Focal passage: Matthew 6:11b; Isaiah 38:1-6, 15-17
With the “Model Prayer,” Jesus profoundly redirects the focus of our prayers. If we are honest, we often start with our needs and how God can help us. Perhaps afterward, we make sure to focus on praise and thanksgiving.
To be sure, God loves to hear us and our requests! The image of the children coming to Jesus applies to all disciples. However, once we have focused on His glory and honor, we then are aligned with His will. God reveals both His purposes (6:9-10) and gives us provision (11-14).
A good example of this is the story of Hezekiah’s sickness and recovery in Isaiah 38. Surrounded by enemies, Hezekiah became sick unto death (v. 1). He appealed to God for help in his time of need. By God’s grace, he was healed.
Now, this isn’t a prescription for every physical ailment people have in this world. Rather, it is an encouraging example to give us hope when we ourselves pray. God does answer our prayers for His glory and our good.
By healing Hezekiah, God is glorified and Hezekiah was helped. With us, God seeks to hear from His followers and desires to meet our needs as well – conforming us to His image (Romans 8:28-29). With our minds and hearts aligned to God’s glory, reputation and Kingdom, we can then ask for our daily needs. Physical needs (bread), interpersonal needs (forgiveness) and spiritual needs (temptation) are all connected, and God knows what we need.
When we see Him as our Father, we can trust His motivation. Like Hezekiah, we can humbly appeal to God’s reputation and glory, knowing God will work in and through us according to His will. Prayer is simply talking with God.
As we converse with Him by his Spirit and His Word, we are changed to become like Him (2 Corinthians 3:18). We can pray for ourselves, because our lives are aligned with God.