Friday, January 25, 2008

Expand Your Prayer Life: The Aim of Prayer

by Mark Altrogge@

Each section of the Lord's prayer is like a peg to hang our prayers on. R. Kent Hughes points out that prayer has a vertical aspect and a horizontal aspect. The vertical has to do with God and his concerns, the horizontal with us and our concerns. In Luke 11, Jesus tells us to focus first on God with the revolutionary address, "Father."

Believers are adopted into God's family through Christ's life, death and resurrection. If you have trusted in Jesus for salvation, God is now your Father. And he is eager and willing for you to come to him.

The aim of prayer: God’s glory

Jesus instructs us to pray, “Hallowed be your name.”

God’s name stands for who he is and all that he is. He is infinitely holy, glorious, majestic, just, sovereign, mighty, loving and wise.

When we pray “Hallowed be your name” we are saying: Father, let your name be held holy and treated with reverence in every place. In other words, Father, let your name be honored and worshipped in all the earth. Let everyone on earth see what a glorious God you are. We are asking God to fulfill Habakkuk 2:14: "For the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord as the waters cover the sea." So when we pray "Hallowed be your name" we are praying Father, let the knowledge that you are glorious fill the earth. Let all people know what you are like - infinite in beauty, righteousness, goodness and strength.

God’s glory is infinitely more important than any of our personal needs. So before bringing our own concerns to the table, we should pray that God would fulfill his greatest concern – that his name be glorified for the enjoyment of all people. If we make God's concerns our top priority, he will surely look to our concerns.

Imagine a son who always comes to his father asking for things: "Dad, can I have $5? Can I borrow the car? Can I use your camera? Dad, I need a new ball glove." Most fathers would probably want to bless their sons with these things. But how different it would be if a son came and said, "Dad, what would you desire today? Is there anything on your heart I could go after? Anything I can do for you?" Imagine how pleased that father would be and how eager to bless his son.

So when we pray, let us come to our loving Father, who is rich and eager to bless us. Let us first worship and adore him and seek the advancement of his glory. Then let us ask God to meet our needs and supply our daily bread.

Make God's glory the aim of your prayers today!

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