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For some time now, I’ve been trying to establish the practice of making the Lord my first thought of the morning, as I am waking up. For a while, this was simply saying, “Good morning, Lord.” Somewhere down the road in this endeavor, I decided to address each person of the Godhead. Then I added, when I was speaking to the Father and to Jesus, that I wanted to know them and that I wanted to love them and serve them as I should.

I like this. It is joyful. It is just…right.

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The next part of the Lord’s Prayer I’d like to talk about is what follows, “Our Father.” In the last post, I wrote that part of what that “our Father” means is that He is our Father, which would indicate, as we think it through, that the Church is a family—and that we should love like it—steadfastly.

The next four words are, “who is in heaven.” I believe Jesus is teaching us to pray that not only do we have a Father, one who loves and cares for us as His very own children, but that this Father is not only loving, but sovereign. He is in a place that is not this place—earth. He is not subject to or under the control of the forces of this planet, whether they’re man-made or spiritual.

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I’ve been thinking about the Lord’s Prayer. Perhaps I should add that I’ve been praying it, too, as Jesus taught us, in case you were wondering.

But there’s a whole lot more going on here than I have traditionally thought. I’ll admit to giving in to repeating these words on certain occasions without thinking much about what this prayer is all about. And to be transparent, I must admit that there’s probably a lot of stuff going on in this prayer that I still don’t know much about.

So, I’ll start with what is happening in my prayer life right now as I consider this prayer. It begins, as one would expect, with the first sentence, which almost every citizen in the United States knows: “Our Father, who is in heaven, holy be Your name.”

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In the days before Laurie and I left Israel, we spent many hours talking, thinking and praying about our departure. We discussed whether or not we would continue to serve on the mission field in another country. If we didn’t—and the more we hashed it over with each other and with the Lord, this was the way we were leaning—the more it became apparent that we would need to seek employment back in the States. This was going to be challenging. Our resume´s as former missionaries were…interesting.

Laurie and I had prayed earnestly, separately and apart, for direction. However, the answer I received from God wasn’t one I was expecting.

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