Wednesday, October 29, 2014

A Thought for Wednesday 29 October 2014

“Our Father in heaven, hollowed be Your name.  Your kingdom come, Your will be done on earth as in heaven.  Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors.  And do not lead us into temptation, but delivery us from the evil one.  For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever.  Amen.”  Matthew 6:8b-13

The model prayer.  The ideal way, according to Jesus, by which we approach the Throne of Grace.  We know the prayer and can easily recite it (in Elizabethan English, of course), but do we really understand it? 

Before Jesus introduces the prayer itself, He is encouraging us to look more deeply within maybe to determine our real motives for the things we do.  He begins by speaking of acts of charity (6:1-4) and the need to keep it low key.  There is no need to get our picture in the paper doing some remarkable charitable thing lest we become more interested in the glory we receive (even if we try to mention The Lord in our acts!) rather than just doing it because it needs to be done and doing it without any fanfare.

Then Jesus moves into the prayer itself, and the guiding principle is pretty much the same.  There is no need to put on a big show with big and grand words in order to gain the attention and admiration of those around us.  Rather Jesus encourages us to “go into your room … and shut the door”.  In other words, shut out the busyness of life and living and give the Father your undivided attention.  Then with the assurance of the God who knows what we need before we ask, Jesus says to pray.

Prayer is perhaps the single, most intimate form of worship there can be because if we follow Jesus’ advice, there will be no one else involved in that moment.  Of course we must pray together and we offer prayers in worship and in other gatherings, but this is that moment Jesus is teaching that we can have with the Father, the Almighty, the Creator of all that is!  We can even be bogged down with the many “types” of prayers and when and where these are important, but Jesus seems to throw those categories out the window.  There is no need for a list, and there must be no fear or concern that we may forget someone or some thing.    

The ultimate act in prayer is worship.  The Lord is the center of our attention.  And in that private moment when the door is closed and the world is shut out, Jesus is also assuring us that our Father is listening.  When we give ourselves completely to The Lord, we can be assured that The Lord is giving Himself completely to us.

There is much more in this lesson than proper prayer format.  It is the whole of theology in that if we really want The Lord’s undivided attention, we must give The Lord our undivided attention.  Only then can we fully know of the Father’s will for our lives, our families, and our churches.

“Your Father already knows what you need”.  Would we dare to ask what the Father needs from us?



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