As we end the Lord’s prayer, our modern versions remind us that God is in charge of everything in His creation. We start with “Our Father, who art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name” and end with “For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory for ever and ever.!” God is the beginning and the end of everything, the Alpha and the Omega. He created everything, every tree and shrub and flower and insect and animal and human and He resides in all living things, as well. He intimately knows His creations, his creatures, and some part of Him , His Indwelling Spirit, resides in us as well.
His Spirit is deep within us and not known at all until we begin to give our lives to God in worship and adoration, in need and in love. The more we focus our hearts, minds, souls and strengths on God, the more His Indwelling Spirit comes forward within us to guide us as we live out our lives in His service. The most important practice we can learn is to quiet down our inner voices so that we can hear what His Spirit is saying to us. And how do we do that? We first become an observer of our thoughts. Usually, these are all the “shoulds” of our minds. To be an observer means to acknowledge them, but to not react to them. These were deeply implanted in us in our early childhood days. They represent the teachings of our parents and our culture. They keep us on the surface of our lives, fulfilling what the world wants for us, not what God wants.
As we think about the source of each of these “shoulds,” we can sit back and just notice them without letting them control our behavior. As we refuse to let them upset us or get us anxious about doing what they say, we are simply observing them. They no longer control our behavior; and, with the Holy Spirit’s help, we are free to delve deeply into who we are unphased by these old, disturbing ways of thinking about ourselves. So what emerges in us is our depths, our deepest longings, our interests and predispositions that were created in us by God. And that is the Holy Spirit’s job—to bring us to our true selves unburdened by the cares or agendas of the world.
Oh, the freedom to be who we were created to be! The joy that comes from doing what we were created to do! The peace that follows us through everything we experience, because we are no longer beholden to anyone or anything but God, who calls us to express our best selves. Prayer becomes sitting in God’s presence, surrounded by Him. Our lives take on a new sense of fulfillment and purpose as the healing of our deepest challenges and pain fuel our activities and our attitudes and our speech. We are no longer alone, because God is with us in everything in our lives. And what a blessing and grace that is! Amen.
Questions to ponder over the week: Does God reign over my life or am I still beholden to the influence of the world on me? What would I need to give up, to that I could just follow the Indwelling Spirit of God? Just what stands in my way of total surrender to God? Can I trust God with my life—all of it?
Blessing for the week: May we be the people of God who surrender every part of our lives to God and let Him lead us in our families, our work, our leisure, with our friends. May we all enjoy the richness of the lives that God has created us for.
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