Have you ever wondered how God looks at prayer? Fortunately He has put it in plain sight for everyone to see…
If there is anyone who should understand prayer from God’s standpoint, it would be the Lord Jesus Christ. We get a good look at prayer the way God sees it by looking at the way Jesus taught us to pray in Matthew 6:9 – 13.
9 Pray then like this:
“Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name.
10 Your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
11 Give us this day our daily bread,
12 and forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.
13 And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.
According to the way Jesus taught us to pray we see that prayer is…
Addressing Our Heavenly Father
It is a glorious fact that, through our faith in Jesus Christ, we are now the children of God. Look at what the apostle John writes in 1st John 3:1 – 2.
1 See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. The reason why the world does not know us is that it did not know him.2 Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is.
Of course, since we are God’s children, He is now our Father. The term “Father” perfectly captures both sides of our relationship with God. On the one hand it pictures Him as the Authority Figure over our lives. He is the One to whom we look for direction, and He is the One to whom we will one day give an account of the way we lived. On the other hand, “Father” also captures the intimate side of this relationship. It reminds us that God loves us deeply and cares for us affectionately. When these two revelations of God are held in proper tension, they provide us with a very balanced understanding of who God is to us, and who we are to God. It is no wonder Jesus taught us that prayer is addressing our Heavenly Father.
Seeking God’s Glory
Besides addressing our Heavenly Father, prayer is also seeking God’s glory. That is what is behind the request for God’s Name to be hallowed. A person’s name is not only a reference to what they are called, but can also refer to their reputation (i.e. so-and so has a good name). Asking that our Father’s Name be hallowed is actually the expression of our desire for His reputation to be upheld in the earth.
The opposite of God’s Name being hallowed is for it to be blasphemed or profaned. Any time anyone says anything about the Lord that is not true they are misrepresenting Him and blaspheming His Name. This should cause us to be deeply grieved. Often, however, this is the result of not seeing the truth of God reflected in the lives of His people. Therefore the foundational motivation for our praying should be that God will be seen and appreciated for who He truly is, or, in other words, that His Name be hallowed.
Aligning Ourselves with God’s Agenda
The glad news that Jesus brought to us was that the Kingdom of God was at hand (Matthew 3:17). God was finally becoming King. Now Jesus teaches us to ask for the reign of God to be advanced so His will is performed on earth exactly as it is in heaven. This, in turn, will result in the restoration of God’s order and peace, or, life the way God meant it to be lived originally.
There is also a future aspect to this request. God’s ultimate goal is to one day bring all things under the authority of His son, Jesus Christ, as the apostle Paul outlines in Ephesians 1:9 – 10.
9 God has now revealed to us his mysterious plan regarding Christ, a plan to fulfill his own good pleasure. 10 And this is the plan: At the right time he will bring everything together under the authority of Christ—everything in heaven and on earth. NLT
So when we pray, Your Kingdom come, we are aligning ourselves with the King’s agenda for both the present and the future.
A God’s Eye View
This may cause us to view prayer a little differently than we have in the past. This is, however, a God’s eye view of prayer. Anything less than this falls far short of the divine ideal. This is what prayer looks like in the lives of those who are living in the Reign.
“Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version, copyright ©2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.”