Last week, I taught first phrase of the Lord’s Prayer, which is, “Our Father, Who art in heaven hallowed be Thy name.” Praise. Praising God. Beginning your prayers and living your day by praying with a God can do anything attitude. Focusing on who it is we are praying to. And this whole idea of praise can transform your life. Now this is the model prayer that Jesus taught us and we don’t have to do it all the time and say it, this is not something legalistic, but boy I have found that when I start my day praying this way, it really, really has transformed my life.
So beginning my day with praise, talking to my Heavenly Father, focusing on whom that heavenly Father is. He is a Father who is all knowing, all loving, all powerful. He can do anything. He is a Father who knows best. And so now that we have praised God, we can give Him permission to do with our life as He will. I’m not going to give permission to just anybody. But I will give permission, I will submit my life, a hundred percent of my life to my heavenly Father and only my heavenly Father. So you see what Jesus was trying to teach us was to begin with praise. Our Father, Who art in heaven hallowed be Your name. I thank You God for this. I praise You God for this. And that’s how I begin my prayers and begin my day.
And then we continue today with the second part, “Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” The kingdom of God, the kingdom that Jesus Christ came to establish was a kingdom, a spiritual kingdom, a spiritual kingdom that is in heaven and Jesus came to show us that that same kingdom can be yours and mine. We can live in the kingdom of heaven here on earth. That when we say to Him, “Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven,” it is possible to live a heavenly life on earth. And we all know when we go through life and we go through our day that it’s not always heavenly. It’s full of conflict. There are those negative emotions, the fears, jealousies, anger and I would dare say that the majority of that conflict that we encounter is what I would call a clashing of wills. A clashing of wills. And so I’m going to demonstrate because I believe that it’ll help you remember. Make a little sticky and this week when you’re finding yourself irritable, negative, fearful, resentful, that maybe you’ll remember Sheila and her rope. And you’ll say oh! This is just a clashing of the wills.
So I asked my husband for a rope. If I had brought it, it would have been a little string and this is the rope my husband got me. Okay, the first conflict of wills, I would dare say; these aren’t necessarily in order, it’s just the way I’m presenting them, is between me and me, or between you and you. You don’t think you have internal tug of wars? Oh yes we do. Okay, here I am. I wake up in the morning; this one is a common one for me. I’m going to go to the gym and work out, do the whole thing, not just cardio and skip out on the weight resistance. I’m so tired. I didn’t sleep well. I think I’ll just stay in bed. No, I’m going to go and work out because you know that this is good for you. Oh but I’m so tired. I’ll go tomorrow. Anybody do anything similar to that kind of tug of war or is it just me? All right. Here’s another one. Today I’m going to eat healthy. No junk, no sugar, no refined carbs. Just fresh fruit. Berries, egg white omelets. Oh, look at that delicious scone as I’m standing there in Starbuck’s. It calls my name. Oh I can smell the cinnamon wafting right over here. I can go on my diet tomorrow, can’t I? Sheila, you made a vow this morning. But it tastes so good. It’s just a hundred calories. Not its not, its two hundred calories. Oh my gosh! I’m doing this, right? Whew. Now, did I make much progress? Did you see me move anywhere? Accomplish anything great? No, I was stuck. Stuck. Got no where because of a clashing of wills with myself. And that’s part of the problem with clashing of wills is we don’t make progress and we’re stuck.
Let me show you another one. Those were humorous but this one is something that we all do all the time, too. To do something great for God, wow. But what if I fail and people see me and I’m nothing but a big fat failure? But what about the people who won’t be helped? But there are other people out there who can do it. God doesn’t need me. The harvest is plentiful, the laborers are few. All those negative emotions can get in the way of us being and doing, making progress. We remain stuck through a clashing of wills first within ourselves, me and me or you and you.
So I’m just going to pretend that you’re my employer, okay? And I’m going to go to her and I’m going to say, I want a raise! I want a raise. I can’t make ends meet. Will you give me a raise? Why not? Because of the economy? Now you pull, now you’re supposed to pull. Okay, you’re pulling me, oh she’s not going to give me my raise. But I can’t afford to work for you (oh sorry) anymore.
Okay, has anybody had any kind of tug of wars like this with their employer? Or maybe it’s a family member, all right. Now I’m going to pretend you’re one of my son’s, all right? Let’s see, the first born is here today, so I won’t use his name. Okay Nicholas, I need you to clean your room. Will you clean your room? Tomorrow? That’s too late. You need to clean it today. I can’t even get in there to vacuum.
