TimLivi 08-08-121 

Living the Lord's Prayer


David Timms

Bethany House, 2008, 238 pp., ISBN 978-0-7642-0506-4



David Timms chairs the Graduate Ministry Department at Hope International University in Fullerton, California.  He has been a church planter, pastor and trainer of pastors for twenty-five years. 



"Jesus lays out what we commonly call the Lord's Prayer, and in it He provides the greatest Christian teaching of the centuries on spiritual formation."  "More than a prayer, the Lord's Prayer outlines the most fundamental features of the deeper Christian life." (20)  "The Prayer has the capacity to remold our lives entirely." (21) 


Chapter 1.  Our - Committing to Community

"People may have six hundred friends on Facebook and email twenty-five people a day, but rarely discuss matters of personal importance."  (26)


"Society speaks to our ability to organize ourselves as a group of people.  Community speaks to our connectedness to one another.  Society refers to structures and systems.  Community refers to relationships." (26)  "In short, we have generally failed to build community and, instead, settled for society.  The upshot of this failure is social isolation." (27) 


"Our…speaks of a shared experience and a shared ownership." 


Grace can only flourish when it encounters offence; "forgiveness requires conflict; healing emerges from hurt; and strength arises from struggle.  Thus, the pathway to true spiritual formation demands long-term engagement with others in community." (30)


"When productivity becomes the driving force of our own lives, we begin to view and evaluate other people in terms of their productivity.  Without even realizing it, we value people not as human beings but as workers or performers.  We grow blind to their humanity and see them, basically, as machinery." (32)  "Future historians will undoubtedly earmark our age for its glaring depersonalization." (33)


"As long as results trump relationships, we embrace the cultural shift from human beings to human machinery.  And in the process, we deny the most fundamental reality of our humanity; that we are made in the image of God--the Lover, the Friend, the Relational One." (34)


"Our binds us together.  It becomes the glue between all believers." (40)



Chapter 2.  Father - Experiencing Love and Security

"Father.  In Aramaic the term is Abba, a term of intimacy and respectful familiarity, a word of belonging and connection, of family and protection, and of love." (43)  "Father denotes intimacy.  In a healthy family environment--even in ancient Israel--a father's love formed the center of the household." (45)


"When we call God Father, we affirm something very foundational about Him and about us.  He protects and nurtures us as His beloved children.  His Fatherhood and our childhood are opposite sides of the same coin." (46)


"The security that empowers us to be servant-leaders has to do with our being the beloved of our Father." (52)  "And each time we utter the word Father in the Prayer, that name opens the door of our fear and insecurity and invites us outside to freedom." (56)


Chapter 3.  In the Heavens - Developing a Cosmic Perspective

"Behind what we see exist multiple layers of struggle in the heavenlies." (Eph 6:12)  The heavenlies lie just beyond our natural vision.  (61)  Isaiah's eyes were opened to see a reality behind the visible reality.  In the heavens "challenges us to adopt a cosmic perspective, to acknowledge the spiritual realm amidst our physical realities." (63)


"Jesus literally says, 'Our Father in the heavens…'"  "Spiritual maturity involves a growing awareness of the unseen world and its interplay with the material world in which we live." (63) 


"In a day when our familiarity with God has bred something dangerously close to contempt--that is, an overemphasis on the nearness (and friendliness) of God--we might restore some respect for His transcendence." (67)  It would be good to feel awe at the character and glory of the Father. (67) 


"The phrase Father in the heavens certainly nudges us back toward a deep sense of our limitations and His boundlessness, our finite lives and His infinite existence, our shortsightedness and His all-knowing.  Thus, in the heavens guides us away from over-familiarity and can restore reverence." (68)


"If you read history you will find that the Christians who did most for the present world were precisely those who thought most of the next.  It is since Christians have largely ceased to think of the other world that they have become so ineffective in this." (76, quoting C.S. Lewis)


"In the heavens.  As we pray this short phrase it speaks equally of the Father's majestic throne room and His amazing closeness--as close as our own breath." (76)  "The phrase beckons us to a greater cosmic perspective than ever before." (77) 


