The Focus of Prayer

Have you ever stopped to think about the question, “what should be the focus of prayer?”  We pray for our needs; we pray for God to bless the food that we eat; we pray for other people; we pray for our nation and for our leaders; we pray in desperation and we pray out of habit.  But what should the focus of prayer be?  All of these kinds of prayer are viable and they are good, but is there anything that would tell us what the focus of all prayer is?  I believe that when Jesus taught His disciples to pray that He gave us a clue as to what the focus of prayer should be.  Let’s talk about that.I believe that prayer should be a preoccupation with God’s will.  In the Sermon on the Mount that is recorded for us in Matthew 5, 6 and 7, Jesus said this:  “Therefore, you should pray like this:  Our Father in heaven, your name be honored as holy.  Your kingdom come.  Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.  Give us today our daily bread.  And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.  And do not bring us into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one” (Matthew 6:9-13 Christian Standard Bible).
 
I believe, as I said earlier, that prayer ought to be a preoccupation with God’s will.  Jesus started off what we call The Lord’s Prayer, by telling us that the name of God is to be honored, and then He immediately told us to pray that God’s kingdom and His will would come and be done “on earth as it is in heaven.”  Do you think there is anything that happens in heaven that is not part of the will of God?  I don’t.  So if we are praying for His kingdom and His will then we need to realize that God’s will is vitally important to everything that we do.  I believe this also tells us that God’s will CAN be done on earth as it is in heaven.  So in order for that to happen, I want my prayer life to be a life that is centered on and patterned after the will of God in and for my life.
 
I know that God knows me and He knows my life more intimately than I could ever know it.  I know that God’s Word says that “all my days were written in your book and planned before a single one of them began” (Psalm 139:16 CSB).  What that tells me is that God knows where I’m going; He knows what is going to be coming into my life; He also knows exactly what I need to be doing and where I need to be, so why wouldn’t my prayer life be a preoccupation with His will for my life?  He knows what is best and again, His Word tells me that “We know that all things work together for the good of those who love God, who are called according to His purpose” (Romans 8:28 CSB).  God is at work in our lives to bring about the very best for us even in the very worst of circumstances.  God knows what I need and what I need to be doing; where I’m going and where I need to go; He knows it all and so, once again, why wouldn’t my prayer life be a preoccupation with His will for my life?
 
True prayer is always God-centered; it should never be me-centered.  Even as we bring our needs to God we ought to be willing for God to meet that need as He sees fit and so the focus is still on Him.
 
Again, back to the Lord’s Prayer.  Jesus taught us to focus on the Father–His holiness, His highness, His sovereignty.  After we have worshiped God, then Christ directs us to petition God.  And even those petitions are focused on Him:  “Your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.”  After that we are to express our personal needs and desires to God.  The KJV ends Jesus’ prayer with these words:  “For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory forever.  Amen.”  
 
We can see that the true aim of prayer is not the imposition of our will upon God, but in being preoccupied with His will.  We should think of God’s will when we pray.  Our personal needs are still with us and we pray about them, but mostly, we focus on God and His will.  Real joy will come as we focus on Him, as we glorify Him, and as we learn to comprehend His pleasure as He enjoys His creation.
 
So let’s make God’s will the focus on prayer.  Let’s let our lives be a preoccupation with finding and living the will of God every day of our lives!

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