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Our readings in Matthew chapter 6 today seem to be focusing quite a bit on the interior motives of why we do things - and to do things sometimes in secret, where only God will know what we are doing. And by giving, praying, and fasting with pure interior motives and in secret, God will reward us! I think there is so much truth in this... I think when we give anonymously or pray for others quietly or fast privately, we are really worshipping God. We are in essence saying, "God I am doing these things because of who You are, how great You are, and to let you know how much I love You. I don't need to let anyone know about this act of worship between me and You. You knowing is more than enough." Now, I do think there are times for communal giving, praying and fasting - but I love that Jesus challenges us to make sure we find private ways to worship God and God only - and not to bring glory to ourselves by desiring public praise for our "religiosity"...
What a blessing to read the Lord's Prayer in today's readings! I have to confess, I don't say this prayer very often... and Jesus seems to indicate pretty clearly that this is a good way to pray. :) I do pray often throughout the day - but usually it's pretty immediate stuff - bless this meal, thank you for this day, bless my time at work, etc. etc. What a great thing it would be if I could remember to actually pray the Lord's Prayer a bit more... I do think it is good to pray things beyond the Lord's Prayer - in fact, just take a look at the Psalms for some ranges of prayer. You might infer from verse 7 that we should stick only to the Lord's Prayer when praying: "When you pray, don't babble on and on as people of other religions do. They think their prayers are answered only by repeating their words again and again." However - I read a commentary that this verse was admonishing against the polytheistic religions where people prayed to every single god's name they could think of, and would continue to repeat all of the gods names over and over, in hopes that this "babbling" would work to where one of the gods would respond to their pleading. So - I think God loves and enjoys hearing us pray to Him in whatever way we do so - but we should not neglect the fact that when Jesus gave us the Lord's Prayer He said (in verse 9): "Pray like this."
Verse 24 has always always been a verse that's convicted me and still does today: "No one can serve two masters. For you will hate one and love the other, or be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money." There is so much truth here in these 3 little sentences... Who are we serving in our lives today? I once read that one good indicator is to take a look at your monthly budget. Where does the money go each month? Interesting way to look at this. Maybe another way to look at this is how you spend your time each week. How much time is spent at work, volunteering, being with God, being with family/friends, taking a Sabbath, etc. Maybe looking at how we spend our time and money is a good way to see who or what we are worshipping? Do you believe that it is true that we cannot serve two masters? Who are you serving these days?
Worship Video: Today's readings in Matthew about the Lord's Prayer reminded me of Phil Wickham's beautiful song "The Secret Place:"
Do you have a secret place with God? Click here to be let in on the secret of life in Christ!
Please join us in memorizing and meditating a verse of Scripture today:"No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money." Matthew 6:24 NIV
Prayer Point: Pray about which "master" you spend more time thinking about each day - God or money? Pray that you will only serve God.
Comments from You and Questions of the Day: Based on our Matthew 6 readings today about the Lord's Prayer, let me ask you this: How do you pray? Or, in how many different ways do you pray? Do you pray specific prayers regularly, like the Lord's Prayer? Do you keep a list of people by your bedside to pray for regularly? Do you pray by writing in a journal? I actually had one friend share with me that each day of the week he would pray for a specific segment of his life and our world. For example, on Sundays he'd pray for his church and pastors and the worldwide church. On Mondays he'd pray for his family and coworkers and friends. On Tuesdays he'd pray for politicians and world leaders. And so on... And he'd repeat this pattern each week. This way he was very intentional about praying - otherwise he said he'd just end up lobbing up a few prayers each day - and usually just for himself. I think this is an interesting approach! Please post up some thoughts on your prayer life? Also, what verses or insights stand out to you in today's readings? Please post up by clicking on the "Comments" link below!
p.s. I would greatly appreciate it if you would pray for this Bible Blog ministry today. Thanks!