I love the old negro spirituals. This sounds like a good one. But it’s actually the story of what’s been going in our church family. There’s been a whole lot of praying going on. FBC McKinney has been so committed to private, “in your room” kind of prayer (Matthew 6:6), that we actually have a prayer room for people to access any time 24/7/365. This month we’re celebrating 20 years of prayer in our Prayer Room. Since 1987 we’ve had 9,653 people ask for prayer (by filling out a prayer card), and 18,458 people pray over those cards. Nearly 10,000 cards prayed over multiple times daily; this adds up to hundreds of thousands of prayers! That’s amazing! Our church has been marked by prayer. In fact, I’ve said it’s the most important ministry of the church- any church! This month we’ve been learning to pray like Jesus. Here’s why this is SO big. Think about it: The KEY to your Christian life is not found in what you know about God, not even what you do for God, but in the intimacy that you have with God through Christ, and the character and the qualities that are produced as a result of that one relationship. That’s the ONE thing He’s called you to. And as Oswald Chambers has noted, it’s the one thing that will be constantly under attack in your life. Are you committed to daily, consistent, intentional prayer? How are you doing? If you want to be a Kingdom person and allow His will to be done in your life, it will all start with prayer.
Have you ever struggled in prayer? The truth is we all have. The tragic truth is that some of us have ceased to struggle. In fact, we’ve stopped praying altogether. Why is this? I have a theory. This may sound harsh to say but I believe it’s because many of us have been actually been praying wrong. I discovered the key that unlocks prayer.This sounds simple, I know, but it’s learning to pray like Jesus. So simple, but few of us do it. Many of us are familiar with the prayer called the “Lord’s Prayer” and most of us are familiar with the phrase “Thy Kingdom come…” In fact, some of you know the rest of that phrase, “Thy will be done, on earth as it is in Heaven.” At the beginning of His ministry (and throughout the Gospels), Jesus came “preaching the Kingdom.” In fact, most of His parables centered on this thing of the “Kingdom of God”. In fact in Matthew 6:33, He said, “But seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be added unto you.”
What is the “Kingdom”?
Jesus talked about the kingdom all the time. Every parable is about the kingdom. Most of them start with, “The Kingdom is like…” Most of us think of the Kingdom as heaven- as some far off, some day, kind of place. But Jesus says that we should pray for His Kingdom to come in the here-and-now. We are to pray for His Kingdom to advance right now. In fact, when the disciples asked, “When is this Kingdom coming; when are you going to bring this Kingdom?” Jesus said to His disciples that the Kingdom of God is among you- in fact, it is “within you”. What is this Kingdom? Well, a kingdom speaks of a king who is reigning, and of loyal subjects who pledge their allegiance to Him and who are following Him. A Kingdom speaks of territory, of commerce, of an economy, and of values. This is so important:
- The Kingdom is wherever God rules.
- The Kingdom is wherever God has dominion. (power, control, dominance)
How, then, does His Kingdom come? It comes as His people give Him rule over their lives. It comes wherever His people are showing His power, His love through their lives.
- The Kingdom is wherever God’s people are surrendered and are serving
Him. Wherever God reigns over people is where the Kingdom of God is.
- The Kingdom is wherever God is at work. The Kingdom is wherever Jesus
shows up. And Jesus shows up wherever His people are serving others, loving people in need, sharing His love with our world. Think about this: It seems that we’ve focused so much on Jesus as Savior- and that He is- but we’ve forgotten that He wants to be Lord of our lives. Some of us have come to believe that once we’re saved, nothing else matters. To be a Kingdom person means that you praise Him for saving you- but you realize that He has saved you in order that He might be LORD- Ruler, the reigning King of your life.
What is His righteousness?
Again, if we are to seek it- what is it? And if we’re to seek it FIRST, we better figure out what it is and how we are to seek it!
- Righteousness is the very character of God- namely, His holiness.
· To be righteousness, simply put, is to be like Jesus. Jesus is the perfect representation, the image of the character of God (His righteousness), lived out in human form. It’s important to note that, as we receive the forgiveness of God through Christ and His sacrifice on the cross- we are made righteous by Him. In fact, 2 Corinthians 5:21 says that we have been “made the very righteousness of God in Him.” And we are now to live the righteous life of Jesus.In the end then, a “Kingdom person” is a Jesus person. And if desire to be a Kingdom person then Jesus becomes the Ruler in my life. I give Him authority over every aspect of my life. He reigns over my thoughts, my words, my checkbook, the decisions I make about how I spend HIS resources. He reigns over my relationships, my calendar, my body, how I use His gifts given to me, how I spend my leisure time… He RULES. Are you a Jesus person?