PRAY…AFTER THIS MANNER
By W. G. Guy
Most people are familiar with the Lord’s Prayer, but when they pray their focus is more on what they want and they miss what it is that God wants.
Matthew 6:9-10 – After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.
The part that most people miss is - “thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.”
What a stark contrast we have now between what we have in this world, on earth, and what is in heaven! Yet we are told to pray for things to be on earth as they are in heaven. What is the difference between the two environments?
What we now have in this present world is listed in scripture:
1 John 2:15-16 – Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, (or in heaven) but is of the world.
These three areas of human vulnerability produce human behavior known as the works of the flesh.
Galatians 5:19-21 – Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.
Such behavior will not be permitted in heaven, and those who do such things will not be permitted to have access to the kingdom of God. What does this evil influence produce that is so offensive to our righteous Heavenly Father?
2 Timothy 3:1-5 – This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof:
Now consider what is not in heaven; none of the fleshly behavior we currently experience on earth: no sin; no sickness or disease; no evil; no selfishness: no lies or deceit; no thefts, fraud or stealing; no hatred; no murder; no fighting; no weaknesses of the flesh; no wars; no death or destruction; no deadly weapons; no false gods or false worship; no violence and no corruption (which means no politicians).
What is in heaven that God wants us to have on earth: love, righteousness, peace, joy, happiness, pleasure, knowledge of truth, true riches, faith and faithfulness, and eternal life? These things are listed as the Fruit of the Spirit, which is the character and nature of God, and was fully manifesting in Jesus Christ – our example and Lord.
2 Peter 1:3-4 – according as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue: whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.
Galatians 5:22-23 – But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.
Note that no laws are required because this is godly righteous behavior. Also notice that godly behavior has a special blessing:
Psalms 16:11 – Thou wilt shew me the path of life; in thy presence (as in heaven) is fullness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore.
Therefore, we should be praying to conform to God’s standard which was fully revealed in Jesus Christ, God’s only begotten Son.
Romans 8:29 – For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.
Romans 12:2 – And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.
In scripture we see what it is that God wants us to be like – His children.
Romans 8:6, 13-14 – For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. 13 For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live. 14 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.
We are also instructed to be conformed to the likeness and image of Jesus; and there is a specific reason for this conformity.
1 John 3:2 – Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.
So let us pray according to the will of God, not just our own will!
Matthew 6:33 – But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.
So don’t be like the people who tell God only what they want and failing to acknowledge what Jesus said in the Lord’s Prayer.
Matthew 6:8 – Be not ye therefore like unto them: for your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask him.