From: Su Min
Dear Children, today we have a precious reading, Matt 6:5-15. Do read this passage in your own bible and be blessed as you hear Jesus speak to you directly.
Prayer is a universal phenomenon. There is an innate desire for man to speak to the spiritual world, whether it be the God he knows or even to an unknown god or spirit that rules over him. Ritualised prayer had become part of the Pharisees. But their ritual had caused prayer to degenerate into a show for fellow man rather than expression of the innermost soul of creature towards the creator.
Here Jesus is teaching not about the need for prayer, as he taught about almsgiving also, but the need for the correct attitude towards prayer. It is assumed that all the children of God will want to pray, to talk, to commune, to share with the heavenly Father.. The important focus of the teaching is determine the purpose of prayer, to understand the spirit of prayer: to seek communion with God, not seeking the praise of men as the hypocrites did. They indeed did receive their reward in full; the praise of men: but their prayers failed to reach up God, because of the hypocrisy in their hearts.
Ostentatious public prayer is to be avoided. Mindless babbling like pagans is to be decried. (aha, what does this teach us about praying in tongues in public without interpretation! Mindless babbling indeed!)
There is a place for corporate prayer and worship but here Jesus is teaching about private prayer and worship. The attitude needs to be correct. In 2 Chron 7:14, God promises: If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven, and forgive their sins and heal their land.
This message from our creator is very clear. He accepts us as His children. Indeed He acknowledges that we bear His name. He requires us to be humble. He wants us to pray, to talk to Him. We who are earthly parents know how much we treasure our children talking to us. This is but an earthly glimpse of how much God enjoys us talking to Him. He wants us to seek Him, to search Him out, to find out what He is and what He stands for. He demands we repent, turn from our wicked ways, give up all our bad habits and false gods. In return, He WILL hear our prayers and He WILL heal our lands. What a mighty promise. Are you and I able to respond in humility?
Jesus says to us, "Go into your room. Pray to the unseen Father. He know what you need even before you ask him." Indeed before a word is on my tongue you know it completely O Lord (Ps 139:4).
In Luke 11:1 we read that Jesus was praying: Indeed scattered all over the gospels we read of Jesus praying, praying in public, Matt 11:25-6; rising up early in the morning to pray, Mk 1:35; in the evening, Mk 6:46-47; all night Luke 6:12; by himself Luke 9:18; at Gethsemane, Luke 22:41-42. John 17 records a complex prayer of Jesus, praying for Himself, His disciples and all believers.
His disciples asked "Teach us to pray just as John's taught his disciples" (Luke 11:1). Jesus heard and responded. They asked in faith and he gave in love.. Our Lord's prayer is translated into some 40 or more languages on a beautiful ceramic mosaic somewhere in Israel: I think it is on Mount Carmel: It was one of the sites we visited during our March 94 Holy Land pilgrimage. Our Lord's prayer is one of the first three pieces of scripture that all Christians get to learn by heart (Together with John 3:16 and Psalm 23:) if you have not done so yet, start today.. Our Lord's prayer is crafted and presented to be His disciple's prayer.. It is my prayer. It is your prayer.
When I was in Anglo Chinese School I was taught that there were 3 important components of prayer: Adoration, Confession, Supplication. 2 Sunday's ago this acronym was expanded by Rev David Wee to suit the digits on one hand: A guide to prayer may be represented by the word FACTS Let me expand on the theme:
Thumb represents Fatherhood of God,Let us pray
Index finger pointing finger points up to heaven in Adoration,
Middle finger as we point upwards will curl and bow down in Confession
Ring finger reminds us of Thanksgiving,
Last and Least is our supplication as we bring forth our needs, not a Christmas wish list of greedy wants, but as children of God, the needs of the world at large, the needs of our friends and family and even the needs of our selves.
God has promised that if we humble ourselves and pray and seek his face and turn from our wicked ways, He WILL hear our prayers.
Our Father, dear Abba, thank you for our lesson today.
Let us worship and adore you for you indeed are God.
Thank you for accepting us as your children.
Your name is hallowed, holy, sacred.
We long for your kingdom to be established on earth.
Indeed, we will serve as citizens of your kingdom, even while we are on earth.
We will seek to do your will, Father.
Thank you for providing all our needs for us, our physical food and our spiritual food every day.
Forgive us Father, for we have sinned in so many ways:
Sins of commission. Sins of omission.
We seek your forgiveness Father, and yet we are so unwilling to forgive those that infringe upon us.
Teach us to forgive Father, even as you have forgiven us.
Guide us, guard us, protect us Father.
We are like lost sheep if we do not have the Good Shepherd to look after us.
We would so easily stray along the wrong path.
We submit to your care, loving God.
In the Name of Jesus. Amen.
For any comments or enquiries please write to Dr. Lim Su Min
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