I have been using the "Lord's Prayer" (really the Disciple's Prayer) as my template for daily prayer for a while, and it seems to work much better than the old templates I've used (Like "ACTS" -- adoration, confession, thanksgiving, supplication).
I have been realizing -- as I pray each piece in my own words, with the specifics of my life -- how completely dependent and completely bankrupt I am -- and that we all are.
I get up each day with a full set of obligations and a full set of resources to steward -- my time, energy, and money, and also all that I've taken on in life -- from this marriage commitment to my commitment to my 4 sons and 2 stepsons to my commitment to all my friends and the daily tasks and goals. And certainly I am called to responsible stewardship and to a good work ethic and to character development and to simple basic obedience. Certainly I am called to fulfill the obligations I have to the people I love and to my community and to society as a whole.
But I am personally bankrupt. Every morning I get up and my obligations far exceed my resources and character development.
I used to think the Christian life meant changing that! I should be able to limit my obligations and increase my resources and character strength, and become consistently strong and effective in doing whatever was on my plate for that day and that month and that year, and move deliberately toward a future of increased effectiveness and stewardship. I should be able to grow to a healthy Christian adulthood.
Now I know that growing toward that full effectiveness and best stewardship are dependent upon a knowledge of reality that acknowledges my daily bankruptcy. All my resources really are not mine, and I cannot command them or control them. And my obligations -- no matter how I try to focus them on a few essentials -- always exceed my ability to fulfill them in the way God intends me to fulfill them.
"Abiding" as Jesus talks about abiding in Him in John 14 and 15 is becoming more and more a reality for me. I am getting over the idea that He wants me to "grow up" and do this life on my own, and starting to not only accept but relish the idea that He wants such intimacy that I truly do nothing on my own.
The God of the Universe loves me enough to fill me and teach me and use me! And He is doing amazing things in me and around me and even through me!
Recognizing my bankruptcy each day allows me to draw on the riches of the One whose agenda matters. It also requires me to abandon my own agenda as undo-able, and to ignore the agendas of those around me with an "unholy disregard" except as they emerge as His agenda shown in the community of faith to which I submit in Him.
This life in the Kingdom is truly an "upside-down" life!
Wow. I think I need to file my theological Chapter 9 too!
Thanks for the wonderful post!
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