Asking…for What?

This weekend at our church we’re concluding a month looking at The Lord’s Prayer. Jesus offers us “prayer template” so we can begin to approach the Father the way he did.

The Lord’s Prayer can seem to start out a bit slow. There’s the part about how we should address God (our “Daddy”, as Abba would translate). Then there’s the part where we make it clear that God’s plans are what count: “your will be done…”. Finally Jesus gets to the part where we get to ask for stuff: “give us our daily bread”. We’ve prayed through all the formalities, not we can finally get what we’ve been waiting for. Sometimes the first parts of that prayer can feel like eating your vegetables so that your mom will let you have dessert.

But if you spend any time with Jesus’ teachings on prayer you find some disclaimers that can start to break our momentum as we charge into God’s throne room. He reminds us that our Father in Heaven knows what we need before we ask him. Later on he promises that God will answer our prayers lovingly, but he also slips in that little line to make sure we pray his kinds of prayers (praying “in his name”). It seems like Jesus almost..but not quite…lets us simply ask God for whatever our hearts might desire.

But that’s the rub, isn’t it? What exactly do our hearts desire? I’m slowly discovering that I don’t really know just what it is that I really want. I may think I want to accomplish a certain thing, or to buy some kind of upgrade for a device I own. I may think I want a certain kind of evening out or a weekend vacation. Actually, I could simply go big and start wishing for six months to sail the Greek Islands with my wife.

But then I start to wonder—are those the things I really want, or are they simply the things that I think will get me what I really want? For instance, if I fantasize about wealth and fame, do I really want wealth and fame? After all, there’s a lot of evidence to show that those sorts of blessings can really mess up relationships and add a lot of extra stress to your life. Or do I want something bigger, deeper, more long-lasting? Maybe what I really want is security, or significance.

I’m beginning to suspect that I might pray differently if I really knew what I was asking for.

How about you…what do you want?

(re-posted from