"Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you" - 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 (NIV).
Once Jesus was approached by his disciples who asked him to teach them how to pray. We certainly do not know what prompted them but they must have been fascinated by the Lord's Prayer life. The answer he gave is quite revealing.
The Lord teaches them to pray in the name of the Father; to ask His will to be done; and for his kingdom to come; Mathew 6:9-10. Important here is to observe that it is his will and not ours! That means that prayer is not a directive to the Almighty God; rather a call for believers to align their wishes in line with God's desires. Our call then is how do we make sure we walk in the Lord's will that our prayer requests are well aligned with God's? ...
One thing we also see is that the Lord is interested in our personal welfare. We are to plea: "Give us today our daily bread" (vv 11) which clearly shows the Lord desires for our bodily comfort. There are means of course that the Lord has provided such as the need to work to have our daily bread. The Apostle Paul has written "For even when we were with you, we gave you this rule: "The one who is unwilling to work shall not eat" (2 Thessalonians 3:10).
Our prayers are not supposed to be pre occupied with only self-centered needs. "And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors" (vv 12) is an admonition to let go of those matters pressing us, including that which we rightly believe is ours. Perhaps here it is worth remembering that after all, we too, have been forgiven, and so we should of others. It is all about the Lord's sovereignty.
Strangely but so true the Lord's Prayer observes that all of our lives are at the center of a spiritual battle, and hence we should pray, "And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one" (vv 13). The scriptures warn us always to be on guard. "Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour" (1 Peter 5:18). Hence the need to be constantly on the watch while seeking the Lord's deliverance.
Prayer for today: Lord Father God of creation, of heaven and earth, today I pray in the name of your beloved son Jesus, that your will be done in my life as is your perfect desire that I may prosper!
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“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God”- (Philippians 4:6).
Perhaps you have heard of a certain old magical trade known as mind reading. According to this trade which has been around for millenniums and has its share of tricksters, mind readers are able to discern thought patterns of individuals before they even utter a word. There are places in the world where this, as expected, is a lucrative occupation, with practitioners, often crafty magicians, demanding hefty fees, just to tell thoughts of others.
As Christians, of course, we have an all knowing God, who has said, “Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him” ( Mathew 6:8). Further, our Lord has pointed out, “And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words” ( Mathew 6:7). As Christians when we come to God, we do so with full confidence, that He already knows our needs and will meet them according to his glorious riches in heaven.
Of particular interest for us here is that while God perfectly knows our needs before we even dare utter a single word, still it is incumbent upon us to make our requests known to Him. A parent may have long noticed a child has a need for a new pair of shoes; but it is another dimension, when the child does come out and share aloud that his pair is worn out, hurting and is quite in need of a new one. The parent takes notice, especially when the matter is presented with such conviction and urgency. This is why Hannah cried out to God for a child ( 1 Samuel 1:9-18).
In our relationship with God, as the Apostle Paul advises us, it is not just enough to assume and let matters be, that after all God knows all our needs, but we too bear a responsibility to make our requests known to Him. Once we are done with that, we let God do His part, allowing “the peace of God, which transcends all understanding” ( Philippians 4:7) to flood us.
So, today, do not hold back your needs from the Almighty God. He has paved the way to walk to Him through His son Jesus Christ, to present your case, bear out your heart’s desire, and let Him do His part!
Prayer today: Lord Father God of Abraham, maker of heaven and earth, today I rise to make my requests known to you, knowing you have heard me even before I utter a single word, assured that you will meet each and every one of my needs, according to your glorious riches in heaven!