Livin' On A Prayer

The Meaning of the Lord's Prayer

Livin' On A Prayer Part 1

January 3, 2021 • Whit Lewis, Senior Pastor

Ask yourself, "What is the one thing that keeps me from growing deeper in prayer?" Most Christians recognize and accept, at least intellectually, the need for and the importance of prayer. We know we need to pray. We ask people to pray for us. We say we’ll pray for other people. But for many and maybe even most Christians, there’s not really what we would call a vibrant prayer life. As Pastor Whit begins this series on The Lord's Prayer we will look at Why we ray, How NOT to pray and How we SHOULD pray. This is Part 1 of the series, Living on A Prayer from Matthew 6:5-15. An Open Invitation Matthew 6:5-15 WHY DO WE PRAY? • To express our complete dependency on God • To experience intimacy with God o Primary point of prayer is not to get something but to know someone • To enjoy the experience of participating with God HOW NOT TO PRAY? • Do not pray like the Hypocrites • Do not pray to Impress HOW DO WE PRAY? • Praise – “Our Father in Heaven” o Worship God for who He is • Repent – “Forgive us our debts” o Confess your sin and acknowledge your need for Jesus • Ask – “Give Us This Day” o Intercede for specific needs in your life and others’ • Yield – “Lead Me” o Surrender your life to following Jesus wherever and however He leads you

Livin' On A Prayer Part 2

January 10, 2021 • Whit Lewis, Senior Pastor

Is there anyone who cares about me? Is there anyone who knows my name? Is there anyone who watches over me? The Lord's Prayer answered these questions with a resounding, "YES!" In Part 2 of our Livin' on a Prayer series, Pastor Whit helps us see where to start, because "Every Prayer Begins Somewhere". The text for this message is found in Matthew 6:9 and Luke 15 There are three realities we can see in Matthew 6:9 1. Our – The Existence of Community • Meaning: I do not pray alone 2. Father – The Existence of Family • Meaning: I am not left alone 3. Our Father in Heaven – The Existence of Authority • Meaning: I do not struggle alone

Livin' On A Prayer Part 3

January 17, 2021 • Whit Lewis, Senior Pastor

Ask yourself, "What is the one thing that keeps me from growing deeper in prayer?" Most Christians recognize and accept, at least intellectually, the need for and the importance of prayer. We know we need to pray. We ask people to pray for us. We say we’ll pray for other people. But for many and maybe even most Christians, there’s not really what we would call a vibrant prayer life. As Pastor Whit begins this series on The Lord's Prayer we will look at Why we ray, How NOT to pray and How we SHOULD pray. This is Part 1 of the series, Living on A Prayer from Matthew 6:5-15. An Open Invitation Matthew 6:5-15 WHY DO WE PRAY? • To express our complete dependency on God • To experience intimacy with God o Primary point of prayer is not to get something but to know someone • To enjoy the experience of participating with God HOW NOT TO PRAY? • Do not pray like the Hypocrites • Do not pray to Impress HOW DO WE PRAY? • Praise – “Our Father in Heaven” o Worship God for who He is • Repent – “Forgive us our debts” o Confess your sin and acknowledge your need for Jesus • Ask – “Give Us This Day” o Intercede for specific needs in your life and others’ • Yield – “Lead Me” o Surrender your life to following Jesus wherever and however He leads you

