Closing the Gap 7.26.18

Week 29 “The Lord’s ‘un-prayer'” Day 4

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:

Jesus said we are not to think that God responds to the quantity of our words, but rather to the quality of our words or, actually, to the quality of our hearts.  His reasoning is, “Your Father knows what you need before you ask him.” On the surface, this doesn’t seem like an encouragement to pray at all. If he knows what I need before I ask him, then why ask him?  Again, think in terms of actual relationships. If you are a parent and you know what your child needs, does this mean you will give it to her regardless of whether she asks or not? What if what you really want for your child is something deeper than merely for them to “get what they need” from you? What if you want deep relationship with them?  What if you want them to see what they actually need and not just what they want? What if you want them to grow into maturity and part of that growth requires them learning to humble themselves and ask? There are many reasons why a good parent would want a child to ask for what they need, even though the parent knows. Think about it another way, how could God NOT know what you need?  Is he not God? Is he not all-knowing? Of course he knows, but that does not change the fact that he wants you to pray. What this indicates is that he is not just about “getting stuff done.” We often turn life into a series of tasks and days to be completed in order to get to the next one and then, when we run out of days and tasks, we die. God, I think, views our lives as journeys with him.  We must learn to think that way as well. On a journey we are going somewhere, but on this journey “where” we are going is the same as “who” we are going there with. We are journeying to God, with God. This being the case, our praying is part of the journey. So, it may seem silly or inefficient to ask God for what God could easily provide since he knows already, but then again, this is seeing life as other than it actually is.  It is not silly in a relationship to do things that may seem inefficient, but also very effective. Your loved one may know you love them, so why continue to tell them so? Because it is part of the relationship to do so. Your friends may know your story, but want to hear it again anyway. Why is this? Because they are your friends and they enjoy hearing about and living “in” your life with you. No, God doesn’t respond to “babbling” because he already knows what you need, so he doesn’t need to be convinced or coerced (as if this were even possible).  But yes, God does respond to simple, honest prayer because it is an important part of relationship with him.

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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