Praying to a God who Knows You (Psalm 139)

It’s hard to be known. It’s hard to let people in. If we’re honest, when it comes to life and relationships, it’s easier to hide. It’s safer to hide.

Many of us in relationships hide. We are afraid. We keep things to ourselves. Some of this is out of fear. We are afraid of what people would think if they knew everything about us.

We don’t want to disappoint people. We want to be liked, to be known, to be seen as having certain abilities.

Some of us jump into relationships and become dependent on the other person. We need to be needed, we need them to validate us.

Sometimes as we hide, we manipulate people to get what we want, to get them to think certain things about us.

Sometimes to be known, we’ll isolate ourselves so that someone will chase us. This tells us we are worth it. We’ll become detached in relationships so someone will say, “I need you.”

Sometimes to protect ourselves from being known and to feel safe, we’ll jump from relationship to relationship. We’ll change gyms, small groups, where we get coffee, we’ll change social groups, all in an effort to hide. I have a friend who the moment they get too close to people, they pull back.

Where does this come from?

From our earliest moments as a baby, we have a desire to be loved, to be known.

We also have a deep desire to be safe.

These desires travel with us into being adults. To the point (and often rightfully so) that we will do whatever it takes to be safe in relationships.

Ironically, for many of us the destructive patterns of isolation, hiding, manipulation and living out of fear or co-dependency are how we’ve learned to be safe.

We then take this to God and think, “This is what worked with my mom, my dad, my teacher, my boss, my spouse, and this must be how I relate to God.”

What if bearing ourselves to God is the only way to be safe? What if sharing our deepest hurt is the only way to move forward in our relationship with God and ourselves?

As one of my mentors says, “Whatever we don’t own, owns us.”

So how do you own your past? How do you own what has been done to you? How do you own your anger? Bitterness? Loneliness? How do you move forward in a way that brings about freedom instead of keeping you stuck?

The answer is prayer.

Philip Yancey said, “An important purpose of prayer is to let our true selves be loved by God.”

Prayer is a window into God’s love and God’s heart for us. It is a chance to give our heart and hurt to Him. It is a place to remove our fears, doubts and hurt.

Psalm 139 tells us that not only does God know us, but God is everywhere and is not scared of what He knows about us. God will not leave us.

What a promise.

What a reminder that freedom comes from no longer hiding.

How does this work in prayer?

Bring to God your hurts. Say out loud or in your head, “God, this is my fear. This is my pain. These are my doubts.” Name them. Naming things often takes away their power.

Invite, like the psalmist in Psalm 139 does, for God to know you. In fact, using Psalm 139 and simply praying that to God might be a great next step for you as you name things and invite God into this place (even though He’s already there).

I often find that thanking God for knowing me and not leaving me is a powerful prayer moment. It is an amazing reminder.

Family Devotions, Train Wrecks, Praying as a Couple & the Grace to Move Forward

If you’re a man and attend church, you’ve heard a pastor say, “You need to be leading your family spiritually.” Yet many men struggle with this. I know I do.

On a regular basis I’ll sit with a man and he’ll ask me, “How do I lead my wife spiritually? When I’ve tried, I’ve been terrible at it. How do I start?”

Family devotions sound incredibly intimidating and scary for many men. Most men look at their spiritual lives and that of their wife and think, “She’s more spiritual than I am. She’s smarter than I am. She’s more mature spiritually than I am.” There’s a good chance that if you are like most couples, she is.

Now, before giving some ideas, let me say up front that this is hard. Devotions for many couples and families are train wrecks. Kids don’t sit still, they go on tangents, it feels stale or simply feels like you aren’t moving forward at all. The picture of the couple who rises at 5am, drinks coffee and reads their Bibles together while holding hands is not reality for many people. Kids who sit still and listen is also not a reality. (I have four boys, and keeping them in their seats for anything can be monumental.)

Here are a few ideas:

1. Do something. Most couples and families suffer because they don’t do anything. Just do something. You’ll see in a minute that trying different ideas might be a good idea, but simply do something. Even if it is asking, “What is God teaching you right now? Where have you seen God at work recently?”

2. Find what works for you. What works for one family and couple may or may not work for you.

When Katie and I got married, we probably got at least 10 couple’s devotionals for our wedding. We read through many of them, laughed at many of the ridiculous questions they asked and then handed them off to another couple (sorry if you got one). They just didn’t work for us. Neither did rising at 5am to drink coffee and read together. These work for many couples, and that’s great.

