Closing the Gap 7.25.18

Week 29 “The Lord’s ‘un-prayer'” Day 3

Pray:

Ask God to reorient you to Himself. Confess any known sin. Thank Him for His forgiveness. Be still and reflect on Jesus and His sacrifice for you. Ask the Holy Spirit to open your heart and mind to God’s Word. Pray for others in your life that they, too, would know and love God today.

Read:

Matt. 6:5-8 “And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full. But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.”

Reflect:

Praying the same prayer over and over is not a problem.  In fact, one of the most heartfelt and meaningful prayers that can be prayed is, “Help me Jesus.  Help me Jesus.” Repetition is not the problem in this passage, it is the “babbling.” Babbling is meaningless and mindless speech.  We are not to babble like the pagans, literally “Gentiles.” This critique was directed at the non-Jews who believed that their gods were moved to action by the words of their followers. However, Jesus was not limiting his critique to non-Jews, he was warning the Jewish people to not fall into that same trap.  In the world of man-made religions with man-made gods, prayers can be a kind of incantation. You must get the words just right, like combining different elements in a chemical compound. Then you must repeat them over and over until they “work.” Do you see how this whole enterprise is void of anything that resembles a relationship?  Can you imagine talking to anyone else you know in this manner and expecting anything good to come from it? It is very helpful to consider actual relationships you have with people in order to make sense out of certain Scriptures that have bearing on our relationship with God. What do you want from people you enjoy and desire relationship with?  You want honesty. You want to hear their hearts and minds. You certainly don’t want to feel like they are trying to manipulate you or treating you as if you are not a real person, but rather some kind of barrier they have to get through to get what they really want. The difference between “babbling” and “help me Jesus” is not in the words, but in the source of the words.  Jesus said, “The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For out of the overflow of his heart his mouth speaks” (Luke 6:45). Prayers that are repetitive but not “babbling,” flow from a heart that wants relationship with God. As you consider closing the gap on a conversational relationship with God, ask him to help you to “want to want him” more deeply and authentically in your heart of hearts.  

Pray:

(Personalize this prayer today; make it specific to the circumstances that face you.)

Ask God to lead you through His Spirit as you go through your day. Ask Him to bring to mind the truth of the gospel and its implications for what you will encounter today. Tell Him “Yes” to His will and ask Him for His power and protection to live this “yes.” Ask God to create and reveal opportunities to proclaim the good news today.

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