Okay, any of you have any conflicts, tug of wars with your family members? Nobody? Oh yes. How about with spouses? There are people that are in relationships today who are stuck because of a clashing of wills. And today, through the Lord’s Prayer, you’re going to learn how to get unstuck. The bottom line is we have a tug of war going on with God. Okay, I wake up this morning, and I have this wonderful dream. God, will you bless my dream? This is my will. Aren’t You going to bless my dream? It’s for You. I want to do this wonderful thing for You. Come on, come on, come on. Boy he’s not budging. Come on God, I’ve asked You for permission. I’ve asked You for permission. Come on. He’s not going to move an inch. What am I doing wrong? Okay, just forget You then and I’m just going to do it my own way. And I’m just going to be.. and oh my goodness, I’m all tied up in knots now. That’s not working either. My life is a mess. Come on God, come on. I’ve been praying to You, I’ve been asking for You and nothing, nothing. Wait a minute: Thy kingdom, Thy will be done. Oh Thy will, not my will. Is that right? Oh. So I jumped the gun instead of having it be my idea, I should have stopped and asked You what Your idea was? Oh. So instead of asking You for permission, I’m supposed to give You permission. Okay. But what if I give You permission, what if I say to You what do You want me to do, God, and what if You saying something, You tell me do something I don’t want to do. Oh that’s right, I’ve already praised You and I know You’re a good Heavenly Father, and a Heavenly Father always knows what’s best. Okay. I will say because I’ve praised You, and I know You love me, I will pray this prayer: Thy will be done. Thy will be done.
Okay, all those clashes of wills within me and me, all those clashes of wills between me and Thee and all those clashes of wills between me and my heavenly Father. And if it starts with praising Him, knowing what a great God He is, how loving He is. I can trust Him with my life. So after I’ve praised Him in the Lord’s Prayer, “Our Father, Who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name.” A wonderful, wonderful Lord. Hallowed be Your name. “Thy kingdom come, Thy will” not mine, “Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” So do you want to continue to live your life stuck in a clash of wills? In a tug of war where you pull people away from you or you push people away from you? Or are you willing to say not my will but Thine be done and live it every single moment of the day, as long as it comes to your memory, and that’s what happens, is you begin to pray the Lord’s Prayer every day, suddenly you notice and you recognize oh I’m not happy, I’m irritable, I’m fearful, I’m afraid to step out because I’ve taken my eyes off the Lord and I’ve put them on me. I’ve taken my eyes off of what God can do, how I can give to the world instead of what I can get from the world. That is what Thy will be done means.
So okay, once we’ve submitted and we’ve given God our life, and we say okay Lord, You can have Your way with me, how will we know? Because you won’t have, God will not be looking in the shape of you, looking at you, giving you nods and shaking of heads. That doesn’t happen, but you do have God’s word. You do have Jesus Christ and God does reveal His will to you through His word and through His Son, Jesus Christ.
When I was a little girl, my dad taught me this prayer. “God, what are You up to today? I want to be a part of it, amen.” Do you guys want to say that prayer with me? Ready? “Good morning God, what are You up today? I want to be a part of it.” Do you see? That’s a really good prayer because it’s not like I said good morning, God, here’s what I’m up to today. I want You to be a part of it. That’s backwards. It’s what are You up to? And so just that simple, just that little prayer, asking Him and He will begin to reveal His will for you.
In Philippians 2:13, it says, “It is God at work within you, giving you the will and the power to achieve His purposes.” That’s God’s will for you, to achieve His purposes in your life, moment by moment, day by day.
Well when I was graduated from college, and working here at the Crystal Cathedral Ministries, I was single. And I was beginning to be afraid I might just be an old maid. And back in my generation, that was not such a cool thing to be an old maid. And I was beginning to think did God ever have somebody for me? And I began to pray because I wanted to know what God’s will for me was. And one day I was up in the mountains, I was sitting on a rock and I opened up my bible and I was in Psalm 37 and I was reading verse 4 and it just jumped right out at me, and it said, “Commit your way to the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart.” Whew. How many of you would like to have the desires of your heart granted? Well you can. It’s right there in the bible. It’s a promise. But there’s a real strong caveat to it, which is “commit your way to the Lord.” When we’ve said Thy will be done, I commit my life to You Lord, a hundred percent. Then what happens is your desires become God’s desires, meaning God’s desires become your desires, they become one. I no longer have Sheila desires; I have God desires in my heart. But that only comes because I’ve committed my way to Him.
