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Tag Archives: Our Father

The Prayer of Jesus

When Jesus is mentioned in the context of prayer, the Lord’s Prayer/Our Father comes to mind.  Yet, I recently heard a pastor give a sermon on Psalm 119, the longest chapter in the Bible.  The point he was trying to make is if you take the words of Psalm 119 and apply them as a prayer, this is what God desires for you.

How can a young person stay on the path of purity?  By living according to your word, Psalm 119:9.

The Lord’s Prayer teaches individuals to begin prayer by acknowledging and praising the God of heaven and earth.  Prayer is meant to draw you toward God’s will; not a Christmas wish list to seek selfish desires.  The Psalmist compliments prayer, revealing the path to purity.  Anyone who strives to live according to the Bible moves closer to fulfilling the prayer of Jesus.

Give us today our daily bread, Matthew 6:11.

One of the most overlooked passages in the Sermon on the Mount is the verse above.  While it’s simplistic in nature, Jesus stresses one vital aspect about prayer, take life one day at a time as tomorrow isn’t guaranteed.  The World Health Organization proves this point as 153,424 die each day.  If you want to know and follow God’s will, read, study and meditate upon Psalm 119.  As individuals turn their attention to biblical principles, the prayer of Jesus will transform your life.

by Jay Mankus

 

 

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Actions Affect Access

Since I grew up in the Roman Catholic Church, I was taught to go confession whenever I made a mistake, messed up or sinned.  Initially, this meant going to a confessional booth.  However, as I got older I meet face to face with a priest.  After bearing my soul, I was usually told to say x amount of Hail Mary’s or Our Father’s, then I would be forgiven.

When you spread out your hands in prayer, I hide my eyes from you; even when you offer many prayers, I am not listening. Your hands are full of blood! – Isaiah 1:15

Looking back, this practice doesn’t make sense.  Then again, I was also encouraged not to challenge authority so I conformed until college.  Through Bible studies, conferences and retreats, I learned that my actions affect access to God.  While you have to be careful not to fall into an Old Testament view of God, acts of contrition following confession is a essential.

Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective, James 5:16.

The prophet Isaiah first informed the Jews that there are conditions when God will not listen to your prayers.  Unconfessed sin is like a barrier that blocks your connection with God.  Without genuine repentance people will experience periods of mundane prayer where the Holy Spirit is absent.  Following the model displayed in James 5:16 can awaken the Spirit of God.  If you want to improve your spiritual Wi-Fi connection with God, think twice before giving into temptation since actions affect access.

by Jay Mankus

21 Seconds to Pray

During my confirmation process in the Catholic Church in 8th grade, I studied the Lord’s prayer, also known as the Our Father.  According to author Dr. Mark Rutland, it takes the average person 21 seconds to pray this prayer.  After twenty years of using the Lord’s prayer as a foundation for prayer, Dr. Rutland believes that you can change your world if individuals begin to devote 21 seconds to prayer daily.

“This, then, is how you should pray: “ ’Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven,” Matthew 6:9-10.

Keeping a journal during this extended period, Mark began to see the impact Jesus’ words had on his prayer life.  Gradually, his heart, soul and mind were transformed by this basic, yet powerful prayer outline inspiring his book 21 Seconds to Change Your World.  While the average person struggles to pay attention or remain focused, 21 seconds is less than most commercials on television.  Therefore, why not make a resolution for 2016 to commit 21 seconds to prayer each day.

Give us today our daily bread.  And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.  And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one, Matthew 6:11-13.

Even when people draw near to God, prayer can be foreign to many.  Feeling asleep on my pillow in college was a nightly tradition, not getting far before I dosed off.  However, 21 seconds is realistic, a good starting point for novice prayers.  Therefore, I don’t have a good excuse to say I was too busy, didn’t feel well or was too tired.  Rather, now is a great time to start 2016 off on the right foot with 21 seconds to pray.

by Jay Mankus

 

Resisting the Holy Spirit

As far as I can remember, I grew up in a strict Roman Catholic Church: taking my first communion there, going to C.C.D. and finally completing the confirmation process.  In my early years, nuns would strike you with a yard stick if you couldn’t quote the Our Father or Hail Mary when put on the spot.  When I got older, it bothered me  that the priest had the final  say, only his interpretation of scripture was valid.  Thus, in high school, I began a quest to find out more about the Bible, looking beyond just the Catholic faith for answers.

This journey has lead me to passages like Acts 7:51.  Whether you are a Catholic, Protestant , Jew or some other religion, sometimes its hard to break the traditions that have been engraved within your mind.  When your priest, pastor or rabbi says something, most assume, this must be true.  However, religious practices often enable leaders to usurp power over their flock, holding them captive to traditions.  Similar patterns exist today, as seminary teaches future shepherds to follow theological practices, often overlooking the presence and power of the Holy Spirit.

The Bible says live by faith, not by sight, 2 Corinthians 5:7.  The apostle Paul furthers this concept in Galatians 5:25, keeping in step with the Holy Spirit, day by day, not just when we feel like or want to follow.  I am afraid that many Christians are so busy following orders and pursuing practices, they have been oblivious to the fact they are actually resisting the Holy Spirit.  Wherever you are in life, make room for the Counselor, John 14:16-17.  Resist the urge to follow human traditions, test everything you hear with the Bible and when God’s whisper appears, follow!

by Jay Mankus

Inside the Heart of God


As a child, I had a flawed view of God.  May be it was because I was raised in a strict Roman Catholic home or due to the fact I was afraid of being struck with a yard stick by nuns when I couldn’t recite the Our Father or Hail Mary?  Either way, these experiences led me to develop an Old Testament perspective of God, one of judgment and wrath.  Like C.S. Lewis’ opening paragraph of Book 3 in Mere Christianity, I felt as if God was waiting to punish me each time I sinned.  This sense that God was going to strike me with lightning every time I made a bad decision blinded me from seeing inside the heart of God.

Thankfully, God allowed me to study under some of the greatest Bible teachers in the country to help dissolve these false assumptions.  Pastors like Alistar Begg of Truth for Life in Ohio, Bill Hybels and Lee Strobel at Willow Creek in Chicago and Tommy Nelson of Denton Bible Church at several college retreats laid a solid foundation which I have been able to build upon since getting married.  On Friday night, while listening to Christian music for 3 hours, God gave me a brief glimpse into the heart of God.

Since I have a tendency to get impatient with people, especially non-believers, God reminded me of Jesus’ earthly ministry.  Jesus spent 3 years serving others, reaching out to the needy and re-educating the disciples to prepare them for life after his ascension.  The only people Jesus ever got angry at were religious leaders, teachers of the law, his own disciples at times, those who didn’t welcome his own disciples in Matthew 10 and anyone who tried to turn the House of God into a den of robbers.  Jesus knew that most people are blinded by Satan in their minds, 2 Corinthians 4:4, unable to grasp the gospel like the parable of the weeds, Matthew 13:24-30.

When you begin to discern the spiritual elements behind a person’s actions, Ephesians 6:12, you are able to overlook their sin to love and pray for people.  Knowing the heart of God is one thing, carrying out God’s love is entirely different.  This is why the apostle Paul wrote 1 Corinthians 13:1-3.  If you have tried to love, then you know how hard it is to do, day in and day out.  However, if you follow the blue print in Colossians 3:12-17, you just might be able to display the heart of God to those people you cross paths with daily.  The next time you become impatient like me, remember Jesus’ perspective in Luke 19:42 by having compassion on sinners like a shepherd reaching out to his lost sheep!

by Jay Mankus