The first three petitions of the Lord’s Prayer speak more clearly to God’s purposes in the world than any other passage of scripture. When Jesus taught His disciples to pray: “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven” (Matthew 6:9–10), He was teaching them to pray what was on the Father’s heart. The three things that the Father most wants to see happen on earth are for His name to be glorified, for His kingly rule to be established, and for His will to be done fully and completely. These are the Father’s grand-scale purposes. When we pray for them we are praying in accord with God’s will. These are things that must happen and will happen. Jesus asked us to pray for them so the Father could make them happen in accord with our prayers.
When we pray the Lord’s Prayer, we are not telling God what we are going to do. We are asking Him to do what only He can do. We are making bold prayers of intercession to an almighty God. Darrell W. Johnson, in Fifty-Seven Words that Change the World, notes: “The verbs of the Lord’s Prayer, addressed to the Superior of superiors, are in the imperative. They are commands, not requests. Be hallowed! Be come! Be done! All in the command form. To pray the Lord’s Prayer is to command—not to ask—but to command. . . . This may strike you as somewhat audacious. Who are we to speak to God in such a manner? What helps is to further know that the verbs in the first three petitions are in the passive voice. . . . The passive voice softens the tone. Instead of ‘do it,’ it is ‘be done.’ But the verbs are passive for a more fundamental reason. Only God can do what we are asking to have done.”
–Adapted from Praying God’s Heart (Prayers that Make a Difference) by Alvin VanderGriend.
Awesome Lord, only You are able to do what I ask in prayer! Forgive me for trying to do so much for You in my own strength. I bow down before Your throne of power and simply ask that Your name might be glorified in all the earth, that Your kingly rule will be established forever and ever, and that Your perfect will may be done fully and completely!
Praise God, “the blessed and only Ruler, the King of kings and Lord of lords, who alone is immortal and who lives in unapproachable light” (1 Tim. 6:15-16). Thank him for being the light of the world. Confess any areas of your life that you may have been ashamed to bring into the light of God’s truth. Commit yourself to living as a child of the light. Ask God to fill you with the fruit of light: all goodness, righteousness, and truth (Eph. 5:9).
Pray that the missionaries your church supports may be like shining stars in dark places as they hold out the word of life (Phil. 2:15-16).
–Prayer Points taken from Patterns for Prayer by Alvin VanderGriend
Connection (Devotions for Everyday Life) is published by Harvest Prayer Ministries. Subscribe free at connection.harvestprayer.com
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