Whatever you do, find what works for you as a couple.

For Katie and me, we don’t do couple’s devotions. We often don’t read the same parts of the Bible at the same time or even the same books. We sometimes do, but we often talk about what God is teaching us. We’ll listen to a podcast together, or I’ll find things she should listen to or books she should read.

For us, our spiritual journey together is often debriefing. This keeps us on the same page and keeps us growing together.

3. Decide doing something consistently (even if mediocre) is better than doing something inconsistently that is incredible. More than likely, especially when it comes to family devotions, it will feel mediocre at best and a train wreck at worst. Don’t quit.

Have the long view on this.

Also, and don’t miss this, kids catch more than you think. I am continually surprised at what my kids catch, pick up and remember. That conversation you think they slept through (and if you have teenagers they may have slept through it), they may have picked up 30% of it.

So, build on that.

4. Give some grace. Regardless, give yourself, your kids and your spouse some grace.

One of the things Katie will often encourage women when it comes to this topic is to be okay with your husband fumbling his way through this. Most husbands (even pastors) are not very good at leading their families spiritually. They have a picture in their mind of what it should look like (but it rarely gets there). They feel like they are failing their wife, boring their kids and failing God. They also feel guilt because they should be doing this and doing it better than they are.

So give grace. Celebrate doing something. When it was a train wreck, say it was a nice train wreck. We survived. Our kids heard the gospel and we tried. And we’ll try again tomorrow.

How to Ask God for Help (Psalm 121)

For most of us, prayer bounces between a plea for help, a running conversation or to-do list with God, a reassurance of God’s power and presence in our lives, a wishlist or a shouting match with God, down to wondering if God has forgotten us.

One of the most common ways we pray is a prayer for help.

Eugene Peterson said, “Trouble is what gets prayer started.”

And that’s true.

We pray out of desperation. We pray because we aren’t sure what else to do. We rend the heavens in hopes that God will hear, that God will move. We pray through tears, mumbling and bumbling from a place of helplessness.

We pray for health, for healing, for relationships to be mended, for kids and parents and spouses to be saved, to be changed. We pray for jobs, for finances. We pray for those close to us who are destroying their lives. We pray for wisdom in decisions.

And in all this, we are often very helpless to bring about an answer.

So, how do you ask God for help? How does He hear?

Psalm 121 gives us the answer:

I lift up my eyes to the hills.
From where does my help come?
My help comes from the LORD,
who made heaven and earth.

He will not let your foot be moved;
he who keeps you will not slumber.
Behold, he who keeps Israel
will neither slumber nor sleep.

The LORD is your keeper;
the LORD is your shade on your right hand.
The sun shall not strike you by day,
nor the moon by night.

The LORD will keep you from all evil;
he will keep your life.
The LORD will keep
your going out and your coming in
from this time forth and forevermore.

Here are four things we learn from this Psalm about asking God for help:

1. Admit your need for help. This seems obvious, but to ask God for help means we are admitting our need for help. We don’t do this naturally. We are naturally self-sufficient, self-assured people. We are raised to handle it, to get it done, to be fine, to not depend on anyone.

The writer of this Psalm is helpless and they know it. They need help.

2. Believe God can and will help. Know where your help comes from.

For many of us, once we exhaust our ability to fix something, we still don’t go to prayer. Maybe there is a book, a sermon, a financial move, a google search I can do, a person I can get advice from. Prayer for too many of us is a last resort.

When we get there, we say, “God, I don’t know if you can help. I don’t know if you care to help. So I’ll look around.”

3. Be patient. The writer of Psalm 121 reminds us to go to sleep. This communicates that sometimes our prayers will take longer than we think but that God will fight for us and work on things, while we sleep.

Sleep is one of the greatest pictures of faith in our lives.

Why?

The time that we worry, are anxious and replay conversations over and over in our minds is at night. We lie there, staring at the clock, thinking about our bank account, our job, our marriage, our kids, our parents. The problems we experience in relationships, worrying about college, bills, health, the list goes on and on. Yet, in that moment there is almost nothing we can do.

The people we are worried about are asleep, the people we would call for help and advice are asleep. The writer of Psalm 121 says, “Go to sleep.”

4. God is over all things. Why can we be patient and go to sleep? Not only because God is our help and never sleeps, but because verses 7 and 8 tell us that God is over all things.

