(Luke 11:2) So He said to them, “When you pray, say: Our Father in heaven, Hallowed be Your name. Your kingdom come. Your will be done On earth as it is in heaven.I believe that if we miss this verse, we miss the heart of prayer. Without this central point of integration, our prayer life will be weak at best. At the worst, our prayer will be what Jesus characterized as "vain repetitions."
This verse says that prayer is based on Who God Is!
- He is our Father
- He is the Inhabitant of Heaven
- He is the Holy One
- He is the King of Kings
- He is the Sovereign Lord
It is tempting in prayer to briefly acknowledge God as Father, then launch into our laundry list of requests and concerns. I think that Jesus teaches us to focus on the details of Who God Is, then deal more generally with our particular concerns.
1) God is our Father. He has produced us. He is over us. He cares about us. We must honor Him and defer to Him and trust Him.
2) God is the Inhabitant of Heaven. He is glorious in majesty. He is exalted. He is the source of all and the focus of all. He is the Almighty, Infinite, Awesome, Exalted and Only God. He alone should loom large in our lives, because everything else - people, nations, nature, the universe - is minuscule by comparison.
3) God is Holy. Our primary prayer should always be that God's name would "be hallowed" - that is "exalted as holy." No matter what happens to us. No matter what blessings or disasters come into our lives. No matter what we face, our first prayer priority is that God's name will be exalted as holy.
God's holiness has almost disappeared from modern thought. The biblical idea of His holiness is His absolute and infinite Goodness. God is the measure of all things. His character defines what is good, right, just, pure, lovely or of good report. To sin against God is an infinite crime against His infinite goodness. Eternity in hell is justice for such a crime. Only the Divine Son of God could provide the infinite atonement we need.
Before we pray about particular problems, needs, wants or people, we must always take time to consider God's holiness and the importance of every circumstance being turned to exalt His name as holy.
4) God is King of Kings. In the USA we like the idea of government "of the people, by the people and for the people." We collectively spend way too much time obsessing about our government and other governments in the world. We pray for our government, we get involved in the political process, we vote, we write letters, we watch the news. But the only truly good government is the one in which God reigns directly and immediately over the people. Above all, we should be praying for that day to arrive. (Even so, come quickly, Lord!)
5) God is the Sovereign Lord. That is Who He is, but in our sinful pride we don't trust Him. Many times we are praying to tell God how to run things - especially things in our lives. We think that everything is about us and that God needs our advice. In our sinfulness we actually want to be God and run the universe to suit ourselves. Many books that are supposedly about prayer are actually about "gaming the system" to get what you want from God - as if God could be manipulated and brought under our control.
But genuine prayer begins with the recognition that God and God Alone is The Sovereign Lord - omniscient and omnipotent - almighty. He ALONE has the infinite knowledge, infinite power and infinite goodness that will make His will perfect. We should long for HIS will - rather than our own.
This is where prayer must start, with a focus on Who God Is! When we get our hearts focused on God, then we can begin to pray.
(Deuteronomy 6:5) You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength.