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DAILY DEVOTIONAL – Wednesday, February 3, 2016
Today’s scripture reading:
Some people, especially the religious leaders, wanted to be seen as “holy,” and public prayer was one way to get attention. Jesus saw through their self-righteous acts, however, and taught that the essence of prayer is not public style but private communication with God. There is a place for public prayer, but to pray only where others will notice you indicates that your real audience is not God.
Repeating the same words over and over like a magic incantation is no way to ensure that God will hear your prayer. Its not wrong to come to God many times with the same requests—Jesus encourages persistent prayer. But he condemns the shallow repetition of words that are not offered with sincere heart. We can never pray too much if our prayers are honest and sincere. Before you start to pray, make sure you mean what you say. (NLT)
Matthew 6:5-8 – [Jesus said] “And now about prayer. When you pray, don’t be like the hypocrites who love to pray publicly on street corners and in the synagogues where everyone can see them. I assure you, that is all the reward they will ever get. But when you prayu, go away by yourself, shut the door behind you, and pray to your Father secretly. Then your Father, who knows all secrets, will reward you.
“When you pray, don’t babble on and on as people of other religions do. They think their pryaers are answered only by repeating their words again and again. Don’t be like them, because your Father knows exactly what you need even before you ask him!”
The psalmist wrote, “My soul is satisfied as with a rich feat, and my mouth praises you with joyful lips when I think of you. – Psalm 63:5-6 (NRSV)
Arnoldo Canclini (Buenos Aires, Argentina) passed away while this issue of The Upper Room was in production. Arnoldo titled his story “BEDSIDE PRAYER;” here is Arnoldo’s story:
“At the age of 80 my mother became bedridden and moved to a care facility. She remained there for five years and never complained.
“When the priest from a local church visited, he came to my mother’s room and offered to pray for her. My mother told him that she belonged to another denomination but saw no reason why he could not pray for her. When the priest finished, my mother offered a prayer as well.
“The following week, the priest dropped by her room again. This time a young assistant accompanied him. The priest brought him to my mother’s bedside and said to him: ‘I want you to hear how this lady prays. It is as if she is conversing with God as a friend.’
“God hears – and responds to – all our prayers. God wants us to feel a sense of closeness, like talking with a good friend who is sitting next to us or by our bedside. When we pray, we can share with God about everyday things, knowing that God is ready to listen.”
THOUGHT FOR THE DAY – Praying can be like visiting with our best friend.
Prayer: Loving God, thank you that when our strength fails and we are not able to serve you as before, we can still converse with you in prayer. Amen.
Prayer Focus: CLERGY VISITING ELDERLY PATIENTS
To read other stories in The Upper Room, click on the following link: http://devotional.upperroom.org/
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