Jennifer Slattery is a writer, editor, speaker, and ministry leader who’s addressed women’s groups, church groups, Bible studies, and writers across the nation. She’s the author of six contemporary novels and maintains a devotional blog found at JenniferSlatteryLivesOutLoud.com. She has a passion for helping women discover, embrace, and live out who they are in Christ. As the founder of Wholly Loved Ministries, she and her team partner with churches to facilitate events designed to help women rest in their true worth and live with maximum impact. When not writing, reading, or editing, Jennifer loves going on mall dates with her adult daughter and coffee dates with her hilariously fun husband. Visit her online at JenniferSlatteryLivesOutLoud.com or follow her on Twitter at @JenSlattery.
I’m not sure if this is hypocrisy or more of an illogical contradiction, but whenever I say the “Lord’s Prayer” without following my words with action, I’m denying what I pray. If not matched with an attitude of surrender, I’m basically stating, “May Your will be done, God … except in this moment. Except in my life. May You be Lord of the world, of my family, goodness, even of my husband, but not of me, at least, not in this situation here.”
I want to follow God in all things. To truly reach a place where I’ve laid everything down in obedience to Him, and not just because He deserves that. But also, because I know, with every inch of my soul, that His ways truly are better. But sometimes, in the stress and anxiety and simple frustrations of day-to-day living, I forget. I forget that He truly does know better and will always lead me to His very best.
He reminded me of these truths this past weekend. Initially, I was plagued by doubt. I knew God was calling my husband and I into a tough, hugely uncomfortable and uncertain situation, and frankly, I didn’t want to obey. I wrestled with myself, and with God, for a while, thinking of all the logical reasons I could change my plans. And maybe, if left alone with my rather convincing thoughts, I would’ve convinced myself to stay home, tucked away with a nice, pleasant, risk-free book.
But my husband became my voice of reason, and I’m sure glad, because had I given in to my fear and selfishness, I would’ve missed some pretty cool God moments. Some precious glimpses of His heart and the beauty only He can create.
Reflecting on all God did, I was super grateful my husband challenged me to live out what I so readily claim to believe—that God is indeed my Lord. And to live as if that were true.
Perhaps that is the very reason Jesus’s simple yet profound prayer, spoken in Matthew 6:9-10 has the capacity for such life-changing power. It invites us to pause, to reflect on the words we so easily speak, and allow them to highlight then purge the contradictions within.
This in turn transforms a perfunctory act similar to what Jesus condemned the religious leaders for only moments before into a transformative interaction with our Father, the One who knows, sees, and hears our deepest and truest selves.
This Spirit-led conversation might go something like this:
My Father in heaven—the God who formed me and has full authority over me
hallowed be Your name—I acknowledge that You are above all and am choosing, in this moment, to reflect on Your power and glory.
Your kingdom come, Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven—And may Your kingdom reign first in me. Demolish every other kingdom—especially my fierce allegiance to self—that has risen within me. Dethrone every idol that tries to take Your rightful place in my heart. May Your will be done first in me, and then through me.
At each moment and with every prayer, we are choosing which kingdom to advance. The Pharisees made their choice. They offered all sorts of lofty words delivered loudly on street corners and trumpeted every “righteous” act. In this, they created exactly what they desired—a show. In essence, to elevate themselves above God. I imagine they each had numerous reasons for this, but I believe if we dug deep enough, we’d find one lie buried deep within each of their hearts: That God wasn’t enough. That He’d never bring them the fulfillment, peace, and joy their souls craved. And so, they sought to gain this for themselves, robbing themselves of the very life they were created for.
God invites us to go deeper that we might discover something of infinite, soul-reaching value—an intimate relationship with our Daddy. A relationship enriched as we consistently purify our hearts so that what’s inside more closely matches our declarations.
Pause to consider the Lord’s prayer—the meaning of each phrase. What might God want to do within you so that you can pray each one with the authenticity of a life that follows what the mouth proclaims?
Before you go … have you registered for the Beautiful Mess Conference yet? There’s still time! Can’t make it this weekend? No worries! All registrants will receive a link and password to access all conference content after the event whenever they want, as many times as they choose. Gain tools that will help all your relationships while anchoring you deeper in Christ’s grace. Find out more HERE.
And if you’re looking for a new Bible reading plan, make sure to check out my latest video based plan, In Christ: A Journey Through Ephesians. Find it HERE.
And make sure to check out the latest Faith Over Fear episode titled the Courage to Fight for others.
For those following our chronological journey through the New Testament …
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