Wednesday, July 9, 2014
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It is just an unforgettable experience to visit the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere. Everywhere you go in Haiti there are children. Their needs are tremendous, and they're doing what they've got to do to try to meet some of those needs.
Now, they don't speak English, they speak French or Creole. But they do know a few words of English. The children that we met did know at least three words, and they used them over and over again. Swarms of children would surround us, assuming that we were Americans and so we were rich. And each one was saying those three words which almost came out as one, "Gimme money! Gimme money!" And they'd ask you over and over again. Now, there are some American kids who seem to have a similar vocabulary, limited as well when they communicate with their parents. It's very hard to build a relationship on that.
I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "Breaking the 'Gimme' Barrier."
Which brings us to our word for today from the Word of God which comes from Matthew chapter 6, beginning at verse 9, where Jesus says, "This, then, is how you should pray." He goes on to take us beyond what is our usual approach to prayer, which is not unlike those kids in Haiti, "Gimme money. Give me what I need." Jesus shows us how to pray beyond "gimme."
I think you're familiar with the prayer. "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. Forgive us our debts as we also forgive our debtors, and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil." I wonder if when God sees us coming He is saying, "Here he comes again with another 'gimme'. (Whatever it is.)" "Gimme me this; gimme me
that. Sure wish he/she knew how to say something else."
Maybe that's what a parent feels when most of what they hear from their son or their daughter is 'gimmes'. Jesus suggests a way to talk to God that breaks the "gimme" barrier and opens the way to a real prayer relationship. And I think we could boil it down to what I call five sentences for heaven. I suggest to new believers that they actually write a letter to God beginning with these sentences.
Sentence number one for a real relationship is praying, "I love you." For He says, "Our Father in heaven" that affectionate term God has asked us to call Him. Why don't you just start out saying, "Lord, I love You." And spend a little time just loving your Lord and telling Him some reasons you do.
Then He talks about "hallowed be Your name" as He reflects on all that God is and all that God has done. There's a sense of being awed by God and all He's done for them. Here's the second sentence, "Thank you for..." Review the last 24 hours and thank the Lord for some specific things He's done. Then thirdly, He says, "forgive us our debts." How about this, "Lord, I'm sorry for..."
See, the Bible says if you cherish sin in your heart the Lord will not hear you. Every time we pray we need to take out the garbage, confess our sin and say, "Lord, I am so sorry for these ways that I have displeased or hurt You."
And the fourth one is where we always like to get to, "Give us today our daily bread." Please, that's where you say, "Please." You make your requests. And you make them specific requests like daily bread. You are able to focus this awesome God on your personal need.
And then, finally, "Lord, I promise..." "Don't lead us into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one." In other words, "I want to live pure. I promise You, Lord, this is how I'm going to live today." And notice it says, "Give us today." This is a daily, updated every day prayer. "Today I love You because_____. "Today I thank You because _____." "Today I'm sorry because _____." "Today, Lord, I need_____." "Today, I promise _____." It's a beautiful way to pray, as you would expect from any model Jesus would give.
It's a great way to build a relationship with God beyond chasing a Father with endless "gimme" gimmes. This is prayer that takes you beyond just the pockets of your Father to your Father's heart. Isn't that where you really want to be?