Words of Worth

An End Run in Prayer

January 31, 2015

thy will

end run

noun

FOOTBALL

  1. 1.

an attempt by the ball carrier to run around the end of the defensive line.

verb

  1. 1.

NORTH AMERICAN

evade; circumvent.

End run. This is the extent of my football vocabulary.  And here’s the thing—I’m limited as to how to use the phrase in terms of football but I know how to use it in terms of prayer. We may not think of the words, “end run” when we pray, yet frequently when it comes to prayer, many of us do end runs, or circumvent the pattern of prayer that Jesus taught in Matthew 6:9-13.

Pray then like this:

“Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name.
10 Your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
11 Give us this day our daily bread,
12 and forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.
13 And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.

A couple of weeks back I wrote about the two parts of the Lord’s prayer.  The first part is about God’s name, kingdom and will (vs. 9-10); the second part is about our needs, forgiveness, and holiness (vs. 11-13). While these two halves are apparent, many of us may do an end run in prayer, circumvent and skip over the first part of the prayer, and get right down to the business of our needs and wants.  This is very easy to do because for many of us, the point of prayer is how to get God to give us things we need or want. However, the point of prayer is not to center on ourselves but to make God the center of our lives.  Prayer is centering on God.

It is not enough to say God is the center of our lives. We must make Him the center by getting our hearts in the right orbit.  One way to get our hearts in the right orbit around God is to come to Him in prayer, accepting His will first and then asking for our requests.  Jesus, who taught us how to pray, also modeled centering on God before asking for His needs.

In the garden of Gethsemane, Jesus prayed three times for God’s will to be done even though Jesus asked for His personal cup of suffering to be removed (Matthew 26: 39-44):

 39 And going a little farther he fell on his face and prayed, saying, “My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will.” 40 And he came to the disciples and found them sleeping. And he said to Peter, “So, could you not watch with me one hour? 41 Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” 42 Again, for the second time, he went away and prayed, “My Father, if this cannot pass unless I drink it, your will be done.” 43 And again he came and found them sleeping, for their eyes were heavy. 44 So, leaving them again, he went away and prayed for the third time, saying the same words again.

We read of the agony Jesus endured for our sake in both the actual thought of the crucifixion as well as the actual crucifixion.  Jesus faced agony and suffering the likes of which we will never know and He did it for our sake.  That’s what it cost Jesus to say, “Thy will be done.”

What does it cost us?  Our cups of suffering are Dixie cups in comparison to Christ’s suffering and yet we still do end runs of the first part of the Lord’s Prayer.  First we need to submit to the will of God, then we can ask for our daily bread.

Enjoy Super Bowl XLIX and may the best commercial win.  Or should I say may the best team win? I warned you my football savvy was limited.

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