Livin' On A Prayer Part 4

January 24, 2021 • Whit Lewis, Senior Pastor

The kingdom of God is not a matter of geography; it's a matter of the heart Living With a Kingdom Mindset: 1. The Kingdom of God was the central issue of Jesus' ministry • Matthew 4:17 “From that time on Jesus began to preach, “Repent, the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” • Matthew 4:23 “Jesus went throughout Galilee . . . preaching the good news of the kingdom.” • Luke 4:43 “I must preach the good news of the kingdom of God . . . for that is why I was sent.” • Luke 17:21 “The kingdom of God is in your midst.” • John 18:36-37 “My kingdom is not of this world . . . my kingdom is from another place . . . You are right in saying I am a king. In fact, for this reason I was born, and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone on the side of truth listens to me.” Jesus came to establish a new society on earth. This society would be made up of men and women who are fully dedicated to doing the will of God. 2. The Kingdom of God is the only thing that will last forever If you decide to live by earthly values, you will receive an earthly reward. If you decide to live by kingdom values, you will receive a kingdom reward. The difference is this. Living by earthly values produces earthly rewards that pay off quicker and disappear faster; living by kingdom values produces kingdom rewards. They don’t usually come as quickly, but they last forever. 3. The Kingdom of God gives meaning to all of history Praying “Your kingdom comes” links us with the faithful of all ages who have surveyed the wreckage of a fallen world and concluded that there must be something better than this. “Your kingdom come” is the central petition of the Lord’s Prayer. You are praying that God’s whole program for human history might succeed and that Satan’s counter-kingdom might be destroyed. 4. The Kingdom of God gives purpose to earthly life If you ever decide to make the kingdom of God the first priority in your life, you may not become a missionary, but you will become fundamentally different from the world around you. Ways to pray, "Your Kingdom come." • For Your Life: You enter the kingdom by asking the Lord Jesus to become King in your life. So, we must ask a crucial question. Are you in the kingdom of God? The answer must always be yes or no. You enter the kingdom through simple faith in King Jesus. But-and note this carefully!-you enter individually and personally. No one else can enter for you. It requires a definite decision on your part. Without that definite decision, you will not even “see” the kingdom of God (John 3:5). So, we begin there. Are you in the kingdom of God? If the answer is yes, then you pray a prayer like this every day: “Lord Jesus, may your kingdom come in my life today. May your values predominate my thinking and my decision-making. May your cause in the world be advanced by the things I say and do. Help me to do your will all through this day.” There’s no magic in that prayer, but properly understood, it is a revolutionary way to pray. Make no mistake. If you mean those words, God will take you up on your offer to become a “kingdom person.” Don’t pray like this if you intend to stay the way you are. • For Your Family That means praying for your wife, your husband and your children that they too would become kingdom people. This includes praying for your extended family and even for the spouses that your children and grandchildren will one day marry. • For Your Church The church is to be a model of that “great society” God is building. Even the best church will fall far short of the ideal. But why not pray for your pastor, for the staff, for deacons, and for your community group, that they will be completely committed to kingdom values? Pray for the congregation, that men and women would set aside their own agendas. Differences of opinion are good and healthy, but sometimes we can get so fixated on our own ideas, that we destroy the unity of the Spirit in our desire to get our own plans implemented. Pray that your church will become an attractive community of kingdom people-an outpost of light in an ever-darkening world. • For Your World It’s true that the kingdom will never come until the King himself returns to the earth. Yet the kingdom of God “comes” in a spiritual sense as men and women surrender their lives to King Jesus. So we are praying “May your kingdom come in hearts and lives today and may the King himself quickly return.” While you are at it, pray for the kingdom to come in your community, your state, your nation, and finally throughout the world. Kingdom prayer: “Lord change the world. Begin, I pray, with me.”

