Do you mean what you actually pray for?

May your Kingdom come soon. May your will be done on earth, as it is in heaven. Matthew 6:10 NLT

Before we took the Bible seriously, we would pray the Lord’s Prayer with our little sons out loud at bedtime after reading them stories.  I’m not sure why. Maybe we meant to communicate that now it was time to go to sleep!  I imagine we used this ritual as a way to feel good about ourselves as Christian parents.

Eventually, as we grew in faith, we left formulaic prayers aside and the four of us just talked to Jesus, thanking him and asking him for what we needed.

Over the years reciting a set prayer or creed in congregational settings has changed how I understand God’s priorities. I think most Christians would agree that Jesus is teaching us (as he did his disciples who asked him how they should pray) to make the Father’s priorities our first petitions.

Therefore, in the Lord’s Prayer we ask that God’s reputation be honored foremost in the universe. Next come both a petition for Kingdom expansion and a plea for God’ agenda to be accomplished in all realms.

What follow are requests for ourselves and a closing that affirms God’s power and rightful ownership of this holy, supernatural, and only important Kingdom in the universe.

A week ago on Friday, the Spirit seemed to be checking my heart’s understanding and sincerity in asking the Father to make sure that his will be done.

That morning I thought through the implications of boldly praying, ‘thy kingdom come!’.  I asked myself, “Maria,….

  • …what if God’s will is not your will, your idea of what ‘good’ is?
  • …are you really choosing not only ask for but to yield to the Father’s plan for this day over your own schedule?
  • ….are you able to take your desires and offer them up to be ruled, measured, evaluated and answered in God’s way and based on his God’s agenda?
  • ….do you REALLY know what you are praying for?”

I didn’t have to wait long to know the answer. So, I affirmed in my journal, “Yes, I mean what I said.  And I’m not worried.  I know for a fact that God is good and wise and that most of all, he loves me.  Besides, this is how Jesus taught us to pray.  He, the Spirit and the Father are one God. Yes, I DO trust the Almighty!”

So, how did I apply the fruit of my inner dialogue?  As I dressed to head off to substitute teach, laptop in hand, I told Jesus that I would not try to get some personal work done while monitoring the students’ progress with the assignments left by their teacher.  Instead, I would engage more and see if I could help some.

And I did just that. I made myself available to others by not placing my day’s purposes above God’s. And I did get a few tasks accomplished during the teacher’s planning period.

I still think that this part of the Lord’s prayer contains a ‘dangerous’ petition, one that God WILL answer, for sure.  We just better know what we’re asking, when we recite, ‘thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.’