BIBLE VERSE FOR TODAY…. “…Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven…“ Matthew 6:9,10 NIV
As I was considering the Lord’s prayer, my attention was drawn to the focus on “that which above” as the foundation of the prayer. Before jumping into any specific requests or priority of need, our attention is drawn to some important aspects about the One to whom we pray.
Who is God? He is “our Father.” He is the One who initiates, He is the one with whom we identify in meaningful connection. As such we are reminded that He is the Creator God, He is the God of relationship.
Where is God? “…in heaven…” God is not nature. God is not the creation of man. God is above all. Yet this God is not limited by time and space. The heavens and the earth cannot contain Him. Yet in this simple affirmation we focus our thoughts and attention to that which beyond this world, to that which is above. Just as Paul admonished, “seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God.” (Colossians 3:1 KJV)
What is God’s nature? “hallowed by your name…” He is the “holy” God or we often say the “thrice holy” God; because in Revelation thr cry around the throne is “Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord God Almighty.” As the Holy God He is the One who is set apart, He is above all. His name as the “I Am” God reminds us of His all-sufficiency. Paul declares, “at the name of Jesus every knee shall bow and tongue confess that Jesus is Lord to the glory of God the Father.” (Philippians 2:10 NIV)
What is God’s desire? “Thy kingdom come, thy will be done…” The greatest prayer we can pray is to align ourselves with plan and purpose of God. Even in the garden Jesus prayed, “not my will, but thine be done.” When heaven “invades” earth, life set aright, hearts are set aright. In this petition we are drawn from our narrow, self-centered focus to the “big picture” that God has in mind and His plan for this world and all humanity. Surrendering our desires and our plans to the will and purposes of “heaven” is the greatest miracle and answer to prayer that can take place.
When I consider this “upward” focus in the Lord’s Prayer I am reminded of Jesus words, “Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness….” (Matthew 6:33) This admonition occurs in the teaching about worry. Worry creates a self-centered, insecure life. But when we “turn our eyes on Jesus” it is not a distraction of our life and focus, it is an aligning of our life and focus to that which is to be our priority.
I am also reminded of the “upward focus” in the first of the 10 commandments. Before the prohibitions about murder, stealing, adultery, envy, etc. we find commands not to “make to other gods before me.” Commands that warn us about, “taking the Lord’s name in vain.” (hollowed be Your name). We find the admonition, “remember the Sabbath.” Why are these the first commandments? Because they focus our attention upon God, His holiness and His priority in our life.
It is this focus that we find in the Lord’s prayer. It is this type of focus that we find woven throughout scripture. It is this focus that will enable us to stay close to the “plumb line” of life.
Prayer for today…. Lord thank You for not only what to pray, but why it is important for us. Help us to always seek to honor You to acknowledge You and to submit our lives to You and Your ways. When we do, we can be confident that “all we need” will be granted to us.