Livin' On A Prayer, Part 5

January 31, 2021 • Whit Lewis, Senior Pastor

What is the one thing that keeps you from growing deeper in prayer? Why do we pray? 1. To express our complete dependency on God • The reason we don’t pray is not because we’re too busy, but because we’re too confident. 2. To experience intimacy with God • The primary point of prayer is not to get something but to know Someone 3. To enjoy the experience of participating with God • Prayer is a means God has given us to participate with Him in what He is doing in the world. • The word Our reminds us that we do not pray alone but in fellowship with God’s people scattered around the world. • We pray to our Father who loved us and gave his Son for our salvation. • We affirm that Our Father is in heaven where he reigns supreme over the entire universe. • We ask that God’s name be honored by the way we live so that others will look at us and give glory to our Father in heaven. • We are praying both for the King and the Kingdom to come and while we wait, we pray for courage to be “Kingdom People” who reflect the values of the world to come. • We pray for God’s will to be done even if it means that our will is not done. • We pray for our daily bread because we depend completely on the Lord for what we need, and we share what we have with others because God has blessed us so richly. • We pray that our debts might be forgiven because we are sinners in thought, word and deed. • We forgive our debtors, knowing that we cannot have fellowship with the Father while we harbor bitterness in our hearts toward others. • We pray that God will not lead us into temptation because we realize our weakness and we know that without God’s help, we will lose the battle every time. • We put on the armor of God by faith, asking God to deliver us from the evil one. • Because we believe that Yours is the kingdom, we eagerly anticipate the day when the kingdoms of the earth will give way to the kingdom of the Lord Jesus Christ. • Because we believe that Yours is the power, we do not give up in the face of difficult trials but instead live in faith that the Lord has a purpose and will give us whatever we need to face the challenges of each day. • Because we believe that Yours is the glory, we have chosen to live for God instead of for the praise of men. • We confidently believe that these things are true forever. Therefore, we say Amen, so be it, Lord. What Difference Will It Make? Let’s start a “Lord’s Prayer” movement in the body of Longview Heights. How much richer we would be if God’s people would make this prayer central in their lives. How much stronger this church would be if all of us would pray this prayer every day. How much deeper our walk with God would be if we grasped what this prayer is saying to us. We would have more joy, more power, more strength, more wisdom, more of all the things we so desperately need.

Livin' On A Prayer, Part 6

February 7, 2021 • Whit Lewis, Senior Pastor

Question: What is the hardest prayer you will ever pray? Answer: The one that you don't want to happen. By praying, "Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven." we are asking God to overturn our own will. What does it mean to pray, "Your will be done."? 1. Praying “Your will be done” means I must give up control A. God has a plan (or desire) for your life/family life B. But you also have a plan (or desire) for your life/family life C. When you pray “Your will be done,” your are asking that his will take precedence over your will. 2. Praying “Your will be done” means I must trust God even when my plan is not done - Does God Know My Name? Millions of people, including millions of apparently loyal churchgoers, secretly wonder, even though they believe there is a God, is there a God who cares for me? - He Bowed His Head And Died. And God said, “Do you still wonder if I love you?” Look to the cross. Gaze on the Son of God. Ponder the meaning of Golgotha. Who is that crucified on Calvary’s tree? His name is Jesus. Study his face. See the wounds in his hands, his feet, his side. Was it not for you that he died? Do you still doubt that God loves you? 3. Praying “Your will be done” means I must accept that personal pain and suffering may be part of God’s plan • Matthew 26:39, “Going a little farther, he fell facedown and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.” These are not the words of unbelief. They are words of faith. They are the words of a man who understands fully what it will cost to do the will of God. If it was difficult for Jesus to pray “Your will be done,” is it likely to be any easier for us? 4. Praying “Your will be done” means I must be an obedient participant Too many things that go on are obviously not God’s will. • Killing the unborn is not God’s will. • Homosexuality is not God’s will. • The rising tide of divorce is not God’s will. • Single moms raising children is not God’s will. • Pastors committing adultery is not God’s will. • Rampant pornography is not God’s will. • Nuclear warfare is not God’s will. • Ethnic cleansing is not God’s will. • Racial prejudice is not God’s will. • Serial killings are not God’s will. • Greed, graft and corruption are not God’s will. Sometimes it seems as if God has gone to sleep and Satan has taken over. God does not accept the status quo! “Your will be done” is an act of God-ordained rebellion. This is not a prayer for the weak or the timid. This is a prayer for troublemakers and rabblerousers. It is a prayer that leads necessarily on to action. If you see injustice being done, you cannot blithely pray “Your will be done,” and then walk away. If you really mean “Your will be done,” you’ve got to jump into the fray and help make it happen. Far to many of us go through life with a clenched fist, trying to control the uncontrollable, trying to mastermind all the circumstances, trying to make our plans work. So we hold tightly to the things we value-our career, our reputation, our temporarily happiness, our health, our children, our education, our wealth, our possessions, even our mates. We even hold tightly to life itself. But those things we hold so tightly never really belonged to us. They always belonged to God. He loaned them to us and when the time comes, he will take them back again. A Simple Prayer Here’s a simple prayer that may help you loosen your grip on the things with which you are struggling: Father, may your will be done in my life. Nothing more Nothing less Nothing else

