I was awake in the middle of the night, thinking about our nation. I immediately started praying through my deep fears and concerns for our country--then stopped myself. I know better.
'My father, who art in Heaven,
Hallowed be your name'.
Lately, I have wonder why so many believers are convinced that God is about to move in a certain direction? Yet they are deeply praying and believing in completely different—opposite things. How is that possible?
I think the Lord revealed something critical to me during my time sitting still with that question on my prayer journey last night.
I think too often we forget that Jesus taught us HOW to pray. Much like I did last night, we jump right in to telling God what’s heaviest on our minds. Here’s what He showed me: if the most important thing on our mind is not His holiness, could it be that we are actually praying to a false god? Yeah, it shook me too.
When I got past the harshness and let the implications sink in, I slowly understood. If His holiness isn’t the biggest thing on our minds, whatever is is an idol. If we jump straight into praying about our idol, how can we be sure we are praying God’s will? How can we be sure we haven’t fabricated a false idea of who God is, what He desires, and therefore are praying to a false god?
Lately I have been convicted about the vast difference between my prayer life and the Lord’s prayer life. Jesus literally taught us how to pray. He gave us specific words in a specific order.
If you didn't memorize it in the KJV, sorry for this:
"Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name.
Thy kingdom come.
Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven."
We are four deep before we are invited to ask for anything at all.
“Give us this day our daily bread”.
Realizing we depend on Him for our most basic needs
“Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us”
Realizing we depend on His forgiveness to be able to forgive people
“Lead is not into temptation but deliver us from evil”
Realizing we will fall into sin every time if He doesn’t deliver us
“For thine is the kingdom, the power, and the glory forever amen”.
Back to His kingdom. Back to His glory. Then repeat, forever.
It has shocked and transformed me to actively put this into practice. My prayers were so vastly different from the way Jesus taught me. They were full of what I wanted or worried about. They were full of expectations.
What would happen if we were to cast down the idol of expectation?!? What would change in our prayers, then in our reality? Do we even know where to start?
I have realized it always has to begin with God’s Holiness. Not just lip service, but really spending time understanding who God is, who we are allowed to pray to and talk to. It has required that I stop any prayers that go off script from the Lord’s Prayer. It has been relearning how to focus my mind and my prayers to be more like Jesus.
I committed to not move forward in prayers that start my day until I spend time pondering His holiness. Honestly, I’ve had trouble with this discipline. It shocked me how big of a challenge it was for my mind to look for Holiness, see it, sit with it, and speak it. I’ve had to be intentional and take a lot of thoughts that go rouge captive.
Once I am humbled by His Holiness, “Thy kingdom come”. It doesn’t take long to realize why this prayer is the second most important. I have found that my prayers for earth changed significantly once I sat with His kingdom come.
What does it look like? What are the colors? What are the new smells? How does it feel to be in a glorified body? How does it feel to not sin? How does it feel to know that other people won’t sin? What new abilities will we have? What does the food taste like? Can we fly? What is it like to pet a lion? Is that a dragon?? Are there other animals we don’t even know about? I look around and there are all the people I have learned from and loved! What is it like to actually see Jesus? The Father? Hear their stories? See their face?
Honestly it changes my perspective so drastically, that my prayers in step three will hopefully never be the same. “Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” Once I have sat under His holiness and dreamed about His Kingdom, the concerns of earth grow strangely dim. Suddenly I am very aware that I am praying to Yahweh. I know my God is mighty to save. I know He is just. I know He is merciful. I know He is king. I know that He will manage things on earth just fine. I submit to His leadership and my prayers become more about how I can help. They become focused on asking questions and less on telling Him what I want done. I am able to be alone with GOD. I'm not worried anymore. I am aware of my role, my pride is in check, I am aware of my smallness. I am here to help Him, serve Him, honor Him. I am now asking how I can do that better.
“Give us this day our daily bread” Asking for the things I want and need becomes short. I know He will, I don’t doubt His goodness and generosity.
“Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us”. My sins are literally awful and gross and I want them GONE at this step. I want to forgive others so fast, because I don’t want to spend my time holding grudges. His kingdom is coming!!! I’ve seen it. I’ve dreamed about it! My focus is refined!
“Lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil”. Yes. Yes. Yes. Open my eyes to know the difference between anything that pretends to be the light I’ve seen this morning! Show me the right path, Lord!
“For Thine is the kingdom, the power, and the glory forever and ever amen”. Proclamation! I believe it! I love it! I long for it! Let’s do this day with boldness and purpose! Let’s not waste one second on lesser things!
Throughout the day I will keep talking things out with Him. Then tomorrow I’ll wake up so excited because I get to renew my mind and do it all again. It’s not routine. It’s fresh every morning.