Fifty-Seven Words That Change the World:
A Journey Through the Lordís Prayer.
By Darrell W. Johnson.
Vancouver, British Columbia:
Regent College Publishing, 2005, pp. 119.
Review by Dr Ng Peh Cheng

The Jesusí Prayer is also known as the Lordís Prayer or the Prayer the Lord taught His disciples when they asked, "Lord, teach us to pray" (Luke 11:1). The Lord replied,

This, then, is how you should pray:

Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come,
your will be done
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
Forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from the evil one (Matthew 6:9-13).

Darrell Johnson is amazed that the first disciples did not ask for the gifts or spiritual techniques to preach, to heal, to lead, to teach, to counsel or to exorcise. The one thing they would like to have, "learning how to pray," captures their sincere request for true spirituality. Truly, they are asking, "Jesus, will you teach us how to relate to the one you call ĎFatherí the way you do?" (p. 12). The author explains (p.12),

Perhaps it is because they could see that Jesusí leading, counseling, healing, casting out [demons] and preaching ministry emerged out of his relationship with his "Father." And they could see that the key to that relationship was prayer. Jesus, after all, was always slipping away to pray (Luke 5:16).

Darrell treasures the Lordís Prayer as the "most wonderful gift Jesus has given us" and, with great earnest, he invites us to go on a journey to unwrap the precious gems of knowledge to enrich our prayer lifestyle. It is a journey of knowing how to pray in a manner that will please the Living God, that will draw us "deeper into the concern of the Triune God" and that will make us Godís "movers and shakers" in the transformation of the world (pp. 13-15 ).

The journey covers the fifty-seven words of the Lordís Prayer in the original Greek of Matthewís gospel. The Prayer has two sets of petitions. The first set (petitions one to three) uses the pronoun "your" to deal with earthly realities. In the second set (petitions four to six), Jesus uses the pronoun "us" to encompass the physical, social and other dimensions of human need.

In the first petition, the significance of addressing God as the Father and the meaning of "hallowed" receive extensive discussion in chapter 2. The name, "Father" identifies who our God is and what He is like. The word, "hallowed" relates to the adjective "holy" but has a deeper meaning of being "made real." Therefore, when we pray that Godí name will be made real on earth (p. 30), we are following the example of Jesus whose "identity and mission" centre on seeing the Fatherís name be hallowed on earth as it is in heaven.

In the second petition, Jesus is calling us to ask the Father to "establish his reign in the world so that He, and He alone, rules the nations of the earth," and "to hasten the coming of the Day of the Lord" to "bring in a whole new world order, to hasten the day of new creation!" (pp. 44-108). The author encourages us to be bold to exercise our privilege to invite God to invade and occupy the earth, "your kingdom come" (p. 44).

The third petition, "Your will be done" is not asking God for power to do His will but, "Father, you do your will" (p. 57). "What is the Fatherís will?" Darrell answers the question in chapter four.

The second set of petitions begins with "Give us today our daily bread." Jesus changes the pronoun from "your" to "us" and "our." The prayer looks simple but the entire chapter five focuses on answering two questions, "What does the prayer mean?" and "What happens to the way we live?"

The fifth petition is the boldest of the Lordís Prayer - asking God to cancel all our debts. The exposition on the definition of "debt" and the meaning of "as" in "as we also have forgiven our debtors" is in chapter six.

Christians may be puzzled by the sixth petition, "And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one." The uncertainty is, "Would God lead us into temptation?" It is extremely helpful that Darrell explains the two different meanings associated with the Greek word, "peirasmos," translated as "temptation." The two words are "test" and "temptation" (p. 92).

A test is something meant to prove a personís character and, in the process, improve it.

A temptation is meant to entice a person to sin, to bring a person down in some way.

A peirasmos is a difficult or challenging situation in life, which can either be a test, proving and improving a personís character, or a temptation, enticing a person into the way of sin. Whether it is a test or a temptation depends on who is behind it and how we respond.

Chapter seven examines why we believe that "God does not tempt anyone, but he does test everyone" and the strategies "Satan uses to turn a test into a temptation."

The paraphrase provided by the author aptly describes the sixth petition:

Our Father in heaven, as you lead us to the test, do not let the test become a temptation, but rescue us from the one who seeks to destroy our faith and work in us the same confidence in you that Jesus has. Amen.

The journey through the Lordís Prayer gives valuable insights to conceptualize how the reality of heaven comes down upon earth to effect changes in the contemporary world. Darrellís deep passion for preaching and pastoral work helps to make the book practical and relevant for sharpening the spiritual discipline of prayer. He ends the book by blessing us with his gift of communicating the profound truths of the Lordís Prayer in laymanís terms.

Our Father,
very close at hand,
on the throne of the universe:
Be hallowed (!) your name,
on earth as it is in heaven;
Come (!) your kingdom,
on earth as it is in heaven:
Be done (!) your will,
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day all we need to be your people.
Cancel our debts,
as we have cancelled the debts of our debtors.
And as you lead us to the test,
do no let the test become a temptation,
but rescue us from the twisting wiles of the evil-one.
(He wants us to think that you are not as good as Jesus says you are.)
All this, and more, you can do,
for yours is the kingdom,
and the power
and the glory.
Forever!
So be it.

BGST GENERAL
 FUND UPDATE

Operating expenses for Aug 2006

$ 51,000

Balance in General Fund as at 1st Aug 2006

$ 17,471

Funds received to-date (11st Aug)

$ 29,582

Balance to raise for Aug 2006

$ 3,947

Total Budgetted Operating Expenses for Sept to Dec 2006

 

$255,660

Balance to raise for the rest of 2006

$259,607

 

CHAPEL

Dr Tan Lai Yong was the speaker on 16 August. He blessed us with a creative presentation of the Lordís work through his vocation and ministry in Yunnan.

Chapel speaker on August 23 will be Mr Benny Fang.

NEWS BITS


1. New Admissions. Graduate Diploma in Christian Studies Programme.

  • Mr Wong Choon Yew is a member of Kay Poh Road Baptist Church and his church invlovement includes leading youths and teaching in the Sunday school. He is a graduate of Murdoch University, (Bachelor of Communications) and has had several years of work experience in the secular and Christian organizations.

  • Mr Lim Chin Ann, David is a social worker and a graduate of Southern Illinois University, USA (Bachelor of Science). He is a member of Covenant Evangelical Free Church and has had ministry experience in leading worship, discipling, evangelism, community work and cell group.

2. New Testament 
Foundations II (NT102)
The four tutorial sessions have been arranged on the following dates: 
Sept 11, Oct 9, Nov 13, Dec 11; time: 8pm-10pm; venue: 31 Tanjong Pagar Rd (2nd floor).

3. Tentmakers & Ethical Issues (TENT module) will commence next Tuesday (August 22) at 31 Tanjong Pagar Rd, time: 7.30-10.00pm. If you are interested to join this class, please call us at tel. 62276815 by August 21.

A Blessed 
Birthday to ... 

Dr Chia Hwee Pin 21/8

Mr Joseph Heng 22/8

Mr Francis Lim 23/8

Dr Peggy Yeo 25/8

Mr Roland Ho 25/8

Ms Tan Yeow Khuan 25/8

Mr Sim Cher Khee 25/8

Ms Christina Swee 26/8

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