Today’s Scrip-Bit   26 November 2021 Matthew 6:8.

Matthew 6:8. Be not ye therefore like unto them: for your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before you ask him.

What shall we say to opening our bleary eyes to a bright new shiny day eh? A simple answer like ‘Thank You Lord for allowing me to see another day. I praise You and bless your holy name,’ will do. Our wonderful God doesn’t need a whole lot of verbiage to satisfy His soul, just our heartfelt thanks and gratitude. 

That’s why Jesus uttered this warning to His listeners, a warning which I believe is also very timely for us in these trying and turbulent times. He said: ‘And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites (pretenders) are: for they LOVE to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. 

Verily I say unto you, They have their reward. But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet (inner room), and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy father which is in secret, and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.’ (Matt. 6:5-6) 

Now friends, that doesn’t mean that praying publicly is wrong, because it’s decreed in many parts of the Bible, the problem is the misuse of prayer, praying so that men can see us and believe we are so righteous and holy, when we are nothing more than a bunch of hypocrites using it for our personal glory. 

And as the scholars explain: ‘The principle here is that the believer should not make a show of his prayer, nor of the answers he receives of prayer in such a way as to call unnecessary attention to himself.’ Unfortunately, many of us today, do just that; make showy attempts of prayer, so that others can see us and think we are such prayer warriors, when we are nothing of the kind. 

Jesus knew the hypocrisy of the religious leaders, so He continues on the subject of prayer. ‘But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking.’ (Matt. 6:7) Yes my brethren, we don’t need to babble on in our prayers, saying the same things over and over, or speaking without thinking, like some of the heathen and false prophets found in the Old Testament. 

Thus, this last word from Jesus. ‘Be not ye therefore like unto them: for your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before you ask him.’ (Matt. 6:8). For sure! He is God, the Creator and controller of the world, who’s thoughts and ways are so much higher than ours, so He must know what we need, although He likes us to come to Him in prayer and ask, to acknowledge our submission to His will and not ours. 

And the scholars offer a wonderful explanation on prayer through that verse. ‘6:8. Prayer is not man’s attempt to change the will of God. Prayer is not conquering God’s reluctance to answer, but laying hold of His willingness to help. Prayer in the life of the believer is an act of total confidence and assurance in the plan and purpose of God. 

The following sample prayer is given to the disciples as an example of a suitable prayer. This prayer, often called the “Lord’s Prayer,” is in reality a disciple’s prayer. In no way does the prayer itself embody all of Christ’s teaching about prayer; and having just warned against vain repetition, he did not intend for this particular prayer to be merely recited with empty meaninglessness.’ 

Oh friends, we all know the prayer, and ofttimes we just mouth it without really thinking about what we’re saying. And yes, it’s good to have God in our mouths, but He should also be in our hearts and minds. And we won’t go into a line by line break down of the prayer, but be it sufficient here to know that it contains two major parts; the first is adoration, and the second is petition. 

Now that’s the way most prayers, especially in the Psalms are devised. They open with thanks and praise, then they ask for their needs, and I believe that’s a healthy way for us to design our individual prayers. Don’t just jump right into what we need, unless it’s a dire emergency, but first offer up thanks, and remember what the Lord has done in the past for us, and His overall goodness in our lives, show that we appreciate His grace and mercy, before we begin asking for things. 

And by the way, please make sure the things we ask for are things that are in His will for our lives, not merely our selfish wants. Now, what we’ve said above, is not the end all and be all on prayer, but hopefully, it will upgrade out thoughts on prayer and help us to pray in a more meaningful manner. 

So, with that in mind (smile) let’s go to God in prayer, right now, through our Friday Chant. As one voice: ‘Oh Lord, thanks for getting me safely through this past week. You know it’s been rough… what with all the anxiety, the confusion and havoc that the Covid-19 virus and our many other problems are causing. We can’t seem to fix it on our own Lord, that means we desperately need your help. 

Oh heavenly Father, with your omnipotent help, and our trusting faith, we know that we can stand strong and steadfast and defeat both the virus and the unrest in our streets. So Lord, we sincerely ask you today to give the governments and those involved in the forefront of this serious and unexpected storm, the wise guidance to handle the situation properly, with the least amount of loss to life and property as possible. 

And please help those of us who must go out to work amidst all the confusion, to be responsible and to stay safe, and avoid any more serious setbacks. And Lord, we fervently pray that You’ll use this situation to bring a lot of backsliders back to your fold, show them the error of their ways. 

And please introduce a whole new flock, who will embrace your LOVE and compassion by the example, we, your faithful believers set. Yes Lord, please use this pandemic and the unrest in the streets as a means of restoring faith in You, so that our sinful world can wake up and smell the coffee, sweet and strong! We pray this in the name of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ! Amen!’ 

Please remember, that if we want positive answers to our prayers, we need to keep the promises we’ve just made. Much LOVE!

…Prayer…God’s method of communication with His children… 

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