Chapter 4.  Hallowed Be Your Name - Pressing Toward Holiness

"Frankly, in a profane world, holiness seems archaic or quaint at best…." (79)  "We live in a time when the lewd, crude, immoral, and profane receive center stage…."  (80)


We need practical instruction.  "The first step, according to Jesus, has to do with holiness--God's holiness; but to exalt His holiness requires a commitment to holiness on our own part.  We cannot hallow His name without also considering hallowed lives of our own.  Hallowed be your name." (81)


"Be holy, for I am holy" (Leviticus 11:44 NASB)  "…the Lord intended that Israel would one day become a 'kingdom of priests' where every person lived out holiness in both of its basic aspects--set apart of the purposes of God and living lives of purity and wholeness." (81)


"…to set apart the name of God involves acknowledging His otherness, His greatness, His power, and His character.  However, 'hallowed be your name' also carries a second and much richer connotation: 'Lord, may you be honored by the way we live.'" (83)  "The idea of hallowing is closely linked to the notion of glorifying…  …we 'show forth His character'…with lives of obedience and surrender." (83) 


"We also hesitate to embrace holiness in our day because it smacks of exclusivity and judgmentalism….  People…hardly delight in self-righteous religious fanatics….  Holier-than-thou-ness seriously taints any enthusiasm to pursue genuine holiness." (86)  "However, if Christian spirituality neglects the pursuit of holiness, it fails entirely." (87)


"The irony is obvious.  Relativism, which looks like it gives everyone their own freedom, begets bondage.  Absolutes--the holiness of the Father--lead to life."  (93)


"When we hallow His name, he confronts everything destructive and poisonous within us.  His holiness refuses to ignore our unholiness."  "Indeed, what we declare of Him He desires for us, precisely.  Hallowed be your name."  (95)


Chapter 5.  Your Kingdom Come - Overturning Our Kingdoms

"To the Jewish mind, the kingdom of Israel was the kingdom of God."  "This message aroused their crushed hopes and fueled their flagging hearts."  "Jesus was about to restore the kingdom." (98) 


"The essence of Christian spirituality revolves around participation in our Father's kingdom, not retreat into our own." (102)  "'Your kingdom come' does not invite the Father to come and watch us, but to come and rule us."  [This] "beckons an enormous lifestyle upheaval, if we're serious." (103)


"Selfish ambition leads to chaos; godly ambition eliminates our pursuit of personal glory."  "To pray, 'Your kingdom come'…requires that we lay down our own agenda, our own ambition, and our own dominion.  Such a prayer has dramatic implications.  It silences self-promotion and guides us to more humble service." (106)


Chapter 6.  Your Will Be Done on Earth As It Is in Heaven

The theme of Jesus' life was the words that open the door to real vitality, 'not my will, but yours be done.' (115)  The two-year old within us rules us until we surrender everything to the Father. (115)


"Our occasional prayer is 'Your will be done,' but our common desires is 'My will be done.'"  "Is our drivenness and competitiveness a symptom of a surrendered life or our spiritual immaturity?" (116) 


'Your will be done' means 'We want what you want, and we receive what you give.' (117)


"Thomas Merton once wrote: 'Your life is shaped by the end you live for.  You are made in the image of what you desire." (126)  "Ultimately, whatever drives us the hardest shapes us the most."  "The challenge before us is to distill those desires into a single one--the desire for God." (126)


"Ultimately, life is not what we make of it but what He makes of it." (131)


Chapter 7.  Give Us This Day Our Daily Bread - Learning Dependence and Simplicity

We have so much food that obesity is a major national health concern. (133)  "Prayer for our physical and material needs sometimes becomes the only way we pray, and it focuses our attention solely on us." (133)


"This short, earthy request corrects any effort on our part to separate the sacred and the secular." (135)  We believe in both secular and spiritual but we separate them as if sickness only comes from germs and success from hard work.  (135)  But this separation undermines our Christian walk.  (136)  "Everything we do in the physical realm has spiritual connections." (137) 


