In my experience I have found that many people generally centre prayer on themselves and their needs. This in itself is not wrong but often they may become disillusioned when their prayers are not answered. Prayer is not entirely about ‘me’. When Jesus explained how we should pray[1] he specifically used words ‘our’ ‘us’ and ‘we’.  Jesus did not say we should pray ‘give me my daily bread’ or ‘given them their daily bread’. Rather it was the personal pronoun ‘us’.

Jesus is saying is that we are part of something bigger than our individuality. Western thinking tends to be very hedonistic, rationalistic and humanistic. Such thinking is all about ‘me’ getting ahead in this life. Middle eastern culture is centred more on the family, what the family needs, what is best for the family.

I believe that when Jesus used the words ‘our’ ‘us’ and ‘we’, He was thinking of us as a family. Later he prayed to the Father that we ‘be one’[2]. This ‘oneness’, this unity and concern for others is wonderfully demonstrated and recorded in the book of Acts where they sold their possessions and goods, and distributed them to all, according as anyone had need’[3].

So what should our attitude be when we are praying?

When we pray we should remember we are part of something much bigger that just ourselves. We need to have a ‘kingdom’ mentality because Jesus said that we should pray for the kingdom to come.[4]

So what is the kingdom that Jesus is talking about? It is a demonstrating of the goodness of the Father in all we do and say so that the world can see the love and concern we have for other people[5] and through our actions be drawn to wanting to know Him.

In conclusion, our prayers need to maintain a balance for the welfare of others and ourselves, that love, joy and peace[6] should be flowing though us. It should also focus on those aspects within our character that stops the kingdom being revealed. It should be less about the things I want because he already knows our needs[7] and even if we don’t get the ‘thing’ we want he has still promised to look after us.

[1] Matthew 6:9-13

[2] John 17:22

[3] Acts 2:45 quoted from ‘The World English Bible’

[4] Matthew 6:10

[5] John 13:35

[6] Romans 14:17

[7] Matthew 6:8