15 May 2020 – Our confidence expressed in prayer. For Yours is…

A very brave zebra! Zurich Zoo 2010

How do we express our confidence in God? It inevitably involves a child-like trust that He will take care of us and provide for our needs and lead and direct us in the right paths for our lives.

However, taking steps of faith can be very dangerous, but we are in a secure place when we are in the hands of our great God.

An illustration of remarkable faith and trust was seen in Zurich Zoo in 2010. A hippo had a problem. It needed its teeth cleaned. Who would carry out this task? When it is considered that hippos are one of the most aggressive creatures in the world and have a bite that can cut a small boat in half; and what is more weigh up to three tonnes and are the third largest land mammal in the world; in addition, despite their cuddly figure they can outrun a human over short distances on land.

Which dentist would wish to take on such a patient? The answer was unexpected? Jill Sonsteby, a photographer from Florida, was privileged for fifteen minutes to watch a zebra appear to be staring into the jaws of death when it came nose to nose with the open-mouthed hippopotamus.

Yet the hippo had no intention of eating it for lunch –it was very happy to get its teeth cleaned.
It was standard practice for Jewish prayers of that era to end with a doxology that is words of praise to God at the end of the prayer before the Amen. Different ones were used by rabbis and it is possible that Jesus used a variety of them both in His private and public prayers.

The familiar ending of the prayer Jesus taught His first disciples was found in the earliest Christian service manual ‘The Teaching of the Twelve Apostles’ from the late first century AD.

In Matthew 6:13b the concluding part of this prayer states: for Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen. What was Jesus, and His followers who use this form of prayer, saying in these words? There are a few very simple things here, first:

(a)A commitment to the will of God For Yours in the kingdom The kingdom of course refers not to a geographical location, instead it is concerned with the rule of God; it is about His control over His world and by implication over our lives even over our prayers!

We cannot pray for God to rule over and in someone else’s life without the implied assumption that we are equally desirous of God doing the same in our own lives! He has to be Lord of our lives first if we are honestly to expect Him to intervene in other people’s lives, in response to our earnest petitions in prayer. Does He have first place in your life today?

(b) Confidence in the power of God For Yours is the power Psalm 62:11 (NKJV) states: God has spoken once, Twice I have heard this: that power belongs to God. We need to repeat these words in our hearts.

Ultimate power does not lie in London or Edinburgh, or Brussels or Washington DC, but with God. God can grant us the strength to do the work He has entrusted to us. Yet we must never forget where the power comes from, as Jesus reminded His first disciples prior to the Day of Pentecost in Acts 1:8:

But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be My witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth. It is not if but when; it is not possible but certain; it is not rationed but given in full measure by our wonderful God. Do you have full confidence in God that your needs and those of your family and friends can be met by Him today?

(c) Concerned for the glory of God For yours is the glory, for ever Amen It is all about You and Your glory. John the apostle in his visions in the book of Revelation was blessed to see glimpses of the eternal future that God has in store at the end of the age.

John saw the heavenly beings praising the Lamb (Jesus) and the One on the Throne (God the Father) because what they had purposed had come to pass. In a loud voice they sang: “Worthy is the Lamb, who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength and honour and glory and praise!”

13Then I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and on the sea and all that is in them, singing: “To Him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be praise and honour and glory and power, for ever and ever!” (Revelation 5:12-13).

Here on earth we can give praise and glory to God rejoicing in what He has done, what He is doing and what He is going to do in the future. Will you start this new day planning to glorify God in all that you will do today? I hope we can all do that, in Jesus’ name, Amen.

Our song for reflection is Robin Mark’s well known: ‘All for Jesus’

Brian Talbot