He watches all things. He is not surprised by anything. Nothing catches him off guard.

It ends with a crucial word, forevermore.

Forever is a long time, and yet that is the scope of our God.

Psalm 121 is a prayer to give us confidence to ask God for help and confidence as we wait for that help to come.

How to Pray to a God who is Close (Psalm 23)

When it comes to what we think of God and how close or far He is, I think we too often think of Him as “out there” somewhere. We aren’t sure where, but He often feels further away than close by. This has an enormous effect on our prayer life.

Over and over throughout Scripture, we are told that God is close. That God never leaves us. That God watches over us. That God cares for us.

That God is close.

Psalm 23 is a great example of this.

Often seen as a psalm for funerals or dying, it is a psalm about living. Life is hard. Life hurts. Life is often more down than up, and David tells us from his experience how to experience God in the depths of darkness as well as the heights of celebration.

The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.
He makes me lie down in green pastures.
He leads me beside still waters.
He restores my soul.
He leads me in paths of righteousness
for his name’s sake.

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil,
for you are with me;
your rod and your staff,
they comfort me.

You prepare a table before me
in the presence of my enemies;
you anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
all the days of my life,
and I shall dwell in the house of the LORD
forever.

David describes an incredibly close God.

A shepherd is with his sheep. He is not off somewhere else but is with them. He knows them. He knows if they are sick, eating well, eating too little, if they are young or old.

A shepherd knows what the sheep need so that they do not live in want.

A shepherd leads and the sheep follow. The sheep do not arrive anywhere the shepherd does not want them to.

When the shepherd leads, the sheep find food, water and rest. In the shepherd is found life and rest. Many of us find ourselves tired, rundown, barely hanging on instead of living, and yet God invites us to follow Him to rest and life.

How?

David tells us in verse 3 that God restores us. God picks us up. God cleans us off. For the person who feels unloved, who feels dirty, abandoned, not worth anything, this verse is a beautiful picture of God’s grace towards us.

Why does God do this?

To get our lives on the right paths, His paths.

As if that weren’t enough, God does not leave us. God walks with us.

We walk through the valley of the shadow of death.

We don’t stay there. We don’t walk into it, we walk through it. With God. Through the power of God.

There is an ebb and flow to prayer and the Christian life. David starts with comfort and God’s provision, things that help us see the character of God as we walk in new ways of His grace. That grace is just as real, and that grace is the same when we walk through the dark valleys. For many of us, we need the grace of the first few verses to believe the grace that God has for us when the storms roll in.

The rod and staff of a shepherd were used for protection of the sheep, warding off predators, but they were also used to keep the sheep together, in line and to discipline the sheep if necessary. In all this, God’s protection and discipline are a comfort.

How can David say this?

Because they keep me on the path that God has for me. They get me to where God wants me.

David ends with a powerful statement: Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life.

If we don’t understand David’s life, we miss the power of this statement. For David, life was not good. Many times King Saul tried to kill him. The whole Philistine army (the most powerful army of the day) chased him to kill him. They killed his best friend, Jonathan. He lost a baby with Bathsheba. His favorite son Absalom stole his throne, and David was overthrown and had to flee for his life. Then Absalom was killed. For David, life was hard, painful, difficult and full of loss.

Yet because God was close, because God walked with him, he was able to face life and pray to his God.

Here’s my challenge for you this week. Use Psalm 23 as a prayer guide:

  • Simply read through the Psalm several times in one sitting.
  • Whatever word or phrase that jumps out to you, ask God why that stood out. Is there something happening in your life that God wants you to think about or draw your attention to? Is there something about yourself or God that the Holy Spirit wants to make you aware of?
  • Throughout your day (when you’re standing in line, waiting for a meeting, etc.), ask God to remind you of His closeness to you.

The Silence of God (Psalm 13)

Oswald Chambers said, “Has God trusted you with His silence— a silence that has great meaning? God’s silences are actually His answers. Just think of those days of absolute silence in the home at Bethany! Is there anything comparable to those days in your life? Can God trust you like that, or are you still asking Him for a visible answer?”

While we often think God’s silence means He has abandoned us or left us, that is not true. God’s silence does not equal God’s absence.

But what do we do in those moments?

God is inviting us into something through His silence, just like He does through His leadings, promptings and moves in our lives.

Philip Yancey in his book Prayer: Does It Make Any Difference? gives some helpful steps on how to handle the silence of God or what seems like unanswered prayer:

1. Do I have any sins to confess? Many times our distance with God is because of unconfessed sin. When we struggle to move forward in relationships, when we struggle to hear God, to find freedom in our lives, it is because of our sin that we are carrying around; bitterness we haven’t let go of, people we still blame, situations we replay in our minds, and secrets we keep hidden.

2. What are my motives for prayer? Many times we pray to get something, to become rich or to have an easier life. We want God on our terms, and when this happens we miss God. This is why God feels distant. We aren’t looking for God, we are looking for a version of God we’ve created.

In this, are you listening to God or just talking to God? Too often our prayer life is one way, me just telling God what I want, what I need, what He can do. I’m not asking Him questions, I’m not listening to Him.

Another one I’ll have people say is, “I asked God about ______ (and in the blank is always something God has already told us the answer to in the Bible), but He didn’t answer.” Of course not; He’s already given you an answer. Why does He need to tell you again?

3. Am I pursuing results rather than closeness with God? I said earlier that the writers of Scripture spend little time answering why suffering happens and more time on what suffering, pain and silence produce in us. It produces perseverance, character, patience, hope, joy and so on.

4. Is God preparing me for something? Often God is using our spiritual dryness for something in the future. I read once that a vintner refuses to irrigate his vines because the stress caused by occasional drought produces the best, most tasty grapes. Seasons of dryness make the roots run deep, strengthening the vine for whatever the future holds.

5. Pray with others. This is the power of community, praying together and sharing evidences of God’s grace. When you sit with your RC and share how you have seen God work in your life, and you can’t think of any, but the person next to you shares several, yes, you will get mad at first. Why isn’t God moving in my life like He is yours? Why isn’t God answering my prayers? But you will also start to see that even when you can’t see God at work in your life, He is at work.

I saw this in my life about 18 months ago. Our church was growing, we were meeting on the east side in a school and things were going well. We were outgrowing our space, so we moved to a larger school, and in six months half our church had left. It hurt. People I was close to said everything had changed and left. It rocked my confidence, made me question my leadership. Should I quit Revolution? Did I make a wrong choice? Was I a bad leader? During this time, every pastor I met was leading a church that was growing. I was watching ours shrink.

I asked God why, and nothing.

Slowly I stopped asking why and I started asking God what He wanted to show me and what He wanted to invite me into. I began to see His invitation to know His love for me, which seemed like an odd answer because at the time it had very little to do with Revolution. And yet my relationship with God is deeper than ever before, my heart towards God and people is softer than ever before. Could that happen without losing my confidence? Maybe, but God saw that as the best way forward for me. Many times God’s perceived silence is to draw us deeper into Him. The dark place you are in might be God’s invitation to you to meet Him there. You will not walk out the same.

Henry Blackaby said, “You can respond to the silence of God in two ways. One response is for you to go into depression, a sense of guilt and self-condemnation. The other response is for you to have an expectation that God is about to bring you to a deeper knowledge of Himself. These responses are as different as night and day.”

James, the brother of Jesus, says in the New Testament, “Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you.” James does not give us a time line on this promise, just that it is a promise.

Too often the reason we miss God is our rush for something to happen, for something to change.

Frequently God’s silence is an invitation for us to stop, to slow down, to meet God and do some hard heart work. This can be painful and is often why we try to skip out of it. Yet, just like we will miss out on God’s best if we don’t follow His leadings, we will miss out on His best for us if we don’t follow His silence.

God has not Forgotten You (Psalm 8)

Forgotten. Lost. Abandoned. Rejected. Left out. Passed over.

These words describe so many of the emotions that run through our lives. Parents who left us. A spouse who walked out on us. A parent who never said, “I love you.” A child who wants nothing to do with you. A boss who didn’t give you a promotion. A missed college opportunity. The feeling that you have no friends.

No matter how old we get, no matter how far we run or hide in relationships, we still find ourselves left out. At the very least, we find ourselves missing out.

These reasons and emotions draw us to pray. They pull us out of ourselves to seek God. This is one reason why the book of Psalms is so loved in people’s lives. It gives voice to the emotions we carry and the hurt we don’t know what to do with.

What has struck me so far in preaching through Psalms has been the number of psalms of lament, but also their placement with other psalms.

