Lord, Teach Us To Pray: The What of Prayer


“Your kingdom come. Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” Luke 11:2b

The ever-elusive, oh-so-mysterious “will of God” seems to be a constant source of confusion, anxiety, and frustration in Christian circles. And yet, this is what Jesus would have us pray: for our Father’s will to be done.


Oh, to be Moses by the burning bush and hear the audible voice of God commanding, “Did I stutter? I said go to Egypt, son!”*1

Or sweet, unassuming, small-town-girl and soon-to-be wed Mary receiving messages from angels, clear as a bell: “Congrats, it’s a boy! …Yes, we know you’re a virgin. He’s also God. You’ll get the deets later, don’t even worry about it; God’s got you.”*2

Even Saul/Paul, who was literally knocked off of his high horse and left blind after Jesus delivered a personal message: “Listen, Saul. All these people you’ve been murdering in “God’s name”? Not cool. Not My thing. Get on My team: I’ve got big plans for you.”*3

(*My paraphrase.)

These people had the benefit of messengers or an audible voice, clearly telling them what God’s will for their next move was. Go to Egypt. Carry the Messiah. Let go of your preconceived notion of who I am and actually follow Me.

But we don’t have the audible voice of God (if you do hear Him though, let me know. I always imagined He sounded like Morgan Freeman…). We do, however, have His word and His Spirit and He is faithful to communicate His will to those who earnestly seek Him out!

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“But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” Matthew 6:33

When we pray, we have a direct connection to the heart of the King. We enter into the sacred space of His throne room. If we know Who He is (our Father, as well as our King) and we posture ourselves before Him in a proper position of adoration, then this sets us up to be successful to discern the what the big what of prayer.

And the what of prayer is actually quite simple: God’s glory is ultimately God’s will. And we must align ourselves with it. It is what we were created for.

This is the Kingdom Priority. It always has been. When God created our first parents in the Garden and gave them the mandate, it was an invitation to partnership.

“So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. 28 Then God blessed them, and God said to them, ‘Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over [it].’ Genesis 1:27-28

Man is a unique creation in that way: while all of creation reveals attributes of God and so glorifies Him (Ps. 19:1), God personally extended the invitation in covenantal partnership to be more. Instead of uttering a word, He got down in the mud and crafted His children with care and purpose. He left more than a thumbprint on humanity – He set His very image in us and breathed life into our nostrils.

Of all creation, He elevated is image bearers to rule and reign over the beloved creation. To bear His mark as they pushed the boundaries of Paradise to the uttermost ends of the earth and filled it with men and women who also walked with the benevolent Creator in the cool of the day.

God tenderly shaped Adam and Eve in love; and love was the goal of the covenant. Mankind’s total trust, unabashed vulnerability, innocence and dependence, unfettered devotion and obedience in exchange for complete fulfillment and satisfaction. This is the Kingdom Priority. This is what our first parents gave up. And this is what we continue to give up every day when we neglect to see God for who He is and allow Him to take up His rightful place in our lives.

“Delight yourself in the Lord, and He shall give you the desires of your heart.” Psalms 37:4

When we align ourselves with our Originator, He gives us the desires of our hearts… because we want what He wants more than anything else. Ultimately, we end up longing for Him in a desperate kind of way so that not even spiritual blessings can compare to a moment in His presence. Everything else becomes a nice extra, but ultimately nonessential.

So we pray with earnestness and desperation: “Your kingdom come. Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” Because we want the total consummation of His kingdom. We want our just, righteous, holy, good, King to reign here in this earth. Our hearts cry out for every sin and weight to be cast aside so that His will is our will. There is a day coming soon when the struggle will be over and His will will be done on earth as it is in heaven, and we long for it.

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I haven’t heard bushes speak or received any heavenly messengers yet, but I do hear from my Father. But I long to be like the saints of old with unwavering faith who knew what it meant to put the self to death; who knew the voice of their beloved Savior and longed for His will in their lives and in the world, no matter what that looked like.

I’m moving towards it. But there’s so much more intimacy with my Savior to be had. So much more oneness to be attained. So I encourage you, as I preach to my own heart, dear ones:

When you are at a crossroads: seek to glorify God. Ask Jesus to give you the desires of His heart and the sensitivity to His Spirit’s leading.

A man’s heart plans his way,
But the Lord directs his steps. – Proverbs 16:9

When you are seeking to prioritize, ask yourself if you have the Kingdom Priority. Something that I heard in a sermon once was to challenge myself with the question: “Is this thing a weight or a wing?” Is this thing moving me closer to oneness with God?

“Let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us” -Hebrews 12:1b

And remember that the Spirit of Him who lives in you is ever-present and always moving to bring you closer to abiding with the Father, so that His will and your will are one in the same.



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