By Shannon Baker, BCM/D National Correspondent
TOWSON, Md.—The power of the “Lord’s Prayer” does not come in saying the 15-second prayer, shared Charles Roesel, presidential ambassador for the North American Mission Board and pastor emeritus of Leesburg Church, in Leesburg, Fla.
The power comes in praying it, he said.
Roesel, a keynote speaker for the opening session of the Nov. 8-10 annual meeting of the Baptist Convention of Maryland/Delaware in Towson, Md., exposited on the familiar passage of Matthew 6:9-14, where Jesus taught His disciples to pray. He focused on the attitudes that one must have if he or she wants answers to prayers.
First, “you must have love of God in your heart,” Roesel shared, pointing to the first word of the prayer, “Our.” He explained the focus must be on others and that Christians should love those who are different, dirty, diseased, and difficult.
Roesel shared about his longtime church, First, Leesburg, which has a ministry village with a rescue mission, women’s shelter, two children’s homes, a pregnancy care center, clothes closet, food pantry, medical center, AIDS clinic, counseling center and a day care center.
Troubled people can become one of your greatest friends, he said.
Pointing to the next prayer, “Hallowed be your name,” Roesel urged his listeners to praise God for what He is doing.
“We begin in love and continue in faith,” he said, acknowledging that the modern church can do everything even if God didn’t exist.
“I, for one, am sick and tired of man-made stuff,” he said, stressing that it must be the power of God’s Holy Spirit that leads churches.
In the next prayer, “Thy kingdom Come,” Roesel noted that Christians can read the book of Revelation alongside today’s newspapers and see the scripture happening right before their eyes.
“If you have any witness to give, now is the time to do so,” he stressed.
Now 73, Roesel shared that he has more opportunities since turning 60 than any other time in his life. He has often had to pray, “Thy will be done.”
“Undercutting God’s will is our peril. Christians outside of God’s will are miserable,” he said. “Undertaking God’s will is our privilege.”
Then, he paraphrased, “Give us your daily bread” as “Teach us your daily provision.”
He stressed, “Never ever ask, can we afford it? Instead ask, is it God’s will? If it is God’s will, He can afford it!”
He explained that Leesburg’s Ministry Village, not counting the school or the church, costs $20,000 a week to operate.
“God is our provider; it’s not even in our church budget,” he said, sharing that to receive, “The first thing you need to do is to give what you have.”
“And forgive us…” Roesel shared that his favorite disciple was Simon Peter, who asked how many times he had to forgive others.
Wherever you draw the line with others than God will draw the same line with you, he said, noting how divided the Church is.
“Only Jesus can change people. That’s his business. My business is to love them just like they are.”
“Lead us not into temptation…” “If we don’t want to fall down, we shouldn’t walk on slippery ground,” Roesel continued, sharing the one temptation that he deals with every day: to spend his life doing good things to the exclusion of the best.
He said that the absolute best thing that one can do is “tell a lost soul about Jesus Christ.”
Roesel also discouraged his listeners from holding onto pet sins. “God does not have peace with any sin,” he said.