Establishing as a matter of doctrine and principle that our motivation for prayer must begin with the glory, will, and purposes of God places us in a genuinely prayerful heart and mind.
"Our Father, which art in Heaven, hallowed be Thy name. Thy kingdom come,Thy will be done on earth, as in Heaven... Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory forever. Amen" (Matthew 6:9; 13).
The model prayer of the Lord Jesus Christ begins and concludes with the God-centered focus that enables us to fulfill the high calling of God for everything in our lives: "Whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God" (I Corinthians 10:31). Certainly, of all that we do in seeking to walk with our Lord, prayer must dwell at or near the top of the list as a means to honor the Lord Jesus. Selfish praying will not get us far with God, even as James warned: "Ye ask and receive not because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts" (James 4:3). We must rather seek to pray as a matter of love, that is, of Christ's indwelling love motivating, guiding, and empowering us to emphasize the honor and will of our Heavenly Father.
This, of course, does not preclude the consideration of our needs and desires as we pray. The Lord Jesus also taught us to pray, "Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil" (Matthew 6:11-13). Moreover, the Apostle Peter commanded that we cast our cares upon God in the certain knowledge that "He careth for you" (I Peter 5:7). We can and must pour out our hearts regarding matters important to us with great assurance that things that personally matter to us matter even more to our Lord. As we do so, however, keeping the primary focus of prayer close in heart and mind will mold and sometimes reshape our prayers even as we offer them. I cannot count the times when, as I prayed about a matter of concern important to me, I realized that selfishness formed and informed my attitude concerning the issue. In fact, there have been times when correction of the attitude served as the primary answer to the prayer. Thus, even as we pray about matters that concern us, maintaining the glory of God as our chief intention will often accomplish far more and better things than our requests initially involve. A God-centered determination in the matter of prayer greatly simplifies our practice of this most blessed spiritual gift and calling. Indeed, few things more befuddle us than attempting to figure out what we ourselves and others need. "We know not what to pray for as we ought" (Romans 8:26). Conversely, the Bible plainly declares our Heavenly Father's intention in all things, namely, that His Son should be glorified, known, loved, trusted and obeyed. His "eternal purpose" is "in Christ Jesus" (Ephesians 3:11). As we establish and seek to maintain this as our purpose also, we will discover the peace of unselfish love forming and informing our praying. We shall discover also a greater desire to pray, and a more consistent uniting of our heart with our Heavenly Father, whose Christ-saturated purposes and intentions we share.
" Having made known unto us the mystery of His will, according to His good pleasure which He hath purposed in Himself: that in the dispensation of the fulness of times He might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in Him: in whom also we have obtained an inheritance." (Ephesians 1:9-11).
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