Matthew 6:9-10 & Pray Big or Sin

The biggest problem with our prayers is not that they are too short, but too small.  Our biggest sin in prayer is not the infrequency of our petitions, but the finitude of our petitions.  Small prayers are fit only for a small God, small prayers blaspheme!  Don’t strive to pray more as much as to pray big.

This language is not meant to push you toward using prayer for more health and wealth, but beyond that.  Praying big does not mean praying for more measurable stuff, but praying for the infinite.  Stuff is measurable, God is not.  Also this does not eliminate prayer for daily needs or casting all our anxieties upon Him (I Peter 5:7), but rather establishes the proper setting for such requests.

The Disciple’s Prayer is comprised of six requests that can be divided into two groups of three requests each.  The pronouns are your clue to the division.  The first three all concern “Your”; not your your, but His Your.  The final three concern “us”.  The first three are worshipful longings, the last three are needs humbly requested.

So prayer is to begin with God.  Prayer will reveal our priorities.  What you pray for (content) is what you pray for (motive).  That is, what you request in prayer, is why you pray.  The first petition reveals what should be first in our hearts, the glory and renown of God.  If this isn’t first, your prayers are idolatrous.  Pray big or sin, these are your options.

Prayer seeks the saving rule and reign of God to come and regenerate men’s hearts so that they hallow His name and so that His will is done on earth as it is in heaven.  The answer to our deepest longings in prayer should fall like a mountain thrust to the earth from the heavens totally rearranging the landscape of this world and we are asking only for feathers.

Pray prayers as big as God.  Pray prayers for God.

Oh that you would rend the heavens and come down, that the mountains might quake at your presence—as when fire kindles brushwood and the fire causes water to boil— to make your name known to your adversaries, and that the nations might tremble at your presence!  When you did awesome things that we did not look for, you came down, the mountains quaked at your presence.  From of old no one has heard or perceived by the ear, no eye has seen a God besides you, who acts for those who wait for him.  You meet him who joyfully works righteousness, those who remember you in your ways. Behold, you were angry, and we sinned; in our sins we have been a long time, and shall we be saved?  – Isaiah 64:1-5

2 thoughts on “Matthew 6:9-10 & Pray Big or Sin”

  1. I’m sure you’ve already heard about it… but this makes me think of Derek Webb’s new album, Feedback. (which I’m hoping to get soon.) 🙂

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  2. Oh, how one’s (i.e. my) perception changes in just a few years! When I first read this, my reaction was evidently sufficiently negligible to leave the above comment. Oh, how it has changed!

    My first thought is to consider my own life. My main prayer is a combination of “You” and “us.” Namely, it is “Show me your glory! May I perceive your glory in all its depths and infinitude.” Seldom do I pray for the extension of his fame, which is certainly something I need to take note of in the future.

    The next observation brought up by your post is this: All of the first-person-centered requests are plural; none are singular. Jesus tells his disciples to ask for “us,” not for “me.” Whether this is speaking of the Church universal, the church local, or the subdivision of the church with whom we fellowship deeply (e.g. Lifegroup, Sunday School), the first-person-centered requests are never just about “me.”

    Another observation: None of the first-person-centered requests are asking God to help us do something. They are all about doing something in us. So not, “help me find bread;” rather, “give me bread.” Translated for me currently, not “help me find a job that I think I’ll enjoy,” but “present a job to me in which you know I will be fulfilled.” And not, “help me avoid temptation, and help me resist evil when it attacks;” but “don’t lead me to temptation in the first place, and when evil attacks, you’re the only one who can get me out of it!”

    Check your email; I’ll be sending you something soon.

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