“Steps to Successful Prayer, Part 5″ by John MacArthur
Part 5: Surrender to God’s Program
Very few people make it through life without some sort of plan. The vast majority of us have to put a lot of thought into our schedules and plan ahead if we want to accomplish anything. And what we put the most time into planning says a lot about where our hearts are—too often vacation and celebrations get lots of forethought, while responsibilities at work and around the house fit into our schedules as needed.
But where does God’s will factor into our plans? Are we too quick to get absorbed in our own plans and expectations for tomorrow without properly considering God’s sovereign will?
Like James 4:15 says, we “ought to say, ‘If the Lord wills, we will live and also do this or that’” when planning the days and weeks ahead. We can’t get carried away with our own program. Failing to acknowledge God’s supreme will and control is disrespectful—especially when He’s the One who grants our every breath.
That same mindset needs to carry over into our prayer lives. It’s easy to get caught up in petitions to the Lord regarding our immediate needs and desires. It’s much harder to routinely surrender those things to His will and wisdom, trusting in His perfect plan and provision.
Christ’s example to the disciples makes it clear—the priority for believers is God’s program, not our own. As we saw earlier in this series, our relationship to God gives us bold confidence to bring our requests before Him. But those requests—and our entire lives—must be subordinate to His plan.
And He said to them, “When you pray, say: ‘Father, hallowed be Your name. Your kingdom come. Give us each day our daily bread. And forgive us our sins, for we ourselves also forgive everyone who is indebted to us. And lead us not into temptation’” (Luke 11:2-4).
The closing phrase of Luke 11:2 is “Your kingdom come.” It is a prayer for the advancement of God’s kingdom. Like every phrase of the Lord’s Prayer, this is. . . .[Continue reading here]
John MacArthur is the pastor-teacher of Grace Community Church in Sun Valley, California, president of The Master’s College and The Master’s Seminary, and featured teacher with the Grace to You media ministry. Grace to You radio, video, audio, print, and website resources reach millions worldwide each day.