This four-word phrase from the Lord’s Prayer is the key to all prayers. It takes the focus of our lives off of ourselves and puts it where it belongs – on God (He’s the “Thy” in the phrase).
Sometimes when I pray, I give God my “shopping list.” Ok, I’ll admit it – almost all of the times when I pray, I give God my “shopping list.”
The shopping list usually goes something like this:
Dear God, please keep my family safe. Heal those I love who are sick. Help me financially. Don’t let anything bad happen to me or my family.
And on it goes. I ask God for stuff. Not that there’s anything wrong with that – God wants us to ask for stuff as “dear children asks their dear father” (Luther’s Small Catechism).
I think most people pray like this. We ask God for stuff for our lives. We ask God for the stuff we need – like daily bread. We ask God for the stuff we desire (Psalm 37:4) – like a new iPad.
Lately, however, I’ve been feeling a little selfish praying this way. I hope I don’t hurt the feelings of those I have (and continue to) pray for who need heeling and comfort.
I need to pray more like Jesus, who said “your will be done” (Matthew 26:39-44). Jesus prayed for people and and for stuff, but with the understanding that not everything He was praying for was God’s will for Him.
It may not be God’s will that I have an iPad (but I hope it is, at least someday soon). It may not be God’s will that healing happens. Or it may. I don’t know. But I will pray “your will be done” because I know, and I believe it with all my heart, that God will bring about the very best for me (Jeremiah 29:11).
I’ll still pray for stuff (like that iPad) and for daily bread and for healing for my family and friends that need healing.
But my prayers will end with “Your will be done.”