So do you think God is in the process of not granting His own desires? No. He wants to grant His desires, so my prayer at that point in my life was okay Lord; I commit my life to You. And if You want me to get married someday, so be it. Right now, I feel the desire to be married someday, to be a wife and a mother. But if that is not Your desire, I pray You’ll take the desire from me so that all circumstances of life I can be content. And that was my prayer.
Well it was several years later that I met Jim Coleman. He came to work here at our ministry. And he was a party boy. And he was not considered a committed Christian. He had not committed his way to the Lord. In fact, when he first started working here, somebody called my dad and said ‘Dr. Schuller, you know that man Jim Coleman that you just hired, I want you to know he’s not a Christian.’ And my dad said ‘well I can’t think of a better place for a non-Christian than church, can you?’ Go dad, whew! So Jim worked here and we worked along side by side, so we were just friends. And two years later, Jim gave his life to Jesus Christ and he changed and grew before my eyes.
Four years later, four years we’ve been friends, two years with Jim as a non Christian and two years with Jim as a Christian. And then one day he said something to me and I thought man, he’s really become a man of God. And just then, I felt my heart go bump bump, bump bump. I thought uh oh, you know, four years of working side by side and no bump bump, bump bumps, I was thinking what kind of future is there in this? But I prayed about it and I said Lord, if this is of You and only of You, then You will make this happen. And I won’t have to do it. I won’t have to be involved and do any kind of manipulations. What?
So any rate, so Jim and I did start to date and then he was starting to think should I propose to Sheila. Is Sheila the one? Is she supposed to be my wife? And so Jim did this, he didn’t tell me and I’m so glad he didn’t because I’m not so sure how I would have reacted. I’m glad I didn’t know. But he actually decided, he wanted to know God’s will, was Sheila the one. So he said okay Lord, he said if Sheila’s the one, on Friday at noon, my friend Toby will come walking into my office. He didn’t have an appointment with him or anything like that or any work that he was doing with Toby, he said, noon, Friday Toby will come walking into my office. How would you feel if that was your boyfriend? A little nervous.
Well at noon on Friday, the handle of the door turned, the door opened and Toby walked into Jim’s office. Jim jumped out of his chair, he said Toby do you know what this means? Do you know what this means? I am eternally grateful for Toby! You know, I wouldn’t have had my husband, my love and I wouldn’t have had my four wonderful sons if it weren’t for Toby, but God made His will known. He revealed His will.
When your will is God’s will, or when God’s will is your will, then all will be well. Let me say that one more time. When your will is God’s will, or when God’s will is your will, than all will be well.
So stand with me now. We’re going to practice doing the Lord’s Prayer. The first two steps of it, all right? I want you all to stand unless you’re physically not able to. And now I want you take your hands and put them up in the air and I always wonder why people are afraid to do this in church. I don’t get it. I know we all wear deodorant. I just don’t get it. Okay? So put your hands up in the air. This is a posture of praise. It doesn’t have to be but it is one. Lift your eyes up to the heavens and repeat after me with the same gusto that you did earlier. Our Father who art in heaven (our Father who art in heaven) hallowed be Your name (hallowed be Your name). Thank You Lord for this beautiful day (thank You Lord for this beautiful day). Thank You Lord for loving me (Thank You Lord for loving me). Thank You Lord for being such a mighty, powerful God (Thank You Lord for being such a mighty, powerful God). Thank You Lord for being a part of my life (Thank You Lord for being a part of my life).
Okay now take those hands; stay standing, that’s praise. Okay? And we begin by praising God; we begin by focusing on Him. He’s a God who can do anything. He is a God, He’s a father who knows best. So we can trust Him. So take your hands now, because this is a posture of openness. It’s not gripping onto our life, but its opening it up to the Lord in a posture of submission and repeat after me. Thy Kingdom come (Thy kingdom come) Thy will be done (Thy will be done) on earth as it is in heaven (on earth as it is in heaven). Continue to repeat after me. Lord, (Lord) I give permission to do Your will in my life (I give permission to do Your will in my life). I commit my life, my will to You (I commit my life, my will to You). As a result, I know (as a result, I know) that the desires in my heart (that the desires in my heart) are Your desires (are Your desires). I trust that You are working within me (I trust that You are working within me) to do Your will (to do Your will) and Your purpose (and Your purpose), Amen (amen).