You know how a compass works. The floating needle or direction arrow points toward the earth’s magnetic pole. You also know what happens if the compass comes close to a local magnetic source – the direction arrow gets pulled away from its proper orientation and will not work properly until it is freed from the nearby influence.
Each of us lives with a spiritual moral “compass” we have developed which, if guided by God, points us in his direction, but sooner or later – and usually sooner – our spiritual compass gets pulled away from true by the physical influences that surround us. At that point we must reset the compass by freeing ourselves from the negative physical influences or, knowingly or not, we are headed in the wrong direction.
That “reset” would seem to be the exact purpose of the beginning of the model prayer outline that we call “The Lord’s Prayer.” Jesus taught that before making our requests to God we should begin by praying “Our Father which are in heaven, hallowed be your name “ (Matthew 6:9). These simple words, if expanded and prayed with sincere thought, reset our spiritual compasses and get us pointing in the right direction again. It is as we pray thoughtfully, concentrating on who God is, his nature, and his relationship with us that that we align and prepare ourselves for the requests we are about to make.
It’s all too easy to forget or skimp on this aspect of prayer, especially when our minds are crowded by our own needs and the needs of others, but it is to the degree that we do first align ourselves that we are better able to see things from the perspective God wants us to have. Without this realignment we eventually find ourselves asking for the wrong things in the wrong ways for the wrong reasons.
So, consider the importance of the opening thoughts of the Lord’s Prayer before asking for specific requests. Jesus' words help us in showing that alignment should always precede asking, and resetting should always precede requesting.