HEAD TO THE HEART // Mike Maitlen

I believe God isn't satisfied with us learning about Him on Sundays. He wants to translate that teaching from our heads down into our hearts, and the way He does that is through prayer and intimacy with Him—on Monday.

Reflecting on Sunday's message on the Lord's Prayer, what stood out most was Pastor Josh’s passion for prayer. It’s not until we have a passion for prayer and intimacy with Christ‚through prayer and reading His word—that this movement from our head to our hearts is going to spill over and out into the streets of Brooklyn, Manhattan and beyond. We don’t have a passion for things or people we’re not invested in.

I prayed The Lord’s Prayer for the first time in a great while Monday morning and it deeply moved me. I thought I’d share my experience below. 

It was bound to happen. I’d built up so many walls in recent months that any form of intimacy, vulnerability or trust was sure to open the floodgates. 

“Our Father."

Deep breaths.

He says, "You’re not alone." I was moved to tears just at these words.

“In heaven.” 

My chest began to thump. Deep breaths, it’ll be okay. 

He’s above all, looking and watching over us, but He’s also near to you and me. 

“Your name is holy." 

With this declaration the dam surrounding my heart burst, and the reservoir of burdens I’d accumulated spilled through the cracks, finally finding relief I wasn’t even aware I needed. I’m reminded of the beautiful promise of intimacy James declares, “Draw near to God and he will draw near to you” (James 4:8). 

“Your kingdom come."

More sobs, more silent heaves, along with the realization that I’ve been building my own kingdom and my own empire. Sounds silly in retrospect, but at the time, isolation and Netflix and another girl and another drink all seemed like worthy medicine for an aching heart.

“Your will be done."

The open heart surgery was well underway. More than just a prayer, I was repenting. When was the last time I asked our Father what His will was in a situation? When exactly did I stop surrendering to His will in my life? The sad truth is I know when it started—the moment I stopped being vulnerable with God, friends and family with the most intimate parts of my life. It’s difficult, perhaps impossible, to be vulnerable in community if you’re not vulnerable with your Savior. 

This is one of the toughest parts of the prayer to pray because if we truly mean it, we’re committing to build His kingdom rather than our own. This portion was what kept Jesus’ gaze fixed on the cross. 

"On earth as it is in heaven."

Father, let us be walking kingdom builders on this earth in this city you’ve entrusted to us. 

“Give us this day our daily bread."

This one hurt the most because in my heart of hearts I don’t yet trust God as my provider of finances. Healing? Sure. Hope? Definitely. But money? I’ve never seen comfort or abundance in this area. And it strikes a specific nerve right now because I’m learning what it’s like to give a car back to the bank because I got in over my head. This one hurts because I judge provision by what’s in my bank account. This one hurts because I’ve spent the last five years of my life in an industry I have zero passion for, meanwhile justifying it to myself, my peers and God by saying “but it pays well.” I’m learning that building a financial empire for the sake of security is ultimately lifeless. Father, show me how finances work in your kingdom and help me to trust you for all my needs. 

Then the Holy Spirit reminds me, "For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what shall a man give in return for his soul?" (Mark 8:36)

“Forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors.”

In this moment I realize in the light of His grace and forgiveness I have zero rights to hold offense against anyone. Freely I have received, how could I not freely give? 

“Lead me not into temptation but deliver me from evil."

Doubt enters my mind because we both know how many times I’ve given in. Yet, Your grace covers all, Lord, so keep me from temptation. Plant me firmly in your house. Fix my gaze on you—on the wonderful cross. Help me to see the way out when temptation arises. Help me to build intentional relationships that keep me accountable.

“For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory, forever and ever. Amen."

Father, let the kingdom of my heart mirror the kingdom of heaven. Jesus, may you sit front and center with the Father on the throne of my heart. Let my heart worship in reverence of the goodness of our Father. May my heart be filled with joy and sing with the angels because Christ has overcome sin and death and this world. May it be filled with the courage of heaven—the courage to surrender and the courage to follow Your lead.