A recent Bible study included a question on the first three things Jesus prayed in the model prayer. I started to fill in the blank with "daily bread..." and realized I was mistaken.
Like most of us, I, too, have a tendency to get to what I consider the "important" part of my prayer... the "me" stuff... my needs, my desires, my loved ones.
Jesus' prayer made it abundantly clear that we're not supposed to be the main focus of our prayer time, no matter how many needs we perceive, no matter how many wants we have.
The first thing for which Jesus prayed was that God's name would be hallowed. The meaning here is that we will make His name holy and treat it with respect and the honor it's due.
Part of treating His name as holy is by living in a way that honors Him and makes His name famous. If our lives demonstrate to the world that God is good, loving, forgiving, merciful, and kind, we have made His name "hallowed." We've shown respect to His name with our lifestyle.
Honoring God's name with our actions isn't something we can do on our own. We need God's help to do it. Essentially, we're to begin by praying God will help us to treat Him with the respect and honor due Him, to act toward Him in the manner we should.
The second item for which we're to pray is that God's kingdom will come. The third, that His will would be done. These are requests that His kingdom and His will would prevail, both on earth and in heaven, and that they begin in our own lives.
We're to start our prayer by submitting to God's ways (His kingdom) and His will.
For example, we might pray something like this:
"Heavenly Father, You are good, righteous, and loving. I thank you for being so kind to me. Help me to live in such a way that everyone around me gets a glimpse of You when they see my life or interact with me.
I want things to be done Your way in my life. I want Your will and not my own. Even though I have a list of wants and perceived needs as long as my arm, none of that's important if it's not what You have planned for me.
"Don't give me what I want just because I ask. Give me what You know is best..."
When we begin our prayers by submitting to the holiness and sovereignty of God in this way, it changes our hold on our requests. We no longer demand our way.
We relinquish our will to His from the very start.
Today, let's begin our prayers the way Jesus did - by focusing on the Father and not ourselves. Let's start our requests the way Jesus did - by surrendering to the Father and not demanding our way.
When we do, we'll find it's much easier to live as Jesus lived, completely dedicated to the Father's will and not our own.
"Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name..." Matthew 6:9 nasb
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