Have you ever considered how The Lord’s Prayer starts? I think that most of us have a “standard” start for our prayers: “Dear Father, thank you for this day….” There’s nothing inherently wrong with that. Thanking God for each day is a great way to start conversing with Him. However, the Lord’s Prayer doesn’t start out that way.
We can find the Lord’s Prayer in Matthew 6:9-15. In this passage, Jesus instructs us to start our prayers by first recognizing God’s holiness (Matthew 6:9) or in other words, His identity. I spent some time considering the potential significance of this. There is nothing coincidental about anything Jesus said or did. After much thought, I concluded that this start is a tone-setter. I believe that by first acknowledging God’s holiness, we establish a firm foundation for prayer and consequently life. Remembering and recognizing who God is reminds us that He is in control and has a purpose in everything. He is the Creator of All (Genesis 1-2), Sustainer of Life (Colossians 1:16-18), Sovereign Lord (Isaiah 14:24) and Constant Provider (Philippians 4:19). When we come to grips with these truths, then we can confidently say, “You will be done” (Matthew 6:10).
Allowing God’s will to reign over ours is no easy task yet nonetheless vitally important and imperative to the Christian life. Once we make the decision to follow Jesus, we are a new creation (2 Corinthians 5:17). We no longer exists for our own glory or self gratification, but for the glory of God (Romans 6:8-14). Relinquishing our will to Him is part of living anew in Jesus.
Whenever I hear the words, “Your will be done,” I immediately picture Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane asking the Father for another way to save us (Luke 22:39-44). Now, I know that what I just said may sound off to some of you. Allow me explain.
Jesus willingly and joyfully endured the cross for us (Hebrews 12:1-2), but I believe the Bible, especially in Luke 22, affirms that death was nevertheless daunting to Him. Jesus was fully God and fully man after all (Hebrews 2:5-18). The thought of His upcoming crucification terrified Him as much as it would anyone else. He was so disturbed that He actually sweat blood (Luke 22:44). Nevertheless He ended His prayer in the Garden with, “Not my will, but Yours be done” (Luke 22:42). He knew that His death, and eventual resurrection, was and is the only way to save us (Romans 5:6-9). Jesus allowed His life be used completely for the glory of God.
Are we willing to do the same? More personally, am I? If I truly believe that I exist for God’s glory, then my life is His. No matter what I go through or the thought of what could be, I and we should always be willing to obey God no matter the cost. Part of this willingness, I believe, is built in acknowledging His Holiness, just as the Lord’s Prayer instructs us to do.
I’m challenging myself to rethink my “prayer start” and in tandem, my “life start.” Perhaps I can find a new sense of trust and peace by following Jesus’ instructions. Believing that God is who He says He is the motivation that I need to fully trust and surrender to Him daily (Luke 9:23).