Revive Our Hearts Podcast

Controlled by God's Kingdom

Leslie Basham: Holly Elliff has learned something important about the phrase, “Your kingdom come.”

Holly Elliff: It’s not about just a model for prayer; it’s a model for your lifestyle. As you are going, God is present. Acknowledging that He’s present at all those moments of your life is what makes the link between eternity and the earthly reality that we live in right now. God at every moment is concerned about what’s going on in my life and has a perfect will for that moment.

Leslie: This is Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss for Thursday, October 11.

“Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come.” Nancy has unpacked some of the deep treasures of meaning in these familiar phrases as part of a series on the Lord’s Prayer.

Some friends have been listening along with us trying to live out the teaching they’ve been receiving from Nancy. We’ll hear how it’s going as friends Kim Wagner and Jane Green join Nancy. We’ll start with Holly Elliff.

Holly: I talked with a young wife yesterday. She’s in a really tough marriage. She’s a fairly young believer. She’s trying desperately to yield to what the Lord wants in her life, and it’s so hard. I was weeping with her on the phone as I was telling her what I knew biblically to be right for her to do.

She was saying, “That’s what I want. I want to be obedient to the Lord.” She said, “I wake up every day saying, ‘God, Thy will be done, not mine. Thy will be done, not mine. Thy will be done, not mine.’”

It has become just really the conscious prayer in her life that she could learn to surrender her will because she is so desperate for God’s kingdom to be present, for Him to be glorified in her home. She doesn’t know how that’s going to happen.

As we were talking, I said to her, “You do realize that no matter what your husband does, he cannot keep you from becoming the woman that God wants you to be. The only thing that will ever keep you from becoming that woman will be a choice to say, ‘God, this is too hard. I want my will because I’m tired of waiting on Your will.’”

She just was such a refreshingly wonderful example of somebody who is living in the midst of a lot of stuff but understands that she cannot live her life in a way that would honor and glorify God apart from being every moment in His presence and seeking for His kingdom to come, for His will to be done in her life.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: It really does give a perspective on suffering, don’t you think, to say, “In this suffering, how can God’s name be glorified? How can His kingdom come? How can His will be done?” And that becoming the breath—the heartcry—more than, “God, get me out of this,” which we may desperately want. To say that even if God doesn’t get me out of this, if by my walking through this God can be glorified and His kingdom can be advanced, then I will make myself available for that purpose.

Jane Green: Something I thought about, Nancy, as you were teaching today, was I have looked at the Lord’s Prayer as an outline on this is how I am to pray. What I heard was this is how to live. There’s a difference there—or maybe they’re one and the same.

Nancy: I think that’s what struck me in this whole series as I was studying. I went to it looking to learn how to pray and it certainly is direction for that. But the more I’ve gotten into this passage, the more I’m realizing this is a way of living, which is a prayerful, God-centered way of living.

Jane: Yes. I have felt like for probably three years now that the Lord is just saying to me, “Come, come,” and that He wants me to take everything—all the small, little details of my life—and just talk to Him about it. “Just come to me, Jane, come, come.” When I think about the Lord’s Prayer as an outline for how to live, that makes those steps in coming easier to see what to do.

Kim Wagner: When I was a little girl, it used to bother me that I would ask my Sunday school teachers, “What does it mean to pray without ceasing? What does that really mean?” They would always give me that standard, pat Sunday school teacher answer. “Well, it means to be in an attitude of prayer.” I would think, “What is an attitude of prayer?” That would really bother me because I tended—and probably still do—to read the Bible very literally.

As I got older, I’m very thankful for a little book that I found by Brother Lawrence, Practicing the Presence of God. Brother Lawrence explains in that how every single part of our day is to be just brought to the Lord in prayer, every thought. To have a continual conversation with Him throughout the day. I was so excited when I found that because that’s what I had thought that it meant, but I never realized or had anyone else tell me that before.

