What’s in it for us? (Mt 6:11-15)
I almost started this post by beating the drum of “Worship God”…but I stopped because if you don’t get that, it sounds really boring. And if you do, you already know it’s the most amazing way you can live, and you don’t need me telling you. So I thought instead we’d talk about…What do we get out of this praying thing?
Did you know that David was out for himself when he agreed to go slay Goliath? Go check it out; he wanted to know what the reward was. Sorry, let’s stick to the Lord’s Prayer here. God wants to take care of all our needs and Jesus teaches us how to pray for that…
Most of us spend our time praying for things that we want. Right here, ” 11Give us today our daily bread.” Jesus is giving us permission for just that. He wants to give us everything that we want.
It’s important to note that the very next thing Jesus asks us to do is to ask God for forgiveness. We always fall short of His glory and it’s important that we ask and receive His grace to keep us in right relationship with Him. It’s equally important that we forgive others as Jesus explains. The condition of our heart in other seemingly unrelated areas is so important to the communion that we can have with God when we approach Him in prayer. Most every problem in life comes from a problem hidden deep in our heart.
In verse 13, Jesus shows us that we should pray for God to make our path straight, helping us stay clear of the constant temptation to move away from Him in whatever ways we each have the tendency to do so. The closer we are to God, the more of our prayers we see answered. Of course it’s also true to say that as we do, many of the things we used to pray for vanish and are replaced with prayers that bring Glory to God. This is natural as we grow close to Him and He changes us. We start to want different things.
But let’s not be too spiritual. This is a physical world that God put us in and He does want us to enjoy this life. This brings Him pleasure as it does for any father to see his son enjoy his gifts.
But none of this works too well if we don’t focus first on worshipping God as discussed Tuesday and then on ushering His Kingdom into our area of responsibility that He calls us to as we discussed yesterday. He’ll still answer some prayers without these two, but much of what we want will not bring us the fullest, richest life that He knows we can have, and so He’ll hold back what we think is good for what He knows is best.
Jesus taught this prayer the way He did for a reason, and if we make this the order in which we live life every day, we will grow closer and closer to Him and enjoy so much more of what this life has to offer.
To close this post, I’ld like to ask…Where did this go…. “For Thine is the Kingdom, the Power, and the Glory, forever and ever, Amen!” That’s like the one thing I learned as a kid. I checked and it’s in the King James so it wasn’t just something Episcopalians added. I guess it comes down to the manuscripts used to translate.