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Praying Our Way Forward

By Rev. Dr. Dennis W. Miller.

As we navigate the days ahead, we are praying for a Christ-centered way forward for the United Methodist Church. 2 Chronicles 7:14 assures us that prayer and repentance are honored by the Lord with healing of our land. It is my prayer that our hearts will align with God’s heart and that God will lead us to a solution that we are not yet able to see with human eyes. During the month of October, I invite you to pray the words of Matthew 6:13 (KJV), “For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever! Amen.” This portion of the Lord’s prayer is called a doxology. Doxology literally means “speaking glory or a word of glory.”

Two thousand years ago, Caesar Augustus was the most powerful man in the world. He was devoted to building his kingdom. The world had never seen anything like it up until this point in history. The kingdom stretched north to England, south to Africa, and east to Asia. Caesar Augustus literally ruled the known world. He ruled the nations. He ruled the rulers of the nations. They all bowed down to him. He was called the king of kings and the Lord of Lords. At the end of his life, people literally worshiped him.

Contrast this with another great king who lived nearly 1000 years earlier. David was the greatest king of the Old Testament. He was a man after God’s own heart. By the time we reach 1 Chronicles chapter 29, the shepherd boy who killed the giant was now an old man. The one who taught Israel to dance before the Lord could now no longer move. From his deathbed, David called together the nobles of Israel and said to them, “This is not about me. This is not about my kingdom and my power and my glory.”

Let’s look at his prayer recorded in 1 Chronicles 29:10-13: “O LORD, the God of our ancestor Israel, may you be praised forever and ever! (11) Yours, O LORD, is the greatness, the power, the glory, the victory, and the majesty. Everything in the heavens and on earth is yours, O LORD, and this is your kingdom. We adore you as the one who is over all things. (12) Wealth and honor come from you alone, for you rule over everything. Power and might are in your hand, and at your discretion people are made great and given strength. (13) O our God, we thank you and praise your glorious name!

Jesus was familiar with David’s prayer in 1 Chronicles chapter 29 and therefore included some of these words in what we now call the Lord’s Prayer. Although most of us as United Methodists pray this prayer on a regular basis, the truth is we often have a “kingdom problem.” We want to build our own kingdoms here on earth. For too many of us, Christianity is really all about ME. It’s all about MY personal fulfillment, MY success, MY experience, MY feelings. We like to be in control. But in reality, the One who is in control doesn’t live in Rome, Washington D.C., or Hollywood. I wonder how the world would have been different if Caesar Augustus would have somehow found his way to that remote corner of his kingdom known as Bethlehem. I wonder how different the world would have been if he would have knelt near the manger and surrendered to the true King of Kings, and Lord of Lords.

There day is coming when every knee will bow and every tongue will confess. This is our day! This is our moment! We don’t have to wait. We can start practicing. This is our chance to love and cherish and hallow the name of the Savior. To find our way forward as United Methodists, why don’t we pray the doxology of the Lord’s prayer every day? May our prayer be, “O God, this is not about me; this is not about my kingdom; it is not about my power; it is not about my glory. O God, for thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever! Amen.”