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Daily Devotion for August 22, 2013


When you pray, go into your room and pray to your Father in secret, Matthew 6:6

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lessons and scripture

Lord's Prayer

Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come; Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.

For Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever and ever.

Amen.



Prayer of Thanks for God's Creation

O  Lord God of Israel and God of the nations, you are the only God in heaven above or the earth below. I walk before you with all my heart. I bless your name in the morning when I rise and in the evening when I sleep, and all the day when your creation fills my eye. Bless me to remember you this day. When I see and hear the thousand miracles of your creation, let me see them anew, recalling that you have made them, and no other; that I may live in your presence among the common miracles I take for granted. Through Christ I pray,

Amen.

Prayer to Inspire Others

Lord, I ask you to inspire me to encourage others by what I say and do today. God and Father of all people, never let me look down on others or make anyone feel inferior.

Lord, show me how to live today with genuine concern for others. In expressing my care, may I show people that they are valued, loved and appreciated for who they are.

Amen.

Dedication

Glory to God whose power, working in us, can do infinitely more than we can ask or imagine: Glory to God from generation to generation in the church and in the world, and in Christ Jesus for ever and ever.

Amen.


Think of the day ahead in terms of God with you, and visualize health, strength, guidance, purity, calm confidence, and victory as the gifts of His presence.



endless knot

Proverbs 3:5-6

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding.
In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your paths straight.

Blue Latin Cross

Matthew 6:5-6 (ESV)

Sermon on the Mount - Private Prayers

And when you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites. For they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, that they may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward.

But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.



Notes on the Scripture

This is the first half of Christ's famous teaching on prayer, where He gave us the Lord's Prayer. The overall theme is simply this: if we pray with sincerity, we pray successfully. Two major problems slow us down. The first, much like charity (discussed Saturday), is that we do it in private for God, rather than in public, so that other people will think better of us. The second (which we will cover tomorrow) is to pray with our hearts, not our lips.

The Jewish system of prayer made ostentation very easy. Jews of the day prayed standing, with hands stretched out, palms upwards, and with their heads bowed. Prayers were required to be said in the morning and evening, at a specific time, wherever one might find himself. it was easy to make sure one was on a street corner, or crowded city square, or on the steps of the synagogue, and there to pray loudly and at length, so that all might admire the person's exceptional piety. It was easy, in a word, to put on a show.

The obvious fault is that such prayers are not offered to God, but to other people. And although the rituals have changed, the criticism can still hold true. A great preacher once described a long, eloquent prayer made by the pastor at a church “the most eloquent prayer ever offered to a Boston audience.”

When one prays in private, the temptation is completely removed. At least part of our prayer life must be private, so that we can develop a one-on-one relationship with God. This brings up another benefit to private prayer; God is utterly understanding, so we can say things in private we might not want others to hear. We can pour out our true heart.

Another important facet of private prayer is that, in quiet solitude, we can listen better. The voice of the Spirit can be quiet and subtle. In fact, God can work in our heart without words being involved at all. We pray in secret, not because we are hiding, but because it is necessary to have a direct, singular relationship with God. One of His most wonderful attributes is His limitless intelligence; He can count every hair on our humble head, know us better than we know ourselves.



Woman praying meditation

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Psalm 119:105: Your word is a lamp to my feet, and a light to my path.



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