28 September 2017
Reading: Zechariah 1-3; Luke 11
9 “Here’s what I’m saying: Ask and you’ll get; Seek and you’ll find; Knock and the door will open. 10 “Don’t bargain with God. Be direct. Ask for what you need. This is not a cat-and-mouse, hide-and-seek game we’re in. (Luke 11:9-10 MSG)
Jesus’ followers asked him to teach them to pray. 2 So he said, “When you pray, say, Father, Reveal who you are. Set the world right. 3 Keep us alive with three square meals. 4 Keep us forgiven with you and forgiving others. Keep us safe from ourselves and the Devil.” (Luke 11:2-4 MSG)
What a contrast between Jesus’ approach to prayer and the religious approach to prayer! Jesus’ approach to prayer is that of a child with a need simply asking a caring Father for help. The religious approach to prayer is more like trying to placate and appease an angry god, or trying to get favor or blessing from a disinterested god – bargaining and manipulating with arguments or promises.
It’s so easy for religion to creep into the relationship between God and me. He doesn’t get religious, I do! So once again (how many times has it been?) I am reminded that prayer is to be simple, direct, and is to be an interchange between two persons who love each other very much – child to Father and Father to child.
My Abba Father loves me, this I know. For the Bible tells me so. Little ones (like me) to him belong. They are (I am) weak but he is strong.
Father, I’m sorry I so often get so religious! This morning I’m thinking about the three major issues that are weighing on my mind right now. One is about the churches and ministries and people we are in relationship with as we all face the challenge of representing God’s Good News and his Kingdom in a rapidly changing cultural and social environment. Another is about the priorities of ministry for Jean and me in this new season of life—how to do what is most important with the time, gifts, and energy you give us. The other is very personal—you know this request that is deep in my heart.
Dear Father, I’m asking you to give wisdom for right priorities and good decisions, that you will stop Satan from getting his way, and that you will graciously, generously provide what we need. Amen.