Psalms 3 – 7 and 9 – 13 are psalms of lament. Right in the middle is Psalm 8 where there is a celebration, as if a reminder that the sun does rise, the storm does end, the pain does not last forever. So in the midst of living in dark places and feeling alone, it does change. It is also a reminder for those who experience Psalm 8 and are celebrating and in the midst of joy that Psalm 9 is coming, and the sun will go down and life will happen in a way we did not expect or plan for.

What David does in Psalm 8 is important.

In verse 3 he recalls back to creation: “When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place.” He describes the intentionality of God’s creation, that it was not thrown together by his hands but done with the creativity and details of his fingers. He was involved and purposeful.

Then in verse 4 he lays out what is an incredible verse: “What is man that you are mindful of him, and the son of man that you care for him?”

Many of us feel forgotten, lost, left out and not cared for, not only by those around us, but by God.

Imagine right now that the God of the universe thinks of you and cares for you.

But what does that mean?

If you think of someone, if you are mindful of them, you are in a relationship with them. You know their celebrations and joys as well as their low points and pains. You remember the last good cry you had with them and the last time you laughed so hard it hurt. You know what they are dealing with, dreaming about and hoping for.

That is God’s relationship to you.

Not only that, he cares for you. He not only knows what you are walking through but cares what you are walking through.

Never again forgotten.

This is the foundation of the Christian life, that you are loved by God.

The foundation of following Jesus is not what you bring to Jesus, what you do for Jesus, how much you know about Jesus, how many Bible tests you can ace, how often you read your Bible, how much you pray or anything you do. Those are responses to God’s love.

The beginning steps of following Jesus are, “I am a beloved child of God.”

I am loved by God.

While many people say they believe this and will quote a verse or two, from my own personal life and being a pastor for almost two decades, few people live like this is a reality.

We spend so much time trying to earn God’s love and proving Jesus right for dying for us.

The only thing we did for that to happen was be broken and sinful.

What David does in this Psalm, though, is incredible. He tells us how we will remember this.

It is easy to forget that God thinks of you and cares for you. It is easy to think that God does those things because we do something or we are more spiritual or something else moves the needle on that.

David says when you and I look at creation, we will be reminded of God’s love, care and thought of us.

When you look at the mountains, the sun, the moon, the stars, you will be reminded. He takes everyday things, things we see on a daily basis, knowing that we need a daily reminder of God’s love for us.

The next time you watch a beautiful sunrise or sunset, that is a reminder of God’s love, care and thought of you.

The next time you see mountains covered in snow or rise above the clouds, that is a reminder of God’s love, care and thought of you.

The next time you see the trees change colors, that is a reminder of God’s love, care and thought of you.

The next time you put your feet in sand and let the ocean rush over them, that is a reminder of God’s love, care and thought of you.

Daily things.

Why?

We forget. We run. We hide. We keep God at arm’s length. We try to be impressive. We are so used to living forgotten, invisible lives that David wants us to know we are invisible no more. We are unloved no more. We are forgotten no more.

Is Every Open Door God’s Will?

Often when we think about God’s will, we think about it in very mystical terms. It is floating out there waiting for us to find it, much like a unicorn. Everyone is seeking, few have found it but if you do, it changes everything.

On the other side, we try to make it as practical as possible. Simply look for open doors. If a door is open, that must be God’s will, a mentor told me once.

Every open door?

Some doors that are open to us are God’s will and others aren’t.

I want to speak to the person who stares at open doors.

Too often we miss God’s will because we are looking at an open door just waiting.

What are we waiting for?

For conclusive proof. For God to make it obvious. For God to take away every other door so we know which of four doors in front of us to walk through.

Yet faith doesn’t work this way. Yes, God gives us obvious ways to follow His plan in the Bible. We know that every follower of Jesus is to use his gifts and talents for the glory of God. Where and how are not spelled out. Part of the adventure of faith is the risk of those steps.

Instead of staring at open doors wondering, “Is this the one?”, walk forward. Take a hold of the handle and see if it stays open and what God has on the other side.

Loving Your Neighbor

Serving is something some of us do well and others do grudgingly. It is easier to do when it is someone we love or someone we like, or who is like us or can give back to us. We love those people and we love serving those people.

Yet according to the gospels, lots of people love those people.

What makes being a follower of Jesus different, and one of the evidences of a changed life, is a willingness to serve people who can’t repay us, people not like us, people who are difficult or need a lot of grace.

