Over the last two weeks we have looked at the Lord’s prayer. Prayer is a huge privilege for us, this invitation that we have to come into the very presence of God. A God who longs for us to come to him. Jesus instructed his disciples in how to pray, and the Lord’s Prayer is part of that instruction. But it is important to note, that it is a guide as to how to pray, we are not meant to be tied to its words, not to simply repeat it without ceasing.
It begins, ‘Our Father in Heaven’, here is this remarkable acknowledgement that God sees us as his children. He loves us, he knows us and he knows what is best for us. And in case we struggle with the concept of a ‘Father God’ for reasons that might be complex and hurtful, Jesus reminds us that God is not like our earthly fathers, he is our father in heaven. The perfect, wise, gentle and loving father.
We can get so caught up with praying, we struggle with it, and sometimes we feel that our prayers are not sophisticated enough, not spiritual enough, that we don’t pray we wait until we feel we are ready to pray.
But God wants to hear from us, warts and all. CS Lewis put it like this: ‘Lay before God what is in you, not what ought to be in you.’
We can’t hide anything from God. He knows us, he loves us and he wants to hear from us. Prayer changes us, not God. So pray, and keep on praying.
Your Kingdom Come
We can be conscious that our prayers are selfish prayers – often a model of self serving importance. But we are reminded to get our order right pray for what God wants – it’s a challenge.
Our western culture in particular can be a culture consumed with individual autonomy. We want to do whatever we want to do, however we want to do it, and whenever we want to do it. We want absolute freedom. We are our own kings and queens.
But Jesus says, no, there is a king who has a kingdom (which king doesn’t) and it is the will of the king the kingdom that reflects the king that we are to pray for. That’s some prayer. We need to put aside our desires and say God, you be king, you rule, let my life, my home my work, my school, attitudes reflect your kingdom.
Paul describes God’s kingdom as one of righteousness, peace and joy in the spirit. (Romans 14.17) We are to seek this kingdom, to see God’s character shape our lives and our world.
So try it this week. When you pray say, God here I am, you rule. let me understand what you want, what you want my life to reflect, and God let your kingdom come.
There is an alternate kingdom, we so easily fall into it, but God the Father has what is best for us in store, so lets seek what God’s plans for our lives are and expect him to change us.