Livin' On A Prayer, Part 7

February 14, 2021 • Whit Lewis, Senior Pastor

As we reach this part of The Lord's Prayer we see a turning point in the text. A close look at the prayer reveals two aspects in the first and second halves to note: 1. In the first half we see the word "Your" - "Your name", "Your kingdom", "Your will". 2. In the second half of the prayer we see the word "us" - "Give us", "forgive us", "lead us". God And Your Problems In the second half of this prayer God is brought directly into the very tiniest details of our everyday lives. Why? Because the God of this universe cares about everything you are involved in. As we look at the second half of the prayer we learn that it contains three petitions: 1. "Our daily bread" 2. "Forgive us our debts" 3. "Lead us not into temptation" These three things cover provision, pardon, and protection. The Lord's Prayer is so much more than just a ritual prayer to recite or a model prayer to follow. If we understand it in it's breadth, everything we that we can legitimately pray about is contained either in the first half or the second half of this great prayer. Daily Bread For Daily Needs It means “for this very day,” or “for the day that is about to come Two conclusions from these two points: 1. The fact that Jesus mentions bread teaches us that material things do not lie outside the realm of prayer 2. Jesus is teaching us the importance of moment by moment, complete dependence upon God for the things that we need. What is daily bread dependence? There are 4 qualities that need to be present in our lives in order for this prayer request to become a reality. 1. Daily Bread Dependence is Gratitude (to God for all His blessings) We learn that everything we have comes from God. The clothes, the food, the friendships, the education, the mind we use, the words we speak, everything comes from God. Surely this must be the central teaching-that gratitude to God is to mark our lives and we’re to be grateful to God for all he’s done. - Deuteronomy 8:10 "When you have eaten and are satisfied, praise the Lord your God for the good land he has given you." - 1 Chronicles 29:14 David says, "But who am I and who are my people that we should be able to give as generously as this? Everything comes from you and we have given you only what comes from your hand." Everything of value that you possess comes in one way or another from the hand of Almighty God. - Psalm 90:12 "So teach us to number our days that we may apply our hearts to wisdom" 2. Daily Bread Dependence is Contentment (with what God has already provided) We should pray for our needs, not our greeds. We are to pray and ask God for what we really need, not for every wild desire that comes into our mind. 3. Daily Bread Dependence is Confidence (that God will meet my daily needs day by day) See Exodus 16 as God provided each day only what the children of Israel needed for that day. God wants us to learn that daily dependence and sometimes allows circumstances in our lives to remind us to do that. Uncertainties in life like illness, job loss, collapse of an empire you established. These things can happen so quickly. Sometimes a reason God can allow these things to happen is to move us away from self-sufficiency to God-sufficiency, from self-reliance to God-reliance, from trusting our own ability to trusting God alone. Do we then avoid planning ahead? Of course not! You should plan ahead. You should NOT worry ahead. Daily bread dependence means taking life one day at a time and being confident that God will take care of your needs day by day by day. 4. Daily Bread Dependence is Generosity (towards those around you) The use of the word "our" in "Give us this day OUR daily bread" indicates that we do not pray this prayer alone, but in concert with our fellow brothers and sisters. We all eat from the same table. What you have is loaned to you that you might give it to other people. To say "OUR Daily Bread" is to see a world of needy and hurting people. Gratitude. Contentment. Confidence. Generosity. That’s what Daily Bread dependence is all about. If you pray this prayer enough, that’s where you’ll end up. It’s not a bad place to be. The heart of gratitude comes from realizing that God alone is the source of all our blessings. Gracious Father, teach us to trust you more and more. When we are tempted to do it ourselves, bring us down to the place where we must cry out for your help. Forgive us for living as if we were God and you are not. We thank you for giving us exactly what we need, when we need it, not a moment too soon, and not moment too late. Having received so much from you, we ask one thing more. Give us grateful hearts. Amen.

