Tuesday, June 17, 2014

A Thought

[Jesus taught], “Your Father knows the things you have need of before you ask Him.  Therefore pray: ‘Our Father in heaven, hallowed be Your name.  Your kingdom come, Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.  Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors.  Do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.  For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever.  Amen’.”  Matthew 6:8-13

Jesus is teaching much more than a prayer we should memorize; He is teaching about the very nature of prayer itself.  When He speaks of the “hypocrites” who are much more concerned with putting on a prayer show than with the prayer itself, He is admonishing us that prayer which seeks to glorify the “prayor” rather than the One to whom we pray is a waste of time.  How many times have we heard someone comment, “Man, that guy/girl sure can pray!”??  Maybe.  It’s just that Jesus seems to suggest what they are really good at is putting on a show or giving a speech but pretending it is a prayer.  The focus is on the prayor rather than on the One to whom we should be praying.

There is also a component to this prayer often overlooked.  Jesus say, “When you pray, go into your room; and when you have shut your door pray to your Father who is in the secret place.  And your Father who sees in secret will reward you” (Matthew 6:6).  Private.  Even silent.  No audience.   “And your Father who sees in secret will reward you”.  There is a huge difference between divine “reward” and “wishes granted” and again places the focus back on the One to whom we are praying.  The prayer itself is a prayer of adoration with a sprinkling of petition according to our genuine needs: our bread for the day in whatever form it may come, forgiveness in light of our having already forgiven others, and protection from temptations which have the real power to lead us astray.

What else is there?  Of course we have needs, we have worries, and we have real problems.  Part of this prayer, then, is an act of faith in believing Jesus’ assurance that “your Father knows …”  The other part is in trusting that The Lord will see to what He will see to.  “Your will be done …” – not ours.

So rather than approaching our Father with a laundry list that focuses strictly on us and our wants, let us learn how to approach Him and how to adore Him.  Let us learn to reflect on all The Lord has already done, and let that be sufficient for the moment of solace and quiet we all need.  “And your Father … will reward you.”  Not with our desires which are probably more potentially destructive than constructive, but with the needs we may not even be consciously aware of.  And then trust this blessing as sufficient for the day.



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