Knowing what to pray can sometimes be difficult for Christians. We might have a whole list of things that we want, things that we think should happen, but we don’t know if they are also what God wants. Sometimes our prayer life can turn into a litany of requests as we go down the list of things that we desire. Much like children write out their wish list for Santa, we present ours to the King of Kings.
While God graciously lets us present requests to Him, as many have observed before, this wasn’t what His Son modeled when He prayed (Mt. 6:9-13). He spent considerable time extolling the goodness of God before He started making requests. And His first petition wasn’t even for His own needs. Instead, He prayed that God’s kingdom would come on Earth. His first instinct was to give God glory, immediately followed by the plea that His glory would be demonstrated in this world.
It’s something that we should keep in mind. We’re tempted to do our own thing, and ask God for assistance, when really we should be seeking God’s way and aligning our life with Him. As Robert Pierce, the founder of World Vision, is quoted as saying, “I don’t ask God to bless what I do. I pray He will help me to do what He blesses. ” This was the model of our Savior. Yet, our lives often fail to emulate it.
How do we do this? How do we pray so that our petitions are for God’s will rather than our own? Quite simply, we acknowledge that:
1) As Creator He is the best person to arrange the details of this world to align with His plans (Gen. 1:1).
2) 3) As a Holy God His ways are not our ways, and therefore He knows things that we simply can not (Is. 55:8-9).
3) As a Just God He ways are trustworthy. (Deut. 32:4)
4) As a Loving God He longs to lavish good gifts on His children, and therefore His ways will not only bring Him glory, but will be for our good (Mt. 7:11)
In other words, in acknowledging Who God is, we remind ourselves that what He has planned is far better than the requests that we can generate.
This doesn’t mean that we don’t ask God for things. Much like a dad wants his kids to ask for the help he already knows that he needs to provide, our Father wants us to know that we can turn to Him with our requests. However, it does mean that in making our request, our first and primary concern should be that we would do the things God desires, not the other way around.
Share your thoughts:
Why is it hard to pray like Jesus did – for God’s will to be done?