When we pray, we're tempted to start dumping our needs on God, like a scene from the movie "What About Bob" - "Gimme, gimme, gimme, I need, I need, I need." I'm glad that our Father isn't like the movie's Dr. Leo Marvin, always trying to get rid of us. Our Father, who is both rich and generous, invites us to bring our needs and desires to him.
When Jesus taught the "Lord's Prayer", he encouraged us to seek God's interests first, instead of always beginning with our laundry list of requests. Jesus instructed us to begin by "hallowing" or honoring our Father's Name - to worship him for all that he is and does - and pray that his name be glorified in all the earth. And one of the primary ways God is glorified is by the coming of his kingdom.
That's why Jesus taught us to pray, "Your kingdom come." (Luke 11:2). As God's kingdom comes, he is seen as great, powerful, merciful and glorious.
God's kingdom is his rule. When we pray for his kingdom to come we pray that our Father would bring his rule into the world, particularly into people's hearts and lives. When God saves us, he begins to rule us. And as he rules us, he transforms us into the likeness of Christ, and he is glorified.
Let's pray that the gospel will spread and multitudes of sinners will be saved. Let's ask the Lord of the harvest to raise up laborers. Let's pray for the salvation of our family members and friends. And pray that our Lord will rescue thousands in our localities.
Let's pray that God will bring an end to the wickedness of the wicked. Pray that he will remove governments and leaders that persecute his people and replace them with those favorable to the gospel.
Let's pray for the persecuted church. Pray that God will cause many of his saints to find favor in their captors' eyes and get to return to their families. Pray that our Father will give those who continue to suffer strength, joy, hope and the grace to love their persecutors.
When we pray for these things we are praying for God's kingdom rule to come.
Put God's interests first and he will provide for you.
Jesus said, "Therefore do not be anxious, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?' For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you" (Matthew 6:31-33).
If we put God and his rule first, he'll take care of our needs like food and clothing. I always figure that if I spend time praying for God's concerns and don't get around to mine, my Father will take care of me. And he's always been faithful.