“You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions.”
In teaching his disciples to pray, Jesus spends the first half of his prayer focused on asking God to make his glory known. Previously, I thought that after this, Jesus then teaches us to turn our attention to daily concerns. He tells us to pray,
“Give us this day our daily bread,
and forgive us debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.”
I have come to see these requests, not as a second set of requests independent of the first, but as extensions of the first set. In other words, after recognizing that this life is all about God’s glory and praying for his glory to be revealed, our attitude toward our daily needs should change. We should pray differently about the concerns of our lives.
First, knowing that God is a loving Father should assure us that he cares about the matters we face. Additionally, knowing that he is the all-powerful, sovereign king should give us confidence that he is more than able to take care of his children.
Second, if our desire is for the glory of God, then the motive in our prayers for daily concerns completely changes. Instead of praying, “God give us this day our daily bread because we are hungry,” perhaps we would pray, “God magnify your glory in providing for your children.” Rather than asking God to forgive us our debts so that we may be absolved or our guilt, maybe we would pray, “God display the glory of your grace in forgiving our sin and extend your grace through us to others.” Instead of asking God to lead us not into temptation that complicates our lives and brings difficulty, maybe we would pray, “God, glorify your name in making your victory over sin and Satan visible in our lives.”
Prayer for God to make himself known in our world is not separate from prayer for God’s intervention in our daily concerns. God intends to make himself known in our world as he cares for his children. Our greatest need in life, the only true and lasting satisfaction for the human heart, is the glory of God.