Learning how to pray with the Lord’s Prayer: Part 2
Before engaging in combat, soldiers are briefed on a mission. Think about the misdirection that would occur if this were not so! Clear orientation to the mission is crucial for the assignment to be carried out. What types of weapons should be secured before combat? What ID markers will be used to determine the enemy?
Unlike a well-briefed army, how often do we plunge ourselves into prayer with a request for our needs before centering on our God-given mission? We are like a soldier asking for a parachute before he knows whether he will be jumping from a plane!
Jesus provides a model for prayer in “The Lord’s Prayer” of Matthew 6, and through it, we learn the pattern of aligning ourselves with God’s big picture before asking for our specific needs.
“Hallowed be your name.
Your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.” (Matthew 6:9-10)
These words encapsulate the work that God is up to. They are descriptive of the mission we have been invited into as followers of Christ.
First, in asking that God’s name be hallowed, we are praying,
God, you are holy. May you be seen and treasured as so in my heart and in the world.
With this request, we are directing our hearts to our larger purpose: to adore God and lead others to see and adore God through our lives.
“Hallowed be your name” focuses on the present reality. But Jesus also wants us to set our vision on the future: “Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.”
The inauguration of God’s kingdom came with Jesus’s death and resurrection. But this kingdom will not come in its fullest sense until Christ’s return, when he will make all things new, and every knee will bow and worship God.
In this second request, we are looking for the full realization of God’s kingdom and the perfect accomplishment of God’s will. We are asking,
Restore your creation. Renew our hearts. Make things right again.
But we are also asking God to work his restoring power now, that the world might see a foreshadow of God’s eternal life and so be pointed to him. We are asking,
Bring your reign over every part of my life-my thoughts, my feelings, my actions.
Restore the brokenness in this world-the poverty, the injustice, the physical and mental illnesses.
Heal broken relationships-across families, communities, and nations.
In summary, to follow Jesus in his model of prayer is to begin our prayers asking: Our Father in heaven,
May you be loved and honored in my heart and in the world.
And may your renewing power work in my heart and in the world,
as we anticipate the complete renewal to come.
What happens when we pray these powerful words?
We know that no prayer is wasted with God, but it is a mystery to how our prayers interact with God’s will. We may speak these words but not see them play out in the specifics for which we prayed. We do know, however, that prayer changes us.
To pray for God’s name to be honored, his kingdom to come, and his will to be done reframes our perspective. For example, with my sight set on making God’s name look great rather than my own, I will be less focused on my image or social status. With my purpose geared towards building God’s kingdom and not my own, I will feel less anxiety around my career success or influence. With my confidence in God’s will being done, I will be less afraid about the things and people I cannot control. This change in perspective reshifts my priority of needs and determines what I ask for.
What’s more, these words carry over into action. What we pray for, we live for! As our hearts desire God’s name, kingdom and will, our feet will follow suit.
Grace Thweatt is the founder of Renew Devotionals, and she is passionate about teaching God’s Word to help others know God more deeply and experience his abundant life. Renew leads people to encounter God with audible devotionals containing scripture, teaching and worship music. Grace lives in Dallas, Texas with her husband, their one-year-old son, and Nash the golden-doodle (who’s still convinced he’s the first-born child).