Lord's Prayer begins with "Our Father."
It's our relationship with God. "Our Father,"
recognizing who He is in relationship to us. The next
part of the phrase continues: "Our Father who
art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name. Thy kingdom come,
Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven."
In this part of the phrase we recognize the power of God.
We call upon God and when we call upon Him, we recognize
that He has the power to answer our prayers.
I want to take us to that place where many of us start praying
and it is no wonder we start praying there. There's
a lot of hurting people. When you hurt you just simply cry
out in pain, at least I do. Unfortunately, during my lifetime
I have hit my thumb with a hammer. When we are hurting,
we cry out in pain and we just say, "Help Lord,"
and we immediately bypass our relationship, bypass recognizing
who God is and His ability to answer our prayers and we
jump right into petition.
we are going to talk about petition. How do we petition
God? In the Lord's Prayer, which we find in Matthew
6, the apostles came to Jesus and said "Jesus, teach
us to pray." And Jesus gave us the Lord's Prayer.
In this prayer, He tells us "Give us this day our daily
bread and forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors."
(Matthew 6:11-12) The petitions begins by simply asking.
chapter 7 of Matthew, Jesus continues on and says, "Ask
and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock
and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks
receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the
door will be opened. (Matthew 7:7-8) God never gives
us something that is going to tear us down and break us
apart but He gives us something that will build us up and
create hope and joy.
like the song written by Garth Brooks entitled "Unanswered
Prayers." It says, "I thank God for unanswered
prayers. Remember when you're talking to the man upstairs,
just because He doesn't answer, doesn't mean He don't care.
Some of God's greatest gifts are unanswered prayers."
God gives and He answers our prayers but He answers us and
gives us only that which is going to make us better, stronger,
more capable individuals so that we can indeed achieve our
full maximum potential. It begins with "Give
us this day our daily bread." Lord, fulfill our
physical needs. We have physical needs with physical
realities because we are physical people who cannot survive
without bread and water and clothing and shelter.
These are physical realities in which we live. We pray that
God will indeed fulfill our physical needs. And as
we pray, God does. In this same, wonderful sermon
given by Jesus he says, "Look at the sparrows. They
neither toil nor spin, and yet your Heavenly Father cares
for them, oh ye of little faith." (Matthew 6:26)
Why do you worry? God will care for your needs, and He will
give you what you need.
remember as a young pastor, pastoring a young fledgling
church in San Juan Capistrano, and I received a vision to
go and help a small community in Mexico that was devastated
by Hurricane Gilbert. I hopped on an airplane with
my wife and we flew for days on this little plane that was
supplied by Missionary Aviation Fellowship. It was a bush
plane, a single engine plane and it just putted along. When
we landed in this community we saw the devastation and we
discovered what needed to take place to rebuild the area.
We came back and our church raised about $30,000 and we
combined that with some other contributions we received
from other churches and World Vision and we re-built the
entire community of La Carbonera, Mexico. In the process
of our church raising that $30,000, it represented about
15 percent of the church's budget at that time. It
was a big sacrifice for us to make. We went $30,000 in debt,
with bills piling up, because what happened in our congregation
was people didn't add to their contributions, they just
shifted their contributions. I prayed and I said, "God,
You led us down this path, we need you to help us out."
I mean it was really, really tough. One Sunday morning,
one of the members of our church, a young man by the name
of Mark came up to me and he and his wife had a very frugal
life and a simple business and he came up to me and he said,
"Robert, Carol and I had a little windfall, and we
would like to make a gift to the church." I said,
"That's wonderful." He said, "Is there
any special projects you have?" As soon as he said
special projects, I thought of our mission project.
Then at the same time I thought of the huge debt we had
for the church and I said, "Mark, I have to be honest
with you. More than anything else, we need money for
the church to be able to pay its bills; we are $30,000 in
debt right now. We can't pay our bills. If you can
give anything to help us pay our bills, that'd be the greatest
thing you could do." He just shook his head,
walked in to the church and sat down with his wife.
After the church service, he and his wife Carol came up
to me and handed me a check. Whenever someone gives me a
check, I just fold it up and I put it in my pocket and I
say thank you. You cannot win by looking at the check, ever.
If it's too small and you look disappointed, that's not
good! If it is too big and you start jumping up and
down, that's not good either! So you can't win by
looking at a check; I always just fold it up, I put it in
my pocket and it doesn't matter the amount of the check.
What matters is that it comes from a human being who cares
and gives it out of love and sincerity for the kingdom of
God. It doesn't matter if it's a penny or if it's a million
dollars. It doesn't matter to God.
I didn't look at the check, I put it in my pocket and Carol
said, "Robert, look at that check." I said,
"Carol, thank you so much. I know this is a wonderful
gift from you and we appreciate it very much."