When we compartmentalize our lives we fail to live with integrity, wholeness.  We fall short of the all-encompassing abundant life Christ intends for us. (139)


This brief petition jolts us awake.  It exposes our independence and raises a question: Does our lack of daily need contribute to a daily neglect of the Father?" (141)


Chapter 8.  Forgive Us Our Debts As We Also Have Forgiven Our Debtors

"Sin undermines our intimacy with Christ.  Always has, always will.  Our denial of it, indifference to it, or tolerance of it limits the depths to which we can know Him and the Father."  "In our pursuit of godliness, ruthless surgery on our sin becomes foundational."  (149) 


"Our own guilt before God burdens us, but so does the relentless condemnation we cast on others--in our marriages, families, workplaces, churches, and neighborhoods.  Both scenarios destroy us." (151)


"Confession of sin cannot be casual.  Repentance cannot be flippant." (162)


Chapter 9.  Lead Us Not Into Testing, But Deliver Us From the Evil

"Temptation usually carries connotations of something that crosses a moral line…."  "A test, however, relates more to our faith.  Much like Abraham, we may feel that various trials and hardships test whether or not we will trust the Father." (166)  "In our spiritual journey, we can sidestep some of the testing by living lives of deep trust and obedience.  These two words--trust and obedience--form the heart of the biblical idea of faith.  When we begin to trust ourselves, we may need a test; not that God may pass or fail us, but that we might see our need to restore our trust in Him.  When we choose the path of disobedience, we may need a test so that we might better gauge the depth or shallowness of our faith and make corrections."  (167-8)   


 "Nevertheless, the greatest enemy we face does not live in others but in our own breast.  This enemy poses our greatest threat.  Yes, we must speak out against oppression, injustice, and immorality.  But let's also look within and pray for transformation.  Transformation lies at the heart of what Jesus teaches in the Prayer." (172)


Sin's power lies in secrecy.  "The journey to freedom involves not only steps to put on Christ but also steps to put off sin.  That means naming it, not to shame each other but to shore each other up.  It means confession of the darkness that we harbor in our souls.  And we shall be free indeed." (175)


"One of the main hindrances to dealing with sin is that our attitude toward it is more self-centered than God-centered.  We show more concern with our own victory over sin than the fact that our sin grieves the heart of God." (178)  "How much better to desire God above everything, quit dwelling on our failure, and make some obedient life choices that will please Him rather than pain Him." (179)


Chapter 10.  Yours Is the Kingdom, the Power, and the Glory - Abandoning Our Pursuit of Control and Fame

"Anyone who prayed this Prayer was reaffirming their confidence in the supremacy and sovereignty of God over all human institutions, governments, and empires." (185)


"Our pursuit of power and glory inevitably produces conflict and discontent." (190) "The Prayer of Jesus slices straight to the core of such corruption: 'For yours is the kingdom, the power, and the glory, forever.'"  "Real release happens when we give up the dream of personal fame and glory.  It's counterintuitive, but it's the kingdom way." (191)


"None of us find it easy to release control of our lives.  Yet this closing phrase of the Prayer beckons us to do just that." (195)


"The Prayer insists, right down to this last phrase, on…surrender.  We move forward most in our walk with God when we abandon both success and significance and embrace surrender." (197)  "…and He takes our lives--what we have and what we lack--and accomplishes His purposes." (198) 


Chapter 11.  Amen - Living With a Yes

Amen has great significance.  At the least it declares a powerful and confident Yes to the Father.  (201)  "It expresses acknowledgment, agreement, commitment, and confidence." (203) 


"At the throne of God we are immersed in God's yes, a yes that silences all our noes and calls forth an answering yes in us…Amen!"  (203, quoting Eugene Peterson)


"Amen.  Yes.  And this word morphs into a core value by which we choose to live." (204)


"Truly the Prayer expresses a lifestyle, not just a vocabulary."  "It motivates a pursuit of holiness and the surrender of our own kingdoms." (216-17) 



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