Sunday, November 29, 2020

The Gospel of the Kingdom - Matthew - Praying - Part 3


Text: Matthew 6:9a – “ In this manner, therefore, pray…”

We are in a study of the Sermon on the Mount. We said that chapter 5 deals with the internal part of the Kingdom and Chapter 6 here starts dealing with the external part of the citizen of the Kingdom. Chapter 5 also deals with the righteousness we are to possess as Kingdom citizens, and chapter 6 shows the righteousness we are to practice. Both chapters emphasize the motive behind our behavior.

He starts with the emphasis on applying the Kingdom principles to real-life and powerfully applies it in verse 33. We are in the area of praying – we are considering it in two parts – the Essentials in Prayer and the Elements in Prayer. We started with the first part – the Essentials in Prayer.

We saw two aspects – the prayers that God Rejects (boastful and babbling), and the prayers that God Receives (sincere and simple)

Now over the next four days, we will be looking at the Elements of Prayer as Jesus describes them. He gives us 9 aspects that make up an acceptable prayer to God. This is called the Lord’s prayer, however, the true Lord’s Prayer is found in John 17. This is a model, an outline that He gave to His Disciples.

Look at this prayer as it is given in Luke 11:1-4 – “Now it came to pass, as He was praying in a certain place, when He ceased, that one of His disciples said to Him, “Lord, teach us to pray, as John also taught his disciples.”

So He said to them, “When you pray, say: Our Father in heaven, Hallowed be Your name. Your kingdom come. Your will be done On earth as it is in heaven. Give us day by day our daily bread. And forgive us our sins, For we also forgive everyone who is indebted to us. And do not lead us into temptation, But deliver us from the evil one.”

As He was praying the Disciples saw the power of His time talking with God. So they asked, “Lord, teach us to pray…”

In our verse today, Matthew 6:9a we read,  “In this manner” the NASV translates it as, “In this way”. This tells us that this is:

  • ·      NOT a liturgical prayer
  • ·      NOT a rote prayer
  • ·      NOT a prayer of any special powers

Notice the use of the word “therefore.” When you see the word “therefore” always ask yourself what is the therefore there for. It is a hinge connecting the following statement with the previous statement. What were the previous statements? Jesus is connecting this to the elements we have studied – this prayer is:

  • ·      Not Boasting
  • ·      Not Babbling
  • ·      It is Sincere
  • ·      It is  Simple

So, we see that  He gives us an example from which to build our own times of prayer.

We will look over the next three days about the 9 aspects that make up this model for us.

Today, take time to consider your prayer time with the Father. What is it like? How can it be better? Am I actually taking time to pray every day?




Saturday, November 28, 2020

The Gospel of the Kingdom - Matthew - Praying - Part 2


Text: Matthew 6:5-8 ““And when you pray, you shall not be like the hypocrites. For they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the corners of the streets, that they may be seen by men. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward. But you, when you pray, go into your room, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly. And when you pray, do not use vain repetitions as the heathen do. For they think that they will be heard for their many words.

“Therefore do not be like them. For your Father knows the things you have need of before you ask Him. In this manner, therefore, pray….”

Hope the short time studying Thanksgiving has been a blessing to you. I pray that you and your family had a blessed and glorious Thanksgiving Day.

The issues Jesus is addressing – giving, prayer, fasting, treasures, and trust are all practical considerations. He starts with the emphasis on applying the Kingdom principles to real-life and powerfully applies it in verse 33. We have looked at giving, now let us move into the second of these areas – the area of praying – we will consider it in two major parts – the Essentials in Prayer and the Elements in Prayer.

To start with the essentials in prayer, we need to see that Jesus teaches about prayer that God receives in these verses.

That brings us to consider the prayers that God does receive.

Jesus tells us that we should pray from the heart, pray in private (verse 6). He speaks about going into our closet, this is a metaphorical picture of having a special place, a place where we withdraw from the world.

He wants us to remember that prayer is a matter of the heart – the inner motives of a time with the Father. Jesus says it is marked by two important elements. The first is sincerity (verse 6) – it is between you and God. Go back and read what He says about our charitable deeds. God is not interested in personalities and boastfulness, He is looking at our hearts.

Next, Jesus reminds us to pray with simplicity (verse 7). We don’t need to use theological jargon, flowery speech, memorized phrases. No, Jesus is telling us to get down to the nitty-gritty and tell the Lord what you have on your mind. Pay attention to verse 8 – “For your Father knows the things you have need of before you ask Him.” We don’t need to impress God – in fact, there is nothing we can do that would impress Him. Even though He knows what we need, He wants us to come and ask.

