Thursday, April 9, 2015

Teach us to pray, part 43: The Power

"Pray, then, in this way: 'Our Father who is in heaven, Hallowed be Your name. 'Your kingdom come. Your will be done, On earth as it is in heaven. 'Give us this day our daily bread. 'And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. 'And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from evil. [ For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.' ] (Matthew 6:9-13 NASB

An interesting thing happened midway through the plagues in Egypt. The Egyptians had just watched in horror as all their livestock died in a terrible hailstorm (plague 5). The loss of their livestock had been quickly followed by boils on all the people and all the other animals. (plague 6) It was painful and horrible. No one was spared and the Egyptians were not happy. 

God spoke to Moses with an interesting message. Go back to Pharaoh and tell him that I said I'm about to send all my plagues on him. Say that, if I had just killed him, he'd be gone, but I have something else in mind. These next words are powerful and worth remembering.

"But, indeed, for this cause I have allowed you to remain, in order to show you My power, and in order to proclaim My name through all the earth."
Exodus 9:16 NASB

We know (from Exodus 2:22-24) that God had heard the cries of the children of Israel and was moving to deliver them. He could have zapped Pharaoh and zipped the children of Israel straight to the promised land. He could have spared the Egyptians all the plagues and spared the children of Israel the wilderness time. That would have worked well for delivering them from slavery, but His purposes would not have been accomplished. He allowed additional plagues to descend on Egypt in order to demonstrate His power to Pharaoh and the Egyptian people, but also to show His power to His own people. They had languished in slavery for years. They were miserable and thought God had forgotten them. When they watched the plagues that befell Egypt, they knew the power of God had moved on their behalf.

Sometimes, I forget about that power, especially when I am in the midst of a trial. I forget that the One who delivered the children of Israel from Egyptian slavery can also deliver me. I forget that my difficult situation, about which I am storming the gates of heaven, might be an opportunity for God to teach me something about Himself. Not long ago, I had a need. I was praying up a storm, hoping and hoping that God would do what needed to be done. In fact, I had begun to think that I might need to help Him out a little bit, because it seemed as if He was moving too slow. Right on time, exactly when it was needed, He did exactly what needed to be done. Actually, He did more than what needed to be done. His timing and His power left me awestruck, utterly amazed by the Mighty God we serve.

When I pray, when I ask God to provide for me, forgive me, and deliver me, it is important that I remember that the One I have asked has the authority (Thine is the Kingdom) and the ability (Thine is the power) to do exactly what needs to be done. 

As we pray today, let us bring our needs for provision, our needs for forgiveness, our needs for protection to the only One who can meet those needs. When we pray, let us also acknowledge the One who has all the authority, all the ability, all the glory needed to accomplish everything we ask.

For Thine is the Kingdom, and the power, and the glory.