Praying For God’s Interests

Praying For God’s Interests

Our Father who is in heaven, hallowed be Your name. Your kingdom come. Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.
–Matthew 6:9-10

Jesus gave us a model for how we are to pray. Notice the audience for our prayers: “Our Father” (Matthew 6:9). The term “father” in English has a certain formality to it that I do not think Jesus necessarily intended. A better rendering might be “dearest Dad.” We approach God as a Father who loves us and wants the best for us.

Then Jesus mentioned two things we ought to pray for related to our audience, God the Father. First of all, pray for God’s reputation to be honored in your life: “Our Father who is in heaven, hallowed be Your name” (v. 9). The word “hallowed” means “holy” or “shown to be holy.” One of the chief attributes of God is holiness, and our lives should be dedicated to reflecting His holiness. In 1 Kings 18:36-37, Elijah prayed, “Let it be known that You are God. . . . Answer me, . . . that this people may know that You, O Lord, are God.” That is the kind of prayer God answers. When we pray, we ought to remember that our purpose in life is to glorify God.

Second, pray for God’s will to be done in the world and in your life. Matthew 6:10 says, “Your kingdom come. Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” Right now, here on earth, there is a rebellion going on against the Creator of the universe, but eventually that rebellion is going to be quelled forever. And when we pray for the kingdom of God to come, we are praying for that future time when everyone on earth will submit to the King’s rule. But we are also praying for aspects of that future kingdom to come now, for biblical justice to be carried out.

When we pray for God’s rule to extend to earth, that includes your life and my life. If throughout eternity you and I are going to be obeying God, don’t you think we ought to get used to it now? I like the old joke about the tourist in New York City. He was lost, so he walked up to a stranger and asked, “Can you please tell me how to get to Carnegie Hall?” The stranger said, “Sure–practice, practice, practice.” How do you get to be an effective servant in the kingdom of God? By practicing obedience now.

Pastor Kent Hughes wrote of verse 10, “When we pray this prayer, we are asking God to do what is necessary to make his will prevail in our lives. And God then comes with gracious, kind violence to root out all impediments to our obedience. To pray this prayer may terrify us, but it will also deliver us from ourselves.” That is what we are praying: for God’s will to be done on earth and in our lives as it is being done in heaven.

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Today’s devotion is excerpted from “Straight Talk About Your Prayer Life” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2022.

R. Kent Hughes, “The Sermon on the Mount: The Message of the Kingdom” (Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2013), 181.

Scripture quotations taken from the (NASB®) New American Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1960, 1971, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. All rights reserved. www.lockman.org