For Jesus’s Sake
Lots of people in the world pray. In fact, most people pray. You'll see it in other religions. You'll see it in non-religious people. We've all seen when some famous person dies or there's some tragedy in the world and somebody sends out a message that says, Our thoughts and prayers are with you.
Well, okay, that's nice I guess. But as Christians, we want to think about what makes prayer distinctively Christian. When you think about it, it doesn't take a work of the Spirit of God in your life for you to want things to go well. Non-Christians want their loved ones to find a job. You don't have to be a Christian to want illness to go away, to be cured from cancer, for conflict to be resolved, for problems to go away.
I fear—in my own life and in our lives as Christians—that sometimes our prayers are not really discernibly Christian. Now, God is gracious to us and he says to cast all your cares on him, but if we're to pray genuinely Christian prayers, it means we're praying in Jesus's name for Jesus's sake. And we want to see Jesus and his kingdom come. So we're not just praying, God, help my problems to go away; help the bad things to get better. We're saying, God, help me to grow as your follower. God, help me to glorify your name in the midst of these trials. God, give me, in the midst of this, opportunities to talk to others about my faith.
We're asking for God to do gospel things in our lives, among our families, in our churches. And that's what makes Christian prayer distinctively Christian. It's focused on Christ, it's for the sake of Christ, and it's not just on account of our needs, but it is so that the name of Christ would be glorified.
Kevin DeYoung is the author of The Lord’s Prayer: Learning from Jesus on What, Why, and How to Pray.
The Lord's Prayer orients us, most importantly, to the vertical dimension of our prayers. That's why we start by saying, “Our Father.”
To pray with intimacy to God as father is not a human right; it is a spiritual privilege. It is a privilege for the people of God who have been born again by the Spirit of God.
Kevin DeYoung talks about our common struggle to pray and how the Lord's Prayer—the prayer that Jesus offered as a model for our prayers—can help us to pray to God day in and day out.
Donald Whitney talks about a simple, proven approach to prayer that has the potential to transform your spiritual life for the better.