Holly: God used that same book in my life when I was in college to just totally open my eyes to the fact that it was not about being in a particular place that was spiritual or that I didn’t have to wait until Sunday morning or even until I had time to get out in a field by myself with my Bible, which would be rare for me. But that as Brother Lawrence talked about peeling potatoes in the kitchen of the monastery, God met him there.

I love that connection even with the Lord’s Prayer because it is as we are going, as Jane said a minute ago. It’s not about just a model for prayer. It’s a model for your lifestyle that as you are going, God is present. Acknowledging that He’s present at all those moments of your life is what makes the link between eternity and the earthly reality that we live in right now. God at every moment is concerned about what’s going on in my life and has a perfect will for that moment.

Kim: I love that point, Nancy, that you made about accessibility and how your father was always accessible to you. To me that’s the beauty of the conversational praying with the Lord, of praying to Him all the time. I can be talking to Him right now even as I’m having this conversation with y’all, or as I’m doing laundry, or as I’m confronted with someone in anger and maybe they’re offended.

I can be praying, talking to the Father, including Him in on that conversation, seeking Him for wisdom even as I communicate. It’s a constant thing. Whether I wake up in the middle of the night, first thing in the morning, throughout the day. When I find that there’s been moments that have passed that I haven’t been talking to Him, it arrests my heart that, “I neglected to talk to You these past few moments. Forgive me.” Because it’s such a vital connection.

Nancy: I don’t think that most people who would be listening to this conversation could start to relate to what you just described, Kim. We all wish we could or think we should. But most people, I think, are living such hurried, frantic lives, very tied into their circumstances, to what’s happening.

To say, “Okay, I’m a child of God. I desire that kind of life, but how do you get from—I’m not in a monastery—having this very kind of secularized life of everything is based on the temporal and the now and the urgent and the pressing, to a life of prayer?”

Kim: I think it helps for one thing, first off, I would say just to ask Him to cultivate that heart within you because He desires to have that conversation with you. One prayer that I’ve prayed over and over for years is, “Lord, give me more love to give back to You.”

Holly: I think for me it has come out of desperation lots of times because I wake up so many days—I hesitate to say all—but most of my days I wake up with the conscious awareness that I cannot walk through my day in a way that would honor God apart from His presence in my life. So it’s a choice of either living on my own and being miserable and making everybody around me miserable or being aware that every detail of my day can be brought before the Lord as I go.

Jane, you said a minute ago that what you’ve been hearing God say to you is just, “Come,” at every moment. I think that’s exactly what it is. It’s not that God sets up requirements that we have to meet before we can ever hear from Him or come into His presence.

Jane: Nancy, I think that money is one reason why we don’t experience prayer like Kim was talking about.

Nancy: Tell us what you mean by that.

Jane: Well, I remember when you were interviewing Randy Alcorn and his book, The Treasure Principle. That interview that you did with him had such an impact on my life because I realized I was not viewing money with a biblical perspective. So now to stop and to try and do that means I have to pray about a lot more than what I was praying about before. When that money’s not there, it takes me to my knees.

Nancy: Because we can depend on our money instead of on the Lord.

Jane: Yes, a credit card, and yes.

Holly: I wonder, too, if another reason why a lot of people don’t think that way is because they don’t have the freedom in their heart to come to God as Father, as you were talking about earlier, and their mindset of God as a loving provider is so warped. Jane, you mentioned this, that that has been hard for you in the past.

Jane: It was at one point, yes. It was two years after I was saved before I could call God, Father. In fact, whenever I was in a group and I would hear someone pray and refer to Him as Father, it was as though someone was running their fingernails down a blackboard. I had that feeling. It had that effect on me.

Nancy: Why was that?

Jane: Because my own father, bless his heart, doesn’t know the Lord. He was not someone that I could go to for advice. He was not someone that was there for me. He didn’t do what he said he would do. So that was the excuse I used. The bottom line—I came to realize that I wasn’t believing what God said about Himself in the Bible. I was putting more weight into my own experience versus what God’s Word said.

