Saturday, February 21, 2015

100 Days on Jesus’ Sermon Mount (Day 42)

Jesus said, “So don’t [pray for attention] like them, for your Father is well aware of the things you need, even before you ask him.
— Matthew 6:8 (USC)
Wants and needs God knows. And though we may severely doubt at times even whether God cares, he listens and he does seek faithfully after our best. He who brought us into being by that miraculous conception, foetal formation, and final delivery into this wondrous, inescapable, and sometimes dark existence, wills us toward the best.
He knows our needs, cares for our needs that we may embrace them, and secures our needs for us when we are ready to take hold of them.
Knowing and caring for and securing our needs done, and our enjoining faith, there are the holy transactions which would be nothing without the Lord. Everyone, whether a believer or not, is provided for by the Creator God.
Our ‘needs’ don’t always equate with what God knows to be our needs, however. Of this we are to be mindful. It can at times be a mystery as to what our needs are from what our wants are; God knows very well and the difference is not so discrete to him.
So we ought not to make a show of prayer because prayer in such ways is simply a matter of unadorned petition. It would prove offensive if we were to embellish our prayers for some sort of showy reason because our relationship with God is first and foremost, relationship.
Praying even as if we were unconscious of what we are saying; that’s a good prayer.
Trusting the integrity of our words with our heart, as the mind forms the words, and that in itself is trusted, we communicate with God with the right intent.
The Lord will adore as worship the prayer of the earnest servant much surrendered.
Prayer, therefore, is our worshipful communication, which is the desire to give to God whatever we have. In this case, it’s our prayer cleansed of any barrier of communion with him.
Prayer is active and communicative worship. It is to come as we are before him who knows all. It is to hide nothing and to surrender everything. Even in lament, prayer is praise and thankfulness before the Lord who alone is worthy.
1.     Do you ever get in your own way when you pray to God? Do you ever find yourself so self-conscious of what you’re praying that you judge your performance? Don’t. Just give your prayer to God and he will look after the rest.
2.     How have you experienced grace through honest communion with God in prayer? When has authentic prayer proven to turn your faith life onto a new plane of spiritual transformation?
© 2015 S. J. Wickham.
Note: USC version is Under the Southern Cross, The New Testament in Australian English (2014). This translation was painstakingly developed by Dr. Richard Moore, a NT Greek scholar, over nearly thirty years.

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