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Core 52: Chapter 20 - You are...

I remember in the mid 90s a new praise song I heard at camp. It was the really cool, yet simple song that was sung in an echo pattern (one group sings a line, the second group echoes the same thing), then a unison pattern (everyone singing the same thing together and a final portion of the song “in the round (two groups singing two different sets of lyrics at the same time, then ending in unison together).  If you are familiar with any of the up and coming music from that period of time, you have probably guessed by now what song it is.  It is the song “You are Holy,” by Marc Imboden, and I must have led this song, sang this song and tried to figure out how to get all the lyrics on one overhead sheet too many times to count.

To me, the simplicity of the song lies in the direct and concise statements regarding the various descriptions of God – who He is and what He will do or has done.  Here are some of the lyrics (after reading this, you know you’re going straight to Google to look up the rest of the song AND you know you’ll be singing it the rest of the day!  Be forewarned!)
You are holy (echo)/You are mighty(echo)/You are worthy(echo)/Worthy of praise(echo)
And later on in the bridge… “He is Lord of lords, He is King of kings, He is mighty God, Lord of everything
What a great song of praise – simple, yet concise and honoring of our God. Well done, Mr. Imboden. Thanks for blessing us with this gift to guide us in our adoration of our Lord, God, Savior and King.

In this week’s CORE 52 essay from Mark Moore, he addresses the topic of Prayer and asks the question, “How should I pray?”  Now, if you have any history or experience growing up in a faith community, you probably already know where this is going – The Lord’s Prayer from Matthew 6:9-13.  Often referred to as the “model prayer,” Jesus shows us – not with words to repeat or recite, but with patterns to follow – how to pray.

Mr. Moore points out the first pattern to follow is in the very first word Jesus says in this prayer: Father. Our prayer and our communication with our Maker, Creator, Sustainer and Savior should always begin or most certainly include a reminder of the relationship we have with God in heaven – He is our Father. I find it ironic when Mr. Moore reminds us of this new concept to the audience who at that time had probably only referred to Abraham as “father” and most certainly not Yahweh God.

Here Jesus makes clear the desire of God our Father to be in relationship with us, to be in community with us.  He has no desire to sit on a throne and be adored from a long distance. No, He longs for relationship and community and fellowship like that of a Father with His children.
I think an effective way to help us with that is to include a reminder and a moment of recognition of who God is, and Mr. Moore suggests a great way to do that. He suggests for us to praise God and recognize who God is by simply completing two sentences each day – and not just in our prayers, but in our daily thoughts as well. Basically, think of it as a way to play “fill-in-the-blank” all day long with God. Here are the two phrases:
  • You are (adjective)______________.
  • You (verb) ________________ with excellence (or vary it by saying “for me”).
  • For example: You are holy. You provide forgiveness for me.
Which brings me back to that wonderful song from the 90s (okay, so everything from the 90s wasn’t bad) by Mr. Imboden. Maybe your prayer today can begin with the words to this song. Maybe your prayers can begin by remembering who He is and what He has already done for you. Maybe when we are reminded of who God is and what He has done, we will be a little more comfortable, a little more eager, a little more confident in taking our needs, requests, concerns and burdens to Him.

One last thing from the reading this week that sums up the concept of offering praise to God in our prayers and in our daily thoughts. He says, “When we magnify the nature and holiness of God, it changes the tone of prayer from mere petition to praise, from expectation to exaltation” (p.135).
Begin your day with praise and exaltation of God your Father, and go with expectation that He will indeed hear your petitions today.