“He lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said . . .”
The Scripture Knowledge Contest
So there were these two guys leaving of church after the service one Sunday morning. And as they walked out they began to disagree with one another about who was the most knowledgeable Christian.
The first guy says to the second guy: “I bet you don’t even know the Lord’s prayer.”
The second guy says: “Of course I do!”
The first guy says: “I’ll bet you ten bucks you don’t know it.”
The second guy says: “OK, you’re on.”
The first guy says: “Well, say it then!”
So the second guy clears his throat and says:
Now I lay me down to sleep.
I pray the Lord my soul to keep.
If I should die before I wake,
I pray the Lord my soul to take.
Then the first guy says: “Well what do you know — looks like I owe you ten dollars.”
What We Call The Lord’s Prayer
Of course most every Christian has a strong tradition of calling the prayer from Matthew chapter 6 and Luke chapter 11 “the Lord’s prayer.” Jesus’ disciples said to him, “Lord, teach us to pray . . .”
And Jesus said, “When you pray, say:”
Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name.
Your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread,
and forgive us our debts,
as we also forgive our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.
A clear and direct request, “teach us to pray,” with a clear and direct answer from Jesus. When it comes to this prayer, you’re probably like me. I love this prayer. I think it’s beautiful and I pray these words or very similar words often.
But the way we label this prayer “the Lord’s prayer” might be a little inaccurate. Because this is the way our Lord instructed us to pray. I’m sure Jesus himself doesn’t pray these words because he doesn’t have any debts, and he doesn’t need to be forgiven. The whole world is indebted to Jesus for what he’s done. He, never having sinned, owes no one.
The Best Prayer Ever Prayed?
Some people call John chapter 17 the high ground of the New Testament. I believe it should be regarded as so, because here we have Jesus praying to his Father from his heart in the hour of his betrayal. In a real sense, this, Jesus’ prayer in John 17, is the Lord’s prayer. This is the prayer of Jesus, for the work of his Father, for Jesus himself, for his disciples, and for all Christ followers down through the ages to come.
Emulation and Imitation
Many of you have already read much of the content from this blog that makes up the book Love Like Jesus. If you have, you already know I’ve found emulation and imitation to be a powerful way to change who I am. One time I did a bunch of research and found an L.A. Fire Department Battalion Chief who was one of the best incident commanders in the world. I made a trip to L.A. and spent a twenty-four hour shift with him picking his brain. When I play the the MMORPG Eve Online video game, I imitate my son Gabe. To become a better writer, I like to read C. S. Lewis, Francis Chan, Bob Goff, James Joyce, Drew Dyck, Brant Hansen, and Tim Keller with the hope their writing will influence what I share.
When you study the greats in writing, or sports, or business, you’ll often find they emulated and imitated one or more of the greats before them.
But when it comes to imitation and emulation, I can’t think of a better man to emulate than Jesus Christ. We’ll take a closer look at his prayer from John chapter 17 next Saturday and we’ll find out what Jesus dedicated his life to, and what he accomplished during his time walking the earth. It’s a rich passage for anyone desiring to follow in the footsteps of Jesus, for anyone who wants to change who they are by emulating him.
The One Thing to Emulate
But today, I just want to leave you with one thing. And if you forget everything else I’ve shared today, I hope you’ll remember this:
Jesus spent his life talking to his guys about God.
And now, here in John 17, we see Jesus talking to God about his guys.
The best men I know emulate Jesus in this way.
I hope I can live and lead like this.
I hope you will too.
Coming in February of 2020:
Love Like Jesus: How Jesus Loved People (and how you can love like Jesus)
Love Like Jesus begins with the story of how after a life of regular church attendance and Bible study, Bennett was challenged by a pastor to study Jesus. That led to an obsessive seven year deep dive. After pouring over Jesus’ every interaction with another human being, he realized he was doing a much better job of studying Jesus’ words than he was following Jesus’ words and example. The honest and fearless revelations of Bennett’s own moral failures affirm he wrote this book for himself as much as for others.
Love Like Jesus examines a variety of stories, examples, and research, including:
- Specific examples of how Jesus communicated God’s love to others.
- How Jesus demonstrated all five of Gary Chapman’s love languages (and how you can too).
- The story of how Billy Graham extended Christ’s extraordinary love and grace toward a man who misrepresented Jesus to millions.
- How to respond to critics the way Jesus did.
- How to love unlovable people the way Jesus did.
- How to survive a life of loving like Jesus (or how not to become a Christian doormat).
- How Jesus didn’t love everyone the same (and why you shouldn’t either).
- How Jesus guarded his heart by taking care of himself–he even napped–and why you should do the same.
- How Jesus loved his betrayer Judas, even to the very end.
With genuine unfiltered honesty, Love Like Jesus, shows you how to live a life according to God’s definition of success: A life of loving God well, and loving the people around you well too.
A life of loving like Jesus.
(Kindle, hardcover, and paperback are scheduled to come out in 2020.)