“This, then, is how you should pray: ‘Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us our debts …’” (Matthew 6:9-12)
The way you feel about today is based on what you worship.
Today, you are seeking something that will make this day “worth it” or something you consider to be “great”. If I “worship” sunshine and it is raining outside, I may have a million dollars in the bank and fame in the world, but I will “feel” like today is a “bad” day. If I “worship” popularity as a student and no one is talking to me today, I may have good grades and a terrific family, but I will “feel” like my world is falling apart.
What I worship affects my perspective on everything else in my day. Today, you won’t see things the way they really are. You will see things according to what you worship. That is why the first thing you should do with your day is choose to seek (or worship) Jesus so you see His perspective in all you ask for in prayer and do with your day.
This is exactly what Jesus taught in the Lord’s Prayer. His first instruction (Matthew 6:9) is to “hallow” the name of God.” The verb “hallow” is not a word we use much anymore. It means, “to treat as sacred and ultimate.” Jesus says that the first thing we should do in prayer is say, “God, you are the most important and greatest treasure in all I do today.” In other words, the first thing we should do in prayer is worship Him.
In the Lord’s Prayer, Jesus teaches us to talk to Father God about things like forgiveness, daily bread, and the direction of our lives only after we worship. Why? Because until we worship Jesus, the way we feel about ourselves and our day will be wrong and the priorities we pray about will also be wrong. As a result, our prayers will be empty and feel like they are just “hitting the ceiling.” Let me give you an example from my own life.
When I first graduated from college, all I wanted was a job near my fiancée, Sara. That was definitely the ultimate desire of my heart. It is what I worshiped (or hallowed).
One day I went on an interview for a sales job that would keep me near Sara instead of moving back home to New York. The interview went well and I was pretty sure I had gotten the job. I knew it would be a week or so before I heard back from the employer so you could be sure that I was praying hard to get the job. All that week I prayed according to what I worshiped—being close to Sara. I assumed it was a pretty reasonable request that God would honor since He was the One who had brought us together. Well, two weeks later I found out I hadn’t gotten the job. I was devastated and confused. Why had God let me down? Why didn’t God care about what I needed? Why was God not listening?
In reality, God was listening all along and had a plan. I was just ignoring His plan because I worshiped my own agenda. Because I wasn’t worshiping Jesus before I prayed, I had “Christianized” my agenda and made it “God’s will” when God never told me that job was His will for me. I had prayed with something greater in my heart than God. Mentally, I affirmed God’s greatness, but in “spirit and truth,” I wasn’t living it out.
A few months later, God gave me a much better job. During that time of waiting, I discovered that the job I didn’t get (but wanted so badly) was with a company with a terrible reputation; it was God’s mercy that spared me from that job. Although it was hard to wait for God’s plan, the job He gave me was actually closer to Sara and much more ideal for my first year of marriage than I could have imagined.
God was putting me first; the problem was that I wasn’t putting Him first! I wasn’t worshiping before I prayed. As a result, I was stressed, confused, and frustrated with my relationship with God when all along He was loving me and watching out for me.
That experience is exactly what Jesus is trying to teach in the Lord’s Prayer. Without a heart of worship, we will not pray with God’s perspective about what is going on in our lives. Satan will use that confusion to tempt us with the same lie he told Eve, “God isn’t really looking out for you, is He? He doesn’t really care or want you to have the best!” The result will be that my own fears and pride will begin to convince me to walk away from God (even as I continue to pray to Him).
So, as you begin this day, remember that “believing in Jesus” is not the same as worshiping Jesus. Seek Him as first and greatest in your heart and life today and He will show you what is truly important and guide you to it.
Making Jesus the Center of Tuesday
God’s Promise to Remember: “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well” (Matthew 6:33).
God’s Power to Pray For: Holy Spirit, I want Jesus to be what my heart seeks today. Fill me with a heart of worship as I pray the prayer you taught all followers to pray:
Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one. For yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.
Which part stands out to you for today? Why?
God’s Person to Share With: As you see your life from the perspective of God’s greatness, share with your prayer partner the part of the Lord’s Prayer you feel God is highlighting to you for today. Share a quick way your prayer partner can be praying for you in that regard. If you live with your family, have you ever considered saying the Lord’s Prayer together? Let it be a time to stop and remember that God is great.