She said, "Robert, look at that check." I looked
at it and it was for $30,000. Exactly what we needed
to get out of our debt. I was stunned. I said, "Did
somebody die?" They said, "No, no, we just had
a little windfall." I thought to myself, God must have
answered some prayers in their life.
took me weeks to discover that they had bought a lottery
ticket. They had decided if they won anything, they would
pledge to give ten percent of it to the church. Now,
remember when they came to me I had told them we were $30,000
in debt. Mark later told me that $30,000 was exactly
ten percent of their winnings. It was a sign from God!
do we worry? Everything belongs to God. Why
do we worry? "Oh ye of little faith. Ask
and you'll receive, seek and you will find, knock and the
doors will be opened. The Lord's Prayer says, "Give
us this day our daily bread." God gives us the bread
and the sustenance and fulfills our needs. Immediately
following that, the prayer continues, "forgive us our
debts, as we forgive those who sin against us," who
trespass against us; our debtors. So it begins with
our physical needs and immediately moves right into our
spiritual needs. As individuals we have tremendous
spiritual need. I have to ask God to forgive me constantly.
Forgive me for not having enough confidence in the power
of God who created me, just the way I am, for a purpose
and for a reason. When we criticize ourselves we criticize
God because God created us just the way we are. When we
cannot love ourselves, we cannot love God.
father wrote a book, "Self Love: The New Reformation"
and Clement Stone, one of the true industrialists of the
20th century, made a donation so that book could
be sent to every single pastor in the United States of America,
and he did that, he gave that book away. That movement started
a ripple that has now basically changed the theology and
the Christian church from the understanding of John Calvin,
which says, "We are insufficient human beings."
are children of God. We can love ourselves and only
by loving ourselves are we capable of fulfilling the great
commission that God has given to us, "to love others
as you love yourself."
it becomes critical for us to constantly ask God's forgiveness
because we receive a constant bombardment of negative criticisms
upon ourselves. We are never rich enough, we are never good
looking enough, we're never strong enough, we're never thin
enough, fat enough, tall enough, short enough, and it doesn't
matter. We're never enough. No matter how much you have,
no matter how much you do, it will never be enough.
Because you will never find your comfort in life by looking
on the outside, you only find it on the inside.
are members of a denomination that has a historical background
which goes back hundreds of years. In the 16th
century, there was an educational tool that we written in
a German town called Heidelberg and the educational tool
is called The Heidelberg Catechism. Catechism is just a
fancy word for saying instruction manual. So it is
the Heidelberg Christian Education tool. It is a series
of questions and then there's an answer that follows. The
first question in The Heidelberg Catechism is: "What
is your only comfort in life and death?" Your
only comfort in life. Do you know what it is?
That I belong! That is how the answer starts. "That
I belong body and soul in life and in death, not to myself
but to my faithful Savior, Jesus Christ who at the cost
at His own blood has fully paid for all of my sins and has
completely freed me from the dominion of the devil; that
he protects me so well that without the will of my Father
in heaven, not a hair can fall from my head; indeed, that
everything must fit His purpose for my salvation.
Therefore, by His Holy Spirit, He also assures me of eternal
life, and makes me wholeheartedly willing, and ready from
now on to live for Him." 
Christ comes and answers our prayer of forgiveness and allows
us then to have the strength to forgive others. If you look
at the life of Christ and His teaching, we see that Jesus
always exemplified His word so what comes out of His mouth
you see in His actions. You see it in His teaching.
One day there was five thousand people on the hillsides.
They had come from all different regions. They were hungry
and they had no food and so He gathered all the food that
was available, all they found were five loaves and two small
fish. Jesus started dividing the bread. He divided the fish
and He divided the bread and passed it out to His apostles
and they passed it out to all the people and they kept passing
it, everybody was fed and everybody ate and everybody received
to the point they were full; and, when they were all full,
there were still 12 baskets of food left over. "Give
us this day our daily bread" and God fulfills His promise,
Jesus fulfills His promise that there is no one reading
this who has to be hungry today. You'll be fed spiritually,
enriched and nourished with the grace of Jesus Christ.
I ask you to accept the gift of Christ. Thank God for making
you the way you are, not the way you think you need to be
or the way you want to be or the way you should be or could
be, but the way you are. Exactly the way you are.
It's a prayer in which we say thank You God for today.
It is our way of saying forgive me for putting myself down.
Forgive me Lord for not having enough faith in You to realize
that when challenges come, You will provide a way of escape.
Yes Lord, I don't have to worry. You care for the
birds of the field, how much more don't You care for me.
So receive your nourishment now. Accept the grace
of Jesus Christ right now and pray with me.
God, I thank You, that You are filling my heart and my soul
with Your presence, with Your reality, with Your goodness,
with Your grace and so give me the faith, oh Lord, to believe
in You. When I fail, as surely I will, forgive me my sins
and allow me to open my heart and be gracious to others
and forgive those who have sinned against me. I thank You
Lord for fulfilling my every need, I love You, Amen.