Kim: Nancy, I like how that you started this series by putting everything into context. You talked about the motive for prayer and coming to God. In John chapter 4, Jesus told the woman at the well that the Father is seeking worshipers and those who will worship Him in spirit and in truth.

I just think that, talking about the matter of integrity with prayer, I think it’s good to ask ourselves if we truly want to cultivate that heart of prayer:

  • How much am I praying alone that no one knows about?
  • How much time am I spending in conversation with God?
  • Do I desire to cultivate that conversation with God?
  • Do I really look at conversation with God as intimacy with Him, fellowship with Him?

Nancy: What could help to cultivate that—deepen that desire? Because some people are going to be hearing what you just said and they’ll say, “That’s another planet for me. I just don’t think that way. I don’t have those kinds of desires. I think I’m a Christian, but that intimacy, talking to God like a friend, closeness, those things aren’t—that’s just not where I am.”

Kim: I think asking God questions helps. Like I said a moment ago, asking Him to give us a hunger for prayer, but also asking Him questions about Himself, letting Him know I want to get to know what You’re like. I want to understand what You want me to understand about You, who You are.

That comes from digging into His Word, but digging into His Word in a way that as we read His Word, we’re talking to Him and asking Him:

  • What do You mean by this?
  • Why did You use this phrase this way?
  • Why did You put it here?
  • How do You want to apply this to my life?
  • Coming to Him as a child would a father asking all those questions.

I love how in the Lord’s Prayer there is that perfect blend. Holly and I talk about balance all the time. There’s that perfect blend—that we see God in the intimacy of our Father, and He’s presented as our Father. But I think you did so well to caution us. In our culture today, I think that there is a tendency to look at God just as my buddy, on the same level as I am.

I teach at a Christian high school, and I have a student who has a Christian tee-shirt that says, “Jesus is my homeboy.” I don’t share this to offend individuals that wear that tee-shirt. I know they wear that tee-shirt, I’m sure, with the best of intentions. But it bothers me today that in our culture it seems like we’re trying to pull God down from His otherness, from His transcendence.

I’m thankful that we’re not still in the Middle Ages. I am so thankful for the Protestant Reformation. In the Middle Ages, people did see God as too mysterious to understand or get to know. He was too removed. They didn’t have the Word of God in their own language so many times. So I’m thankful that we’re not still there.

But I fear that we’ve come to the place that we’re trying to lower God and take away His otherness. I fear that us bringing God down to such a homeboy-type relationship, we’re trying to put God on our level. I am so thankful for intimacy with a holy God, but I cannot allow that privilege of intimacy to cause me to degrade Him in a way that I forget that He is holy, and He is not like me.

Nancy: I think it goes back to this passage in Ecclesiastes 5. God is in heaven. We are on earth. Watch your words. Words do matter. Let your words be few and let them be ones that you would feel comfortable saying in the presence of the Lord because we are in the presence of the Lord.

Kim: Right. But I think so many times people use these words without realizing what they’re doing even in the church. That’s what’s grieving me is that people use God’s name so easily within the church. Sitting just at a Christian school ballgame, you can hear that said repeatedly by adults or leaders at the school, to say the word, “Oh, G-O-D” if they disagree with the reps or whatever.

So I do think we need to care for the honor of God and His name. We need to be real careful how we approach people about that because I don’t know that they realize what they’re doing, but I do think that we need to point out to our fellow believers, “This is a holy God’s name. Think about what you’re setting as an example before children.”

I remember one time I was in Wal-Mart when my children were little. They love to tell this story because they thought it was so funny. There was this lady beside me, and we were both looking for something in the aisle. She couldn’t find it, and she just let out, “Well, God almighty.” Like that. I looked at her, and I smiled and said, “He really is. He is almighty.”

My kids just cracked up at that because I didn’t know the lady. She was a stranger, but it was obvious that . . . she looked kind of shocked when I said that. I said it in a pleasant way, Holly. I didn’t bite her head off. I think people let His name out without realizing what they’re saying sometimes. I think that we need to remind them He is God. He is holy. When we let His name out, we’re putting it on a level of any other word.

