“Lord, help me to want what you want for me.”
That is a good prayer, for sure, but some days that is a particularly tough prayer. It is a prayer of submission as we align ourselves with God in His rightful place as Lord of our lives. And that is good. But it is also a hard prayer to pray as we choose to recognize, as we put God first, there are things of ourselves we have to put aside. Again, that is good and it is hard.
If I trust that God is who the Bible says, that God really is who I’ve confessed God to be in my life (God is good, God is loving, God is all powerful, God is all knowing, God is ever-present, God loves me, God will work all things to good, God’s plans for me are good) then the prayer, “Lord, help me to want what you want for me” should be my constant desire.
When I found those words on my lips, I guess you could say it was my equivalent of thy will be done, thy kingdom come… Thy will be done recognizes that God is… well God and as such He is Lord of my life; His will is what matters. But I find myself convicted. I could pray for God’s will to be done and find I am still passive in that situation. Meaning, it is possible for God’s will to come to pass while I remain ambivalent at best to the reality of God at work in the macro and micro.
Jesus’ prayer (The Lord’s Prayer) couples the will of God with the kingdom of God which takes my understanding of the power of this prayer to a whole new depth. And, truth be told, I didn’t see it that way for a while. In fact, it was the “your kingdom come” part that used to seem distant, having very little to do with me. It is after all, God’s kingdom… not my own. For some reason, it all seemed very matter-of-fact, static, clinical almost. I’m not sure why I interpreted those words as such. I know my mind didn’t believe it this way but I could feel in the cadence of my prayers and my intonation… while I was saying the right words, I wasn’t saying them with the right heart.
I had missed something. The part I had missed finally clicked as I found a beautiful connection with Jesus’ words when he spoke in parables saying, “the kingdom of heaven is like…”
Like all of scripture, Jesus’ parables show us who God is as the character of God is revealed in story form. Matthew 13 records Jesus teaching in a way that lays out for us imagery to describe the kingdom of heaven. In so doing, these brief teaching stories tell us about God; they also teach us about who we are and how we are to live.
And this was the seemingly obvious key that I just couldn’t see: we are part of the kingdom.
Praying for God’s kingdom and will to be done is not just to sit back and watch this someone else’s perfect plan unfold while we sit idle. His kingdom come and His will be done allows us to see what Jesus meant as he said, he had come, “that they may have life and have it abundantly.”
The Bible shows us the meaning of and the way to life abundantly. First we have to know who God is, then we can understand who we are in Him and how then we are to live our lives. This is where we can truly thrive. Some days it will be frustrating and we will struggle as our understanding, will, and desires are being made new into that of Christ’s.
But the kingdom of heaven isn’t just about God’s side of things. That’s a crazy beautiful reality about the heart of God: He calls us to live life with him… and in living the life we are meant to live we find what life to the fullest really means.
“Lord, help me to want what you want for me.”
Thy kingdom come, thy will be done… those were words I would recite from memory, repeat them in unison during corporate prayer… but my mind was praying from the shallowest of places.
“Lord, help me to want what you want for me” is a deep cry from my heart for what I know I need because when I come to see who God really is, when I understand even a tiny bit more of what having His kingdom and will come… why would I want anything else?
Many times when I’ve encountered the words, “kingdom of heaven” or “kingdom of God” in the New Testament my understanding came up short. I think it is time I dive into them again.
I’m going to start this week in Matthew 13. If you want to join me I would be happy to hear how God is speaking to you and teaching you in the Word. Send me a message or a comment sharing what “kingdom of heaven” passage God is deepening your understanding of who He is, who you are in Him and/or how you then you should live.
This week my prayer, “Lord, help me to want what you want for me” is taking on a new depth of meaning. Will you join me in praying that in your life?