In fact, when we serve we remind ourselves of the grace that God extended to us. You are hard to love, your life was (and maybe still is) a mess, you can’t repay God (although you try with all your might). Yet, God extended and continues to extend grace to you. Why? Love.

Everything starts with the love God has for you. Being loved by God is hard to wrap our minds around. What does God expect in return? What do you have to do so that God will love you? Will He hold out on love for you like a parent did? Will He love you more if you perform well? These all make sense in our minds, and yet all these things miss the character and depth of God’s love for us.

God doesn’t love you more based on your performance, and He doesn’t hold out on you. He gives His love and grace to you through His Son, and you did nothing outside of being broken and stuck in your sin for Him to extend it to you.

What did the man in the Good Samaritan parable do to get help? Well, he needed to need help. Right now God has placed someone in your life who needs help. Someone who is stuck and sitting on the side of the road of life unsure of how to move forward or wondering if they can move forward. Maybe they feel like their life, marriage or career is over. (Remember, if no one helped the man on the road to Jericho in Luke 10, there’s a good chance he would’ve died.)

Who will help that person in your life?

In our selfishness, we think someone else will come along. Yet, God sent you. You are there. You are their friend, their child, their parent, they are in your community group, they work next to you. You are there.

Will God send someone else if we overlook them? Maybe. God sent three people to help the man on the side of the road in Luke 10.

But our call, based on the love God has extended to us, is to extend that same love to those around us.

Is that messy? Yes. Is that easy? No. Will that cost you something? Yes. Is the grace God extended to you messy? Yes. Was it easy? No. Did it cost God something? Yes.

This week, today, tomorrow, you have a tangible opportunity to show someone what the grace and love of God are like. The grace and love of God that have been given to you.

Can Suffering Bring Any Joy or Happiness?

suffering

Contrary to what might be expected, I look back on experiences that at the time seemed especially desolating and painful with particular satisfaction. Indeed, I can say with complete truthfulness that everything I have learned in my 75 years in this world, everything that has truly enhanced and enlightened my existence, has been through affliction and not through happiness, whether pursued or attained. In other words, if it ever were to be possible to eliminate affliction from our earthly existence by means of some drug or other medical mumbo jumbo…the result would not be to make life delectable, but to make it too banal and trivial to be endurable. This, of course, is what the Cross signifies. And it is the Cross, more than anything else, that has called me inexorably to Christ. -Malcolm Muggeridge

A Prayerful Response to the Election

As we move towards the election, many of us have different thoughts about it, the candidates and the direction of our country. Some are excited, some are fearful, some are indifferent. Elections create joy and anxiety for different people.

As followers of Jesus, we are to engage politics in a unique, distinct and attractive way.

But how do we do that?

One of the ways we can do that is by focusing ourselves through praying the Lord’s Prayer.

election

Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name.

God is our good and gracious Father who always does what is good, right and perfect. A father cares deeply for his children, and our heavenly Father cares deeply for His creation.

Acknowledging that God is Father also reminds us that God is in charge. That our God is in heaven, and nothing happens without His direction and permission. While we may not always understand or agree with His direction or permission, we can rest knowing His care for us as a Father.

Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.

We are reminded that ultimately God’s kingdom will come. God’s will will be done. Nothing can thwart that.

Regardless of the election results, we know that God is still God and Jesus is still on the throne, on earth as it is in heaven.

This is great comfort to a follower of Jesus.

Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.

This line helps us to remember where our needs get met and what God has done for us.

This also reminds us of where our response comes from, that we are to engage politics in a unique, distinct and attractive way. We can do this because we know that on our own, we live unforgiven, debt ridden lives. This allows us to extend the forgiveness we have received to those around us.

election

And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.

We are tempted to be evil when it comes to politics. We are tempted to repay evil with evil. We also need to be delivered from evil because there is evil in our world (although not always in the places we think).

This is a reminder of our fallenness apart from Jesus and our need for His grace. This reminds us of not only our need, but also that Jesus is the only deliverer. Not a political party, not a candidate, a policy or a platform. While those are tools God can and does use, they cannot save us and deliver us.

For yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory, forever.

This last line sums it up well. God is in control, forever and ever. All the kingdom, the power and the glory go to Him. Regardless of what happens in a culture or election, we can rest knowing we can live knowing that.