We have talked about the essentials of Prayer. We saw the Prayers God Rejects – Boasting and Babbling Prayers, and also the Prayers God Receives – Sincere and Simple.

We will continue the study next with the Elements of Prayer in verses 9 – 15 in our next devotion.


Friday, November 27, 2020

A Thanksgiving Prayer of David

I am musing over David's grand prayer of Thanksgiving located in 1 Chronicles 29: 10-13.

 He has commissioned Solomon to build the Temple and told how much he had gathered for the task. The leaders were so challenged that they gave a tremendous amount of supplies for the construction of the Temple also. 

David then proceeds to give God the glory before all the people by praying this prayer. Join me this day after Thanksgiving in considering what he is saying in these three verses. 

1 Chron. 29_10-13 (KJV): "Wherefore David blessed the LORD before all the congregation: and David said, Blessed be thou, LORD God of Israel our father, for ever and ever. Thine, O LORD is the greatness, and the power, and the glory, and the victory, and the majesty: for all that is in the heaven and in the earth is thine; thine is the kingdom, O LORD, and thou art exalted as head above all. Both riches and honour come of thee, and thou reignest over all; and in thine hand is power and might; and in thine hand it is to make great, and to give strength unto all. Now therefore, our God, we thank thee, and praise thy glorious name." 

Let's see where God leads us in this prayer. 

Thursday, November 26, 2020

A Thanksgiving Day Psalm


Today, as we pause to remember all the great and marvelous blessings that God has given to us, let us turn to His Word, and read the great Psalm 100 - a Psalm of Thanksgiving. Take some time today - and focus your thoughts upon the One who is worthy of all thanks, the One who is worthy of our praise. We are blessed, not because of ourselves, but because of Him.

Psalm 100

Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth!
Serve the Lord with gladness!
Come into his presence with singing!

Know that the Lord, he is God!
It is he who made us, and we are his;
we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.

Enter his gates with thanksgiving,
and his courts with praise!
Give thanks to him; bless his name!

For the Lord is good;
his steadfast love endures forever,
and his faithfulness to all generations.

Wednesday, November 25, 2020

The History of Thanksgiving

The history of Thanksgiving in the United States is often traced back to 1621 when the Plymouth Colony settlers and the Wampanoag shared a meal celebrating the harvest. Their trial began in 1620 with the voyage of the storied Mayflower, a 65-day-long ordeal in which 102 men, women, and children crossed the stormy Atlantic in a space the size of a city bus. Then followed a cruel New England winter for which they were ill-prepared. Due more to exposure than starvation, their number dwindled rapidly, so that by the onset of spring fully half of them had died. Fourteen of the eighteen wives had perished, and widowers and orphans abounded. That the Pilgrims could celebrate at all in this setting was a testimony both to human resilience and heavenly hope. 

Yet celebrate they did, sometime in the autumn of 1621 after God had granted them a bountiful harvest. It’s an inspiring story, and it’s good for Christians this Thanksgiving to remember it. I don’t know about you, but I am always encouraged when I sit down with Christian friends and hear of how God has sustained them in hard times. Remembering the Pilgrims’ story is a lot like that, although the testimony comes to us not from across the room but from across the centuries. The celebration lasted for three days. Here's how settler Edward Winslow described their thankful hearts, "And although it is not always so plentiful, as it was at this time with us, yet by the goodness of God, we are so far from want, that we often wish you partakers of our plenty." The tradition of giving thanks continued spontaneously in the colonies. 

Winslow wrote at length about the occasion that the Pilgrims would have remembered as their first Thanksgiving Day in America. It occurred in the summer of 1623, nearly two years after the event that we commemorate. During that summer a two-month-long drought threatened to wipe out the Pilgrims’ crops, and the prospect of starvation in the coming winter loomed over them. In response, Governor Bradford “set apart a solemn day of humiliation, to seek the Lord by humble and fervent prayer, in this great distress.” The Pilgrims gathered for a prayer service that lasted some 8-9 hours, and by its end, a day that had begun hot and clear had become overcast, and for the next fourteen days a steady, gentle rain restored the parched earth. “But, O the mercy of our God,” Winslow exulted, “who was as ready to hear as we to ask.” 

Some historians link the pilgrims' Thanksgiving celebration to the holiday of Sukkot, also called the Feast of Tabernacles in Leviticus 23:33. Other scholars point out the Puritans' debate of having a fixed date to give thanks; instead, they would proclaim special days of prayer. While the link between Thanksgiving and Sukkot is uncertain, there is no doubt that God calls his people to give thanks.

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