Summary: The way you pray reminds you who is in charge. Before Jesus ever taught us to ask Him for anything, He tells us to recognize the One who is in charge of everything.
Years ago, when we lived in Gulfport, MS, my job was such that I had to spend a lot of time away from home. For 8 years, I averaged 300 days a year on the road. That’s a lot of nights away. Some of those were in field conditions. Some of them were in military billeting. But most of them were in hotels. I don’t know how many times you’ve ever stayed in a hotel room, but there are some things I always do. When I first walk in the room, I turn the air down and open the curtains. Then I find the TV Guide. Then for some reason, I look at the room service menu. I don’t know why. Out of all the hotels I’ve ever stayed in, I can’t remember ever getting room service. I guess I just can’t stand the thought of a $15 hamburger. But there’s just something about the thought of room service that’s appealing. You just pick up the phone and tell someone what you want. And then before you know it, it’s there. Then if you want something else—call. And then, poof—it’s there at your door. You want coffee? It’s there. You want cheesecake? It’s there. If money was no object, you could just keep calling and they would bring you anything you want. What a power trip that would be. What a sense of control that would be. It would almost be like being one of the old time kings who could get anything they wanted just at the snap of their fingers. Wouldn’t that be fun? It might be fun for a little while. But in the end, we would discover exactly what King Solomon did. In Ecclesiastes 2:10-11, he wrote, “And whatsoever mine eyes desired I kept not from them, I withheld not my heart from any joy; for my heart rejoiced in all my labour: and this was my portion of all my labour. Then I looked on all the works that my hands had wrought, and on the labour that I had laboured to do: and, behold, all was vanity and vexation of spirit, and there was no profit under the sun.” That’s how Solomon felt when he had everything that he ever wanted in life. And that is exactly how we would feel if we had everything we ever asked for. That’s why God loves us enough not to be our personal genie. He loves us enough not to be our personal Santa Claus. But if that’s the case, why do we come to Him in prayer like He is Santa Claus? Why do we come to Him in prayer with only our “gimme, gimme” list. Lord, bless this. Lord bless that. Lord heal this. Lord provide for that. Does the Lord want us to come to Him with our petitions? Of course He does. But He is not a heavenly version of room service. He is not there to grant our every wish and desire. He meets our needs in order that we might bring Him glory and honor and praise. Not that we might have all the things we want or desire. As we continue tonight looking at the Lord’s Prayer, we’re going to look specifically at verse 10. And I want you to notice something profound. It took a lot of study to recognize this. Verse 10 comes before verse 11. And you know what? Verse 9 that we looked at last time comes before verse 11 too. Do you know why that’s significant? Because verse 11 is the first time Jesus tells us to break out our “gimme gimme” list. Verse 11 is the first time He tells us to ask for anything for ourselves. It’s pretty understandable why verse 9 comes before verse 11. Because, as we talked about last time, verse 9 is our greeting to God. It’s the opening line. It’s how we are addressing the One we’re talking to. That’s pretty easy to understand. But why does verse 10 come before verse 11? Why does Jesus tell us to pray, “Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth as it is in heaven” before He tells us to ask for anything for ourselves? Because, He knows that we have to constantly remind ourselves that the Lord is not our personal room service. He’s not our personal Santa Claus. He’s not our genie of the lamp. He is God and we’re not. By giving us verse 10 before verse 11, Jesus teaches us to pray recognizing and understanding who is in charge. The way you pray reminds you that Jesus rules and reigns His kingdom.
In America today, we have a hard time understanding the concept of a king and his kingdom. None of us in here have ever experienced what it is like to live in a dictatorship. And even if we had, earthly pictures of kings and kingdoms fall far short of what the Lord’s kingdom is. When Jesus tells us to pray, “Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth as it is in heaven,” He’s not speaking of what our picture of a kingdom is. He’s reminding us of the kingdom that He reigns over. And the kingdom He reigns over is far bigger than anything we imagine with our pictures of earthly kingdoms. As a matter of fact, in Jesus’ kingdom, He rules and reigns over three areas. Three areas that we are to remember in prayer in order to keep our asking in perspective. The first part of the kingdom of Christ we are to remember in prayer is the kingdom that is yet before us. Before you ask, recognize the One who reigns by remembering the kingdom that is yet before you.