One of his disciples said to him, “Lord, teach us to pray. . . .” He said to them, “When you pray, say: “. . . Your kingdom come.” (Luke 11: 1– 2)
When one of the disciples said, “Teach us to pray,” the Lord raised His eyes to the far horizon of His Father’s world. He brought the ultimate goal of eternal life together with everything God desires to do in the life of humankind and packed it all into a powerful prayer that followed these words: “This, then, is how you should pray” (Matt. 6: 9). And what a contrast between His prayer and what we often hear today!
How do we pray when we follow the desires of our own hearts? We say, “Lord, bless me, then my family, my church, my city, and my country.” We start with those closest to us and gradually move outward, ultimately praying for the expansion of God’s kingdom throughout the world.
Our Master’s prayer, however, begins where we end. He taught us to pray for the world first and our personal needs second. Only after our prayer has covered every continent, every remote island of the sea, every person in the last hidden tribe, and every desire and purpose of God for the world are we taught to ask for a piece of bread for ourselves.
Jesus gave Himself for us and to us, paying a holy and precious price on the cross. After giving His all, is it too much for Him to ask us to do the same thing? No man or woman will ever amount to anything in God’s kingdom or ever experience any of His power, until this lesson of prayer is learned— that Christ’s business is the supreme concern of life and that all of our personal considerations, no matter how important or precious to us, are secondary.
When Robert Moffat, the nineteenth-century Scottish explorer and missionary to South Africa, was once asked to write in a young lady’s personal album, he wrote these words:
My album is a savage chest,
Where fierce storms brood and shadows rest,
Without one ray of light;
To write the name of Jesus there,
And see the savage bow in prayer,
And point to worlds more bright and fair,
This is my soul’s delight.
“His kingdom will never end” (Luke 1: 33), or as an old Moravian version says, “His Kingdom shall have no frontier.”
Missionary work should never be an afterthought of the church, because it is Christ’s forethought.
~Henry Jackson Van Dyke
Cowman, L. B. E.; Reimann, Jim (2008-09-09). Streams in the Desert: 366 Daily Devotional Readings (pp. 464-465). Zondervan. Kindle Edition.
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