Prayer – An Act of Worship

“Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name…” Matthew 6:9

True prayer is predominately God-centered, not man-centered, and adoration is its first and most basic characteristic. The Model Prayer is an example of God-centered praying. Notice the order of its six petitions: “Hallowed be thy name…Thy kingdom come…Thy will be done…Give us this day our daily bread…forgive us our debts…lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil.” These six petitions can be divided into two groups of three, the first three focusing on God’s glory, the last three, man’s need. Adoration precedes supplication and confession.

The first three petitions express our concern for God’s glory, God’s goal, and God’s government, respectively. The last three focus on our need of God’s grace for provision, pardon, and protection, respectively. The sequence of thought here suggests that a sharp focus on the character of God and enjoyment of fellowship with him is essential before one begins to ask for personal favors. We should never use God as a means to fulfill our desires. He won’t be used in this way.

The late Vance Havner said, “I have read of a business executive who was besieged in his office all day by people seeking favors. Near the close of that long day his little son came to the office. ‘And what is it that you want?’ the father asked good-naturedly. The youngster replied, ‘I don’t want anything, I just came to be with you.’ I believe our Heavenly Father would appreciate it if, for a change, we came to him in prayer, not asking for favors, but seeking only his fellowship. When we seek him alone we end up with all else we need, for if we seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, then all these things shall be added to us.”

How long has it been since you have come before him for no other purpose but simply to adore him? This is true worship, the overflow of the heart which has no request to make, and prayer, from this perspective, is essentially praise. Go to him today, friend, simply to say “Lord Jesus, I love you.”

– Michael L. Gowens