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DAILY DEVOTIONAL – Sunday, June 19, 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. It’s 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 a 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.
The verse beginning with the phrase “Our Father in heaven” is often called the Lord’s Prayer because Jesus gave it to the disciples. It can be a pattern for our prayers. We should praise God, pray for his work in the world, pray for our daily needs, and pray for help in our daily struggles. (NLT)
Matthew 6:5-15 – [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 pray, 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 prayers 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! Pray like this:
Our Father in heaven, may your name be honored. May your Kingdom come soon. May your will be done here on earth, just as it is in heaven. Give us our food for today, and forgive us our sins, just as we have forgiven those who have sinned against us. And don’t let us yield to temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.
“If you forgive those who sin against you, your heavenly Father will forgive you. But if you refuse to forgive others, your Father will not forgive your sins.”
When you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. – Matthew 6:6 (NIV)
Colleen Forshee (Pennsylvania) titled her story “RUNNING WITH GOD;” here is a portion of Colleen’s story:
“I am a runner, and over the past 40 years I have stepped out of my home and greeted the day with the step-by-step rhythm of my feet. . . . I find that I am better able to have my daily conversations with God if I have no other sounds to distract me.
“These morning runs have become my prayer room, and I am thankful for this quiet time with God. This setting is a holy place for me.
“My ‘God chats’ range from praying for family members or the needs of friends to asking God for guidance and direction for my life. God is always listening as the dawn is breaking around me. Sometimes answers and results come quickly; others I still waait for, knowing that I may never see a resolution in my lifetime. . . .”
THOUGHT FOR THE DAY – Where is my prayer room?
Prayer: Dear Lord, we are thankful that you allow us to pray at any time and in any place. May we be faithful in keeping our appointments with you. As Jesus taught us, we pray, “Father, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come. Give us each day our daily bread. Forgive us our sins, for we also forgive everyone who sins against us. And lead us not into temptation” (Luke 11:2-4). Amen.
To read the rest of the story in The Upper Room, click on the following link: http://devotional.upperroom.org/
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