Thursday, April 19, 2012
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The passenger across the aisle from me wasn't very happy. He was complaining to his seat mate on the plane about everything and complaining with a lot of profanity inserted, oh I'd say maybe like every third word. The man next to him was mostly listening as this shall we say colorfully spoken speaker cussed out his favorite baseball team, then the service on the plane and the clients he was working with.
In fact, I thought he might be religious from the number of times he mentioned the Lord, but well it wasn't really in the right context. He stopped to ask - more like demand I guess - a coffee refill from the flight attendant. And then as the attendant left, he said to his fellow passenger, "By the way, what do you do?" He was going to finally give him a chance to speak. What do you know? And his fellow passenger said, "Oh, I'm a minister."
Well, the expression on that man's face was a priceless combination of surprise and embarrassment, but he bounced back pretty quickly. The flight attendant returned right at that moment with his coffee, and this man said with an angelic smile, "God bless you!" Well, it was pretty put on, but it illustrated how quickly we change when we think we're in holy company.
I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "Leave Your Garbage at the Door."
Our word for today from the Word of God, well, it gives us familiar words from Matthew 6:9, reading out of the NIV. "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. Give us today our daily bread and forgive us our debts as we also have forgiven our debtors.'"
Now, you notice here that Jesus, in teaching us to pray, says that the point of entry into prayer is to say to God, "hallowed is Your Name." Hallowed is not an everyday idea to us; probably you've not heard anybody talk about hallowed things today. I looked it up in the Greek language that the Bible was written in, and the word hallowed is "hagiaso" in the Greek. It's used for objects that were reserved for sacred purposes in the Bible. For example, let's say there was a lamp that they designated just to be used in the temple, just for sacred ceremonies, only for holy purposes. That was hagiaso.
Whatever is hagiasoed (is that a word?) is elevated; it's treated with reverence. It's treated as if it's highly special. So, basically, we're supposed to begin praying by recognizing the specialness of God like this, "Father, there's no one in your category. There's no one like you, and I really am in the presence of absolute purity." Prayer begins by recognizing who you're talking to, not what you're asking for. And people clean up their act just because there's a minister around, like the guy on the plane.
Well, what about when you're in God's presence? You can't realize who God is without cleaning up your act. The first order of business is to go back over the last 24 hours in your prayer and expose those places where you've disappointed God; where you've disobeyed Him and confess it. Express your sadness over that sin.
All through the Bible we see this. In Nehemiah 1, his great prayer, he says, "Oh, great and awesome God, I confess our sins." Daniel 9 - another great prayer - he says, "Oh, great and awesome God, we have sinned." This prayer says, "hallowed be Your Name." And then very shortly after that it says, "Forgive us."
Maybe your prayers have become a little flat and powerless. Maybe there's a request without repentance, and there's praise without purity. See, we need to be saying to God, "Father, I know I'm in holy company. I can't be around You with this garbage."
You have an open invitation to God's Throne Room to call the King, your Father. But before you rush to petition the King, please leave your garbage at the door.