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Mindful

God has frequently assured mankind, and in particular His faithful followers, that His Kingdom will come (whether we are ready for it or not) and His will will be done throughout the earth.  So why the instruction to ask for it?
By PAUL ZILMER
Read Time: 2 minutes

In the address we know as the “Sermon on the Mount”, Jesus counsels us to have no worries about what we will eat or wear, because “your heavenly Father knows that you need them all”.  He knows it, He will take care of it.  (Matthew 6:25-34)

Jesus says this just moments after teaching us to pray, “Give us today our bread for tomorrow” (verse 11).  God already knows we need it, promises He’s got it taken care of.  So why are we to ask for it?

All over both Old and New Testaments we are given promises of God’s Kingdom filling the earth, of Christ returning to establish it.  But in that same instruction on prayer, Jesus teaches us to pray, “Your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven” (verse 10).

God has frequently assured mankind, and in particular His faithful followers, that His Kingdom will come (whether we are ready for it or not) and His will will be done throughout the earth.  So why the instruction to ask for it?

Other similar things may occur to you.  For instance Paul counsels us,

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.”  (Philippians 4:6)

Yet David notes,

“Even before a word is on my tongue, behold, O LORD, you know it altogether.”  (Psalm 139:4)

We are invited to bring all our requests to God in prayer, and yet God knows it all before we do.

Clearly, we are being taught that God doesn’t need to be informed of our needs or our yearnings.  He knows.  Just as clearly, we are told we need to bring them to God in prayer.  If doing so isn’t for God’s benefit, then plainly it is for our benefit.

When we pray for what we’ve already been promised, we reaffirm that we are aligned with God’s purpose, His will.  We have to (or at least we ought to!) think through what we are asking God for.  Is it aligned with His will?  On what grounds are we asking—our own desire, or what He desires?

When we pray for what we’ve already been promised, we reaffirm that we are aligned with God’s purpose, His will

This isn’t the first time you’ve heard remarks of this sort; it’s no eye-opening insight.  It’s just a reminder, for me and perhaps for you, that our prayers need to be mindful.  It is all too easy for them to become mechanical or habitual, or of course self-centered rather than God’s-will-centered.  Even saying “God willing” or some equivalent phrase can become mere habit.

It is well to bear in mind how Jesus’s instructive prayer concludes.

“For yours is the Kingdom, yours is the power, yours is the glory.  Forever.”

Is my prayer Kingdom-worthy?

Does it recognize God as the only power there is?

Does it give Him all the glory?

Then I can say “amen”.

Love, Paul

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