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.
I was a little disheartened when I found myself praying only for God to get me through finals with good grades this past week. That seems selfish to me. It seems like I am praying for daily bread while completely neglecting to express any desire for His kingdom to come, His will to me done. The Lord’s prayer is not a prayer of survival, but a prayer of mission. I had neglected the mission, and was instead preoccupied with my own fears. That sounds reminiscent of the people Jesus sent home because they were too worried about personal matters to focus on Kingdom work.
It was time to refocus. What if I prayed for more than survival? What if, instead of praying only for my daily bread to survive, I prayed also for His kingdom to come and His will to be done? I made it my prayer that God would use me, for His glory, to touch the life of one of my fellow students during finals. Actually, I had to be even more specific than that, because I have found that when I pray vaguely, I am much less likely to even look for an answer. There is a place for general prayers, but I needed to be praying more specifically. Maybe you have noticed that too… If we only pray, “God, be glorified in me,” the prayer is so vague we don’t really even look for an answer, let alone look for an opportunity to do our part in the answer.
So I picked out a name to pray for. Not, “God be glorified in me during finals.” Not, “God be glorified in my during finals by using me to touch someone’s life.” No, it was, “God, please use me for Your glory in _____’s life, because You have put his name on my heart and I will seek to be used by You.” That prayer changed the whole outlook for the week. I wasn’t struggling to survive, I was striving to serve. There is no great reward in surviving, only a fleeting feeling of having maintained a firm grip on zero. Loss avoided, but nothing great gained. Getting the grades you are supposed to hardly feels like a great gain…at least in my book, it feels like doing what was required to stay in the game. Skirting the edge of disaster feels like an accomplishment only if you are pessimistic enough to have expected the disaster, thus making anything short of failure seem good. However, there is great gain to be found in participating in the mission, both heavenly rewards and blessings here on earth.
God honored my prayer in a gracious way. Gracious, because He answered it out of faithfulness to His child, even when the child (me) takes a while to remember that to live is Christ. It was also a wake up call. Wake up, and pray for more to happen every day than just my laundry list of earthly needs to be filled. Prayer for the Kingdom to come springs forth from a heart that earnestly desires to be used. Look eagerly and actively for a specific answer, because God moves when we are willing to embrace our purpose and glorify Him by seeking His will above our own.
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