Lift Up Your Eyes!

January 11 2019
January 11 2019

Last Sunday I preached about “Prayer Uunleashed” based on the Lord’s Prayer in Matthew 6:9-13.  I especially focused on how we’re taught to plead with the Lord that his name would be “hallowed”:  “Father, cause your name, your character, to shine brilliantly in this dark world; bring it about that your honor would be praised, loved, trusted and revered; cause all to see your greatness as the glorious Father of our Lord Jesus Christ!”

But I’m concerned—especially as I look in the mirror!—that we often settle for small, earthly prayers that focus on mere creature comforts.  How about you—are your prayers all about obtaining conven­iences?  If someone were to eavesdrop on you, would they say you’re basically asking God for a fair share of creature com­forts (e.g., safety, decent job, income, relationships, a little leisure, a nice life)?

If our prayers can be summed up by, “God, give me a comfortable life,” what does that say about who we think we are, and who we think God is?  Do we see ourselves as being in charge of life, and having a right to health, wealth, pleasure, and ease?  Do we see God as the butler on call to bring us another pillow so we can be comfy and promptly forget about him?  Is that what our prayers reveal?

Thank God for the lofty, exhilarating vision of “Hallowed be your name”!  It wakes us up to reality.  In it Jesus graciously confronts our shriveled prayer reflexes.

You see, our natural tendency is to shrink prayer down from heaven-storming cries of praise-thanks-lament-confession-petition to mere petition.  And then down from petition for spiritual, eternal needs to material and temporal benefits.  And then down to petitions for such creature comforts simply for our­selves and those close to us.

To which we say, “Lord, deliver us from small-minded, self-absorbed, earth-bound prayer.  And forgive us for being so full of ourselves.”

Let me challenge you:  when you pray, dedicate at least half of your time and attention to “spiritual things”:  the praise of God’s majesty, the spread of his reign, salvation of non-believers, and the maturing of joyful faith in Christ for believers near and far.  And ask the Lord to use his Word to ignite in us a whole new vision of the beauty and magnitude and wild-wonder of prayer!


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