Livin' on a Prayer, Part 8

February 21, 2021 • Whit Lewis, Senior Pastor

God our Father loves us, His children, though He doesn't love our messes. And when He recognizes our messes he doesn't let us stay there and wallow in it. Just like an attentive parent would change a dirty diaper, God seeks to clean us up from our messes. In this message Whit takes a closer look at Matthew 6:12 of the Lord's Prayer and the phrase, "And forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors." We all struggle with two parts of forgiveness. 1. Forgiving ourselves and believing that we are forgiven by God. 2. Forgiving others and being haunted by the consequences of not forgiving others. The Major Understanding of Forgiveness: In this context the scripture speaks of forgiveness in comparison to a financial debt. In Jesus' day people were imprisoned for unpaid debts. Debt was considered a serious offense with equally serious punishment. To be forgiven of a debt was considered an act of extravagant mercy. Forgiveness is like that. It is the decision to no longer credit the offense against the offender’s tab, to no longer credit the offense that the person has done to God or that they have done to you, to no longer, place that offense on their account, to no longer charge them for it. Why must I pursue forgiveness if I’m already a Christian and thus I’ve already been forgiven by God? Great question! There are two types of forgiveness mentioned in this instance: 1. Judicial Forgiveness (Greek word Charizomai) Legal forgiveness or judicial forgiveness has to do with being forgiven for the penalty of a crime or of a sin. When you trusted Jesus Christ, you were legally forgiven. In the courtroom of heaven, the slate was wiped clean when you were born again. It was not only wiped clean of your past sins, it was wiped clean of your present sins. It was wiped clean of your future sin, so that sin can never come up with regard to your relational standing with God. That’s one of the reasons you can’t lose your salvation. The reason you can’t lose your salvation is that sin can never be brought up in relationship to your salvation. 2. Relational Forgiveness (Greek word aphiemi) This goes back to the phrase, "our Father". The Lord’s prayer is not dealing with God as a judge, it’s dealing with God as a father. He is our Father, and while you may be legally free in terms of your status with God as a son or daughter, that does not mean you are relationally free with God as a father. While the legal issue is settled once and for all, when you come to Christ, the relational issue has to be settled regularly. The Manner of Forgiveness (Matthew 18:15-35) This account is the parable of the two debtors which illustrates this issue of being forgiven and forgiving others. We see in this illustration the importance of forgiving others because God has forgiven us. If we realize that God has forgiven us ALL our debts, then we cannot reasonably refuse to show that same grace towards others. If we DO refuse to forgive — then it demonstrates that we never really comprehended the grace of God at all. So Jesus says we are to pray to forgive others “JUST AS” we have been forgiven. That means that we are to forgive others: • Graciously - that is, when THEY do not deserve it; just like we didn’t! • Freely - that is, you don’t make them “earn” it, or “pay for it” in some way; just like you didn’t! • Deeply - no matter how great the hurt, you still forgive; just like God forgave our worst sins! • Repeatedly - that is, you do it every time. 70 x 7 — “JUST AS” God forgives the sins you commit over and over — you forgive them that same way too! The Marks of Forgiveness: We also see in this illustration two marks of forgiveness 1. Negative = Discipline Why did the king throw the slave into prison? It was not to repay his original debt. The king had already forgiven him of that debt. What he owed the king was forgiveness of the other slave who owed him. Just the same for us, what we owe God is not for the sin that we have already been forgiven of. What we owe God is to forgive others as He has forgiven us. God will discipline the believer who seeks forgiveness and is unwilling to grant it. He does it as a father. He’s a father. And don’t you do that to your children? Don’t you teach your children to forgive one another? 2. Positive = Peace The positive consequences are awesome. You will experience forgiveness and peace of mind. There is so much stress, discouragement, and depression because you don’t forgive. You know what forgiveness does? It allows people to move past failure. It means every time I see you I don’t have to be reminded about my failure. Forgiveness allows people to move on. Jesus’ words on forgiveness are clear. Without forgiving others we will not be forgiven. “To be a Christian means to forgive the inexcusable (in others), because God has forgiven the inexcusable in you.” ~ C.S. Lewis

