Praying from the Past to The Future
“Keep us safe from ourselves and the Devil. You’re in charge!” (Matthew 6:13, The Message)
“Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the Evil One!” (Matthew 6:13, NIV)
When I pray I have a habit of praying about the “not yet” right away! “Lord, give me strength to get through a day of teaching sixth grade language arts!” “Lord, help me to deal with that person when I have to see him next week!” My prayer life has been dominated by situations and events that are in my future path. I noticed, however, when Jesus taught his followers how to pray and gave them a modeling prayer to help them understand he talked about the past and the present before he got to the future.
He suggests that we pray about our present needs and our past failures. The present is about the simple and uncomplicated…”bread!”…the essential for now!
The past is about the moments that haunt us, the ill spoken words, and the inaction in those situations where a response was needed. As a Baptist I don’t enter a confessional booth and reveal my transgressions to a priest, and yet that may be a missing element of my faith journey. It becomes too easy to race blindly into the future! When we don’t deal with our past it clouds the clarity of the future.
There are wounds in our memories that haven’t received the treatment of grace and forgiveness. The peripheral vision of our faith walk is lacking because of the blurring of our past. I think Jesus is leading us to get a grip on our past in preparation for our future. Many of us “avoid” the past as if it never happened. My understanding of how God will lead me from here, however, is influenced by the trail of my steps behind me.
This is true for churches, also! If a congregation hasn’t dealt with its past, how it mistreated a staff member, how judgmental it was towards a family dealing with a relational failure, or demeaning it had been towards women, it will most assuredly mis-step into its future.
And so Jesus advises us to deal with our history as we pave the path in front of us.
First Baptist Church