Monday Week 2

Last week, we saw what Christian prayer is, and why we can pray with trust and confidence when we pray to our heavenly Father in Jesus’s name. This week, we will focus on learning to pray according to God’s will. Consider this promise:

This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. (1 John 5:14)

Praying “according to his will” is not about trying to guess what God’s specific plan might be. God does not usually reveal the details of what he is going to do. He asks us to trust him with those details.

But God has revealed a great deal about his will in the Scriptures. We can pray about anything, but there are some things which always please God when we bring them to him, and the Bible guides us in this.

This week’s reflections focus on the Lord’s Prayer, which is Jesus’s model for how to pray according to God’s will. Carefully read the first line:

Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. (Matt. 6:9b)

To “hallow” God’s name means to honour God as holy. God’s holiness is his glory, greatness and majesty; and it is also his moral perfection.

In this first line, Jesus reminds us that the God we pray to is our Father, but he is also the Holy One. Because of this, when we pray, as Tim Keller says, our hearts should be “engaged in loving awe”. We pray with hearts full of love for God, but also with reverent awe, because we are in the presence of the One whose glory outshines the whole universe. Read slowly over the following verses. Remember that your Father’s presence fills the entire universe, focus on his glory, greatness, goodness, and love, and allow your mind to fill with “loving awe” for him.

The LORD reigns, let the nations tremble;
he sits enthroned between the cherubim, let the earth shake.
Great is the LORD in Zion; he is exalted over all the nations.
Let them praise your great and awesome name—he is holy. (Ps. 99:1-3)

~~~

The first line in the Lord’s Prayer is not just a reminder that God is holy. It shows us what our greatest longing should be: that God be honoured as holy. This should be our desire for all people everywhere. But God is also honoured as holy when my life brings him praise and honour.

What really is your greatest desire—for the world, but also for yourself? If this question is difficult, talk to God and present your struggle to him.

Finally, the first line of the Lord’s Prayer is a request. We are asking God to break into our world and into our lives so that he is honoured as holy. Meditate again on this line, allow God to mould the deepest desires of your heart, and ask him to strengthen you to live for his praise.

Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. (Matt. 6:9b)

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