Livin' On A Prayer, Part 9

February 28, 2021 • Whit Lewis, Senior Pastor

When we sincerely pray, "Forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors," we will surely become a target for the enemy. The next line of The Lord's Prayer is vital as we pray to the Lord for protection. "Do not bring us into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one". The heart of this request is for divine protection. It is asking God to protect you as part of your prayer life. 1. Purposes of the Petition The greek word, "peirasmos" can be translated as "trial" or "temptation" has two uses, a negative use and a positive use depending on intent and context. - God brings trials into the life of a believer to develop him or her. Much like one would lift weights to build muscles. Lifting weights can be difficult and even painful but the result is a stronger body. The trials that God brings us through serve to strengthen us spiritually, to cause us to grow in our relationship with God. - Satan brings "temptations" into your life with the intent of destruction. - Notice the positive purpose of trials - James 1:2-4 James says, "consider it great joy when you experience various trials". Various here means multi-colored. It represents the idea that we will face trials of different levels and intensities. Why should we count it all joy when we come into God ordained trials? Because it's always for our own development. That is GOOD NEWS! We're not joyful about the pain of the trial but we ARE joyful about the PURPOSE of the trial. - Notice the negative purpose of trials - James 1:13-15 When you are tempted to do wrong, at that point your own flesh has entered the picture to entice you with what God has intended as a trial to grow you, while the enemy wants to use it as an attempt to harm you. Satan wants to take the opportunities God gives you for development and turn them into opportunities for destruction. That's the enemy's negative purpose to bring sin and defeat rather than righteousness and victory. See Matthew 4 where God sent Jesus into the wilderness by the Spirit to be tempted by the devil. The devil attempted to destroy God's purpose by tempting Jesus with things to entice his flesh. It was the same event being used by God to test Jesus and by Satan to destroy him. The issue becomes how we respond to these trials and temptations. 2. Process of Protection What does God do? See 1 Corinthians 10:13 "“No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it.” - Hear this, God is faithful! You need to understand that God is faithful. You can count on Him when this happens. When you face a trial in life on or solved from the devil, God is what? Faithful means dependable, bankable every single time. - God limits the extent All of the temptations that come our way are controlled by God. He limits how far Satan can go. God is faithful in this. You might think, "Well, I don't feel that way." Please know that the issue here is God's faithfulness, not our feelings. Whenever our feelings and God's faithfulness clash we must recognize that our feelings will lie to us!" - God provides the escape God will show you a way out, a detour, a way to escape the temptation. There is always a road out because God is always faithful! God says, even in the pain of the trial, look for Me. I’ll show you the detour. Isn’t that what James 1:5 says? If any man lacks wisdom, that means I can’t see it. I know there is a road here somewhere, but I can’t see it. God will give you the wisdom to see the road and take the route that you might endure it to the lesson being learned. 3. Prayer of Protection Why pray this prayer? - God is a delivering God • When Peter was in prison and the church prayed, God is a delivering God. • When Esther was faced with death and the death of the Jewish people and she prayed, God is a delivering God. • When Daniel was about to go in the lion’s den and he prayed, God is a delivering God. • David all through the Psalms says He delivered me from peril. He delivered me from persecution. He delivered me from famine. He delivered me from this. He delivered me from my enemies. He keeps talking about this delivering God. The sacrificial work of Jesus upon the cross is the ultimate delivering. I was dead in sin, headed to an eternity in hell separated from Him. Jesus took on our sin so that we may be delivered into His righteousness.

Virtual Prayer Experience

This experience is intended for anyone to participate. You can participate as an individual, as a couple, or as a whole family. Parents, we encourage you to guide your children through each prayer step as we go. We are about to journey together through 7 stages or phrases of The Lord’s Prayer. For each phrase there will be an activity for you to complete using the materials you’ve gathered. Take time to reflect on each phrase of the prayer and be open to the work that God wants to do in your heart through each stage.