Nancy: Okay, are we perhaps guilty of the same thing? When we stand in church and we sing praise and worship choruses about God, the name of Christ—“How great Thou art,” “My Jesus, I love Thee”—but we’re just mouthing the words, doing what the crowd’s doing, going along with the program, without thinking, without a heart that is bent toward God or reverencing Him. Are we are not just as guilty in a way of taking the Lord’s name in vain?

Holly: Yes. I think what we constantly see in the life of Christ is that He was about taking who God was and making Him known to man, but He reacted violently to men who thought they knew God but had no life in them. So I think whether we’re saying words that we shouldn’t say or maybe we have perfect speech but a heart that’s impure, for the Lord, the heart issue is what’s critical because only God knows that.

I would never stand in Wal-Mart and use God’s name, but I might be much more guilty of having an impure heart or worshiping out of a wrong motive.

Nancy: Or just being half-hearted.

Holly: Or looking like I’m worshiping when my heart is not there. So even if we are spiritually house-trained and maybe the wrong words are not coming out of our mouths, but our heart is just as impure toward the Lord because we’re not giving Him glory even in the things that we know how to do. The danger almost is in knowing how to do them so well that they become vain repetitions just like any other word that might come out of our mouth.

Kim: Right.

Nancy: That’s where Romans 8, verse 14, says those who are the sons of God are led by the Spirit of God. That’s what we’re talking about. We’re not trying to put people on a guilt trip or say, “You need to live this uptight life, afraid you’re going to say something that one of these ladies is going to hear and be upset about.”

It’s saying,

  • Are we filled with the Spirit?
  • Are we letting the Spirit control and direct what we say, how we say it?
  • Are we letting God search our hearts?
  • Are we letting Him purify us so that we say what we mean, we mean what we say?
  • Are we praying and living and talking honestly and purely before God.

I wouldn’t want people to hear a conversation like this and go away saying, “Oh, man, I’ve got to put a bit on my tongue. I’m not going to open my mouth. I’m just going to have to just live under this cloud of I might say something wrong.” We want to be filled with the Spirit in such a way that God controls our hearts and what comes out is pleasing to Him.

Leslie: That’s Nancy Leigh DeMoss. When you pray, “Your kingdom come,” as part of the Lord’s Prayer, it will affect the way you live. Some friends have been discovering that. Holly Elliff, Kim Wagner, and Jane Green have been discussing things they’ve learned about God’s kingdom in their lives. These women have been listening long as Nancy’s been teaching through the Lord’s Prayer, Part 2. We heard part one in September and part three is coming next month.

I won’t pray this prayer the same way after hearing it. Discover a new depth and meaning in prayer by listening for yourself. When you order the series on CD, you’ll receive additional minutes of teaching and conversation we didn’t have time to air. Order the complete three-part series by visiting our website, ReviveOurHearts.com.

We’d like to help you pray for God’s kingdom to come.  One book that has influenced Nancy to pray this way is called, The Valley of Vision. It’s full of Puritan prayers that will make you think differently about approaching God. For instance, one prayer called “Sleep” begins this way:

Blessed Creator,
Thou hast promised thy beloved sleep;
Give me restoring rest needful for tomorrow’s toil.

If dreams be mine,
Let them not be tinged with evil.
Let thy Spirit make my time of repose
A blessed temple of His holy presence.

And it goes on from there. It’s easy to get in a rut when you talk with God, and these prayers will invigorate your approach to Him.

We’d like to send you the bonded leather edition of Valley of Vision when you donate twenty dollars or more to help keep Revive Our Hearts on the air and on the web. Just call us at 1-800-569-5959, or visit ReviveOurHearts.com.

If you live for the kingdom of God, your funeral will be far different than if you live for the kingdom of this world. Hear more how the kingdom of God will affect the whole of your life, next time on Revive Our Hearts.

Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss is an outreach of Life Action Ministries.

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