Drawn Up!

You have a Father, and this Father cares about every one of us. You can’t pray about a problem he doesn’t know and care about. None. No matter how small they are. And he beckons you to come to him and to talk to him in prayer about them, because he knows what you need, and he’s not surprised by anything.

Now that’s the usual way we attack our problems — directly. “God, help me! I’ve got a problem.” And all the attention begins to focus on the problem. And yes, God, you’re saying “Come,” but your life is starting to shrink up around the problem or the set of problems. You wake up thinking about them, you go to bed thinking about them, and your life is shrinking little by little down around this cluster of pain and problems. Marriage problems, or kid problems, or health problems, or work problems. Your life is just shrinking down, and all the while you’re calling on the last three petitions, “God, help me. I need some bread. I need some money. I need some forgiveness. I need some help morally.” You’re crying out, and your life is just shrinking down.

Now, when I say it that way, I don’t mean, “Stop doing that.” I do not mean, “Stop crying out to God.” I don’t mean, “Stop knowing your problems are there and saying, ‘I need help.’” I want you to see that God offers you another strategy of victory. It’s not different; that is, it’s not contradictory. It doesn’t replace what I just described. But it is indirect. There’s a direct way — I’ve got a problem, and I’m going after it — and then there’s something indirect, and here I’m thinking about the first three petitions of the Lord’s Prayer.

God made you to be a part of something big. He made you to be a part of something spectacular and magnificent, and you’re allowing, perhaps, your life to just shrink down around these problems. God’s in it, and he’s patient, and he’s loving, and he provides help, but I’m just saying that there’s another strategy. There’s another way to add. It’s a supplemental remedy for life. Namely, to be drawn up. Let yourself be drawn up into the first three petitions of the Lord’s Prayer.

God made you to be a part of hallowing his name, and extending his kingdom, and seeing his will be done. He made you for something magnificent. Something mundane as well. Oh yes, he made that. He cares about that. He wants you to live there. But what we fail to see — I speak from experience — is that when we lose our grip on the greatness of God, and his name, and his kingdom, and his global will, we lose a divine equilibrium in life, and we become increasingly vulnerable to those problems overwhelming us.

When we lose our grip on his name, his kingdom, his will — the big, universal, global, glorious, awesome, magnificent purposes into which we have been caught up — when we lose our grip on that, and life begins to shrink down around even a God-pursued problem solving, we lose an equilibrium, a divine equilibrium. I’ve called it ballast before in life, in your boat. You have this little boat, and the waves are there, and your ballast is heavy, deep, and I’m just shifting images here to go up into those first three petitions.

I’m pleading with you as I close that you not lose your grip on the supremacy and centrality of hallowing the name of God in your life. I’m urging you, from the Lord’s Prayer and from experience, that you do go to God for bread, and you do go to God for forgiveness, and you do go to God for overcoming besetting sins, and you do go to God to advance his will and to seek his kingdom, and you do all of it for the hallowing of his name.

The great value in your life, in your marriage, in your parenting, in your single life, in your friendships, in your studies — the great value is that I will live so that both my heart and other hearts hallow, esteem, reverence, lift up, honor, value, treasure the name of God over all things.

Keep your feet on the ground. We live there. We will never not live on the ground, with its mundane aspects. But you may not see it clearly now, but I testify, and I say from Scripture, there is more deliverance, more healing, more joy in the hallowing of God’s name as your supreme goal and priority than you ever dreamed.

It’s so indirect that it just feels often irrelevant. I’ve got this massive problem and you’re telling me to hallow the name of God? Yeah, I am. It is a request. “Hallowed be thy name” means, “Let your name be hallowed.” And who needs to do it more? I do. It’s a global prayer, but it starts right here. When I wake up in the morning, I’m not hallowing the name of God most mornings. I’m thinking about my problems, and they seem to be bigger than God. So I pray this. This is a prayer. Isn’t that encouraging that Jesus would tell us, “Ask the Father to help you hallow him”?

I invite you, beckon you, to go deep and go high in the Lord’s Prayer. Let him be a sweet, close, tender, warm, need-meeting, caring Father to you. And on that, rise up and join him through prayer and life in the seeking of his kingdom and the doing of his will — all to the end that his name be hallowed.

J. Piper

Published by Intentional Faith

Devoted to a Faith that Thinks

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