Archive for February, 2019

A COMMUNAL INVOCATION

4 Daily Devotional Thursday

“Pray, then, in this way: Our Father…” (Matthew 6:9).

The possessive pronoun utilized in the model prayer is a needed reminder that “my” prayer is, in fact, our prayer as communal people. God’s story of redemption and hope is a narrative woven and perpetuated through families—Adam, Noah, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Even within the New Testament, family is the most common metaphor for describing the church, the body of Christ, the people of God. The “Our Father” stands in opposition to the tendency toward isolationism when in pain and conflict, and the classism that arises in prosperity. Our prayerful presence is to have a democratizing influence in the place where our feet stand.

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INVOCATION OF INTIMACY

3 Daily Devotional Wednesday

“Pray, then, in this way: Our Father…” (Matthew 6:9).

While the imperative to pray is a command to all disciples, Jesus offers us a priceless gift with the instruction to address God as, “Abba.” This Aramaic term was an expression of love and affection utilized by children in addressing their fathers, or young men their elders. It’s a sharp departure from the cold formality of the Hebrew tradition, where the covenant names of God were not even uttered. Abba breaks through the transcendent cosmos to the here-and-now of human pain and circumstances. It makes intimate the One that most see as being remote.

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PRAYER’S ASSUMPTION

2 Daily Devotional Tuesday

“Pray, then, in this way…” (Matthew 6:9).

Knowing humankind better than it knows itself, Jesus assumes all people will pray. Twice he has said, “When you pray” (5,7), to offer a contrast between his disciples and two other groups that, shockingly, pray—hypocrites and Gentiles. The emphasis being that there is both a correct and wrong way to pray. As disciples, there should be a desire to pray rightly. Having instructed us to go into our inner room, where it is only you, God, and no one else (v.6), Jesus then offers a skeleton to guide us (9-13) in the fleshing out of our prayers. His model of short and simple negates the other prevailing assumption…that prayer is hard.

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PRAYER’S CONFIDENCE

1 Daily Devotional Monday

“So do not be like them; for your Father knows what you need before you ask Him” (Matthew 6:8).

That my “Father knows” gives me all the confidence necessary to stay diligently prayerful in the pursuit of Christ and the journey of faith. With these words alone, he has rescued from those whose confidence comes from praying at appointed times, in particular places, and certain postures, while utilizing formulaic phrases. It is the heart that holds the key to meaningful prayer.

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PEACE PLAN

7 Daily Devotional Sunday

“The things you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you” (Philippians 4:9).

The deep and abiding peace we long for goes beyond the absence of troubles, worries, and conflict. True peace is that which emerges from the intimacy of one’s relationship with the Living God. It is accomplished when we embrace and practice the faith we have heard, learned, and profess. This balanced combination of knowing and doing brings us to the place of peace.

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UNTANGLING LIFE

6 Daily Devotional Saturday

“No soldier in active service entangles himself in the affairs of everyday life, so that he may please the one who enlisted him as a soldier” (2 Timothy 2:4).

Do you ever feel lassoed and tied up by all the causes, demands, requests, and responsibilities that vie for your attention? This often stems from codependent desires to please and not disappoint others. The solution may be a return to the boot camp of our faith and the reminder that we soldier for an audience of One. It is by this perspective toward the life of service that his Spirit gives meaning and purpose to our daily lives and routines.

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THE PHYSICS OF PRAYER

5 Daily Devotional Friday

“And when you are praying, do not use meaningless repetition as the Gentiles do, for they suppose that they will be heard for their many words” (Matthew 6:7).

Physics and mathematics contend that the shortest distance between two points is a straight line. Strangely enough, the same principal holds true in prayer. Drawing things out with much verbosity or rote phrases do not better gain God’s attention or obligate him all the more to respond to your liking. As the wisdom writer says, regarding our petitions before God, “…let your words be few” (Ecclesiastes 5:2). Prayer isn’t for the purpose of keeping God up to speed on what you want him to do but, rather, it is our seeking to keep up to speed on what God is doing.

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