, and my life is Yours. It is built by Your power, not mine, and for Your glory and fame, not mine. Your name be lifted high!

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