Thy Kingdom Come

During this Lenten season my congregation and I have been engaged in a “Back to Basics” process. We are looking at how to put our faith first and central in our day to day decisions and actions.

Now, you might think that’s a “no-brainer” for a Christian pastor and the church he serves but it is an acknowledgment on our part as to how easy it can be to merely “talk the talk” and not “walk the walk” of our faith.

One way we have been getting at this is to explore the Lord’s Prayer in depth.

Christians pray it so often – weekly – perhaps even daily. That is exactly why it is good, now and then, to slow down and really ponder what it means.

This past week we talked about how, when faced with so many difficult world issues, we can begin to question what God’s will means – and if it is God’s will that such terrible things happen.

We also looked at whether we might be hesitant, in light of that, to earnestly pray “Thy Will Be Done.”

We explored how there are certainly things that happen in life that we can hardly understand – yet we are willing, in faith, to accept that even their occurrence fits somehow into God’s ultimate purposes and the way God has set the universe in order. Also, we looked at how perhaps praying “Thy Will Be Done” is largely saying we want, as best as we can, to align our free will with God’s will – even setting it aside – to follow faithfully.

How about for you? Do you struggle at times with how God is working out God’s ultimate purposes? Do you struggle with aligning your own desires and “will” with God’s? If so, you are certainly not alone.

Be patient with yourself. Rely on your faith. Allow the questions to come – and ask God to help you find answers. Most of all, when you pray, quietly listen for God’s guidance.

Not a bad way to spend the Lenten season.

By Paul Simrell

The Reverend Paul W. Simrell has served for over thirty years in a variety of congregational and institutional settings. He is a recognized minister with standing in the Virginia region of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in the United States and Canada and is nationally endorsed by the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) for specialized ministry in both pastoral counseling and chaplaincy. Ordained in 1982, he has served congregations in Kentucky, Texas, Florida, and Virginia. He currently serves as the pastor of Elpis Christian Church, a small, historic congregation located just a few miles west of Richmond, Virginia. “Elpis” is the Greek word for “expectant hope.” He is a graduate of the University of Florida and Lexington Theological Seminary and has done advanced clinical training in chaplaincy and pastoral counseling at the University of Kentucky Medical Center in Lexington, Kentucky, Children’s Medical Center and Parkland Hospital in Dallas, Texas and the Virginia Institute of Pastoral Care in Richmond, Virginia. He is a Certified Pastoral Counselor, an ACPE Practitioner, a member of the American Association of Christian Counselors, and a member of Spiritual Directors International. He is a Certified Facilitator of the Prepare-Enrich relationship assessment and skills-building program and served as a volunteer chaplain for over twenty years with the CJW Medical Center campuses in Richmond, Virginia. His avocational interests include playing the piano and drawing. He is very happily married to his wife Elizabeth Yeamans Simrell, a free-lance writer, who is also a Certified Facilitator for the Prepare-Enrich program. Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter. — Izaak Walton

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