Devotional Thought of the Day:
1 Once Jesus was in a certain place praying. As he finished, one of his disciples came to him and said, “Lord, teach us to pray, just as John taught his disciples.” 2 Jesus said, “This is how you should pray: “Father, may your name be kept holy. May your Kingdom come soon. 3 Give us each day the food we need, 4 and forgive us our sins, as we forgive those who sin against us. And don’t let us yield to temptation.” 5 Then, teaching them more about prayer, he used this story: “Suppose you went to a friend’s house at midnight, wanting to borrow three loaves of bread. You say to him, 6 ‘A friend of mine has just arrived for a visit, and I have nothing for him to eat.’ 7 And suppose he calls out from his bedroom, ‘Don’t bother me. The door is locked for the night, and my family and I are all in bed. I can’t help you.’ 8 But I tell you this—though he won’t do it for friendship’s sake, if you keep knocking long enough, he will get up and give you whatever you need because of your shameless persistence. 9 “And so I tell you, keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you. 10 For everyone who asks, receives. Everyone who seeks, finds. And to everyone who knocks, the door will be opened. 11 “You fathers—if your children ask for a fish, do you give them a snake instead? 12 Or if they ask for an egg, do you give them a scorpion? Of course not! 13 So if you sinful people know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him.”
Luke 11:1-13 (NLT)
445 If you abandon prayer you may at first live on spiritual reserves… and after that, by cheating.
Of course, God’s name is holy in and of itself, but by this request, we pray that He will make it holy among us, too.
One would think that we have enough examples in scripture, that we wouldn’t forget its importance.
One would think we have had enough examples from our own lives, and from the lives of those who disciple, teach and pastor us.
A few days ago, my devotion quoted the Lutheran Confessions, specifically the Apology of the Augsburg Confession, which said if we called it a sacrament, maybe, then maybe, men would realize the blessing and do it more often.
Far too often I hear people tell of feeling distant from God, who are troubled because He doesn’t seem to be there. Or they feel overwhelmed and challenged, and the anxiety levels continue to climb. Who struggle to know any kind of peace in their lives. It may start in one place, let’s say their workplace. The stress soon affects other places in their life, their home, their friendships, it can even drive them away from the one place they will be reminded of the answer, and the encouragement that helps us realize that God isn’t so far away, that He isn’t so uncaring.
What our forefathers found so incredible, so necessary, so much a preventative against feeling disconnected is simple prayer.
Not because in prayer we do something that proves our holiness, not because the more time in prayer, the more you cause yourself to grow holier. It is not a spiritual discipline in the manner of lifting weights, or working out, where our suffering and pain builds us up.
It is because we are being heard, and as we pray, we become more aware of it. As we become more aware of it, we trust God more and more, we dump the stuff we are trying to deal with at His feet.
Like the idea that we drift away from prayer slowly, it takes us some time to develop a life that is one lived in conversation with God. It is one where our confidence in His presence, in His listening, in His fulfilling His promises grows. Not because of our skill, not because of how eloquent we are, but it grows as we learn to trust Him, as we learn to depend upon Him. And that growth does take time and a continued transformation.
That is why Jesus talks of such persistence in Luke’s account. It is why Jesus talks about the love of a father that will answer his children’s requests. It is to cause us to draw near, to drop our self-defense mechanisms, to show God our wounds, the wounds that are healed because Jesus was wounded on the cross.
The more we see that love, the more we find ourselves exploring it, the more we find salvation to make a tangible change in our lives, the more we learn to desire to prayer. And the more we see those prayers answered….
So pray my friends, and if you don’t know how simply start with the prayer Jesus taught us…. in it all things are prayed for anyway.
Lord have mercy on us, teach us to approach the throne with confidence, and give you all, including that which causes guilt, share, fear or anxiety. Help us be confident that you never will leave us disconnected. AMEN!
(1) Escriva, Josemaria (2011-01-31). Furrow (Kindle Locations 1975-1977). Scepter Publishers. Kindle Edition.
Martin Luther, Luther’s Small Catechism: Developed and Explained, WORDsearch CROSS e-book, Under: “The First Request”
Posted on February 2, 2016, in Augsburg and Trent, Devotions, st josemaria escriva, The Furrow, The Small Catechism, Theology in Practice and tagged Abiding in Christ, calling on God, faith, Holiness, Life in Christ, prayer, sacraments. Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.