James is challenging the people who ask for the wrong things and with the wrong motives. However, this statement of his is very telling. We do need to ask God for what we need both individually and as a community.
Lifting our eyes from our own desires and looking at our communities and the world around us some of the needs are obvious and urgent. They are highlighted too at the beginning of the Lord’s Prayer – as if He knew that in each and every age these would be the greatest needs and should be therefore our most urgent requests. Without them anything else that we might long for would be self-centred and greedy.
- Hallowed be Your Name. One great Name – One Person – should be at the centre of our life and living, both individually and as communities. Without Him we will tend towards the worship and honouring of other people and other things. This will lead us into greed, bondage and the destruction of ‘civilized’ communities as the ways of the world take over.
- Your Kingdom Come. We need God’s Kingdom of love, blessing and freedom – not the world’s ways of division and degradation, violence and corruption and spiritual and physical slavery.
- Your Will Be Done. God’s will and His perfect and precious plan and purpose for each person and each community, working together in love, harmony and co-operation – where the weakest and the strongest, the independent and the dependent, the wealthy and the poor are accepted, included and cared for. Where the children can play in the streets and sing and enjoy the wonder of life with everyone else.
Yes, perhaps the problem is that we are not asking God for our real needs and with the right motives. For as long as the world pretends He is not needed the pain will continue.
Pray the Prayer faithfully for yourself, your family, your church, your community, your nation and our world – and seek to live it.
Hallowed be Your Name Father, Your Kingdom come Father, Your will be done Father in me, in my family and in my church today and every day, Amen.