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Chasing the Son - When You Pray

Matthew 6:5-6. “And when you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites. For they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, that they may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.”  

Scripture teaches we can’t take anything for granted. Every day; every breath is a gift. A gift we don’t deserve but are granted it by the grace of God. And it takes a large dose of humility to recognize that. Only God in His divine omniscience knows what tomorrow will bring. That’s why we place our trust in Him. Our hope lies in His ultimate goodness.

Day to day, your life may stink. You may face hardship after hardship. Unemployment. Marriage problems. Financial issues. Personal loss. God doesn’t promise easy. He promises hope, when you believe. He promises to be with you. And when you step across that bridge that takes you from reliance on the world to a genuine faith in God, then you begin to understand the real value in seeking God’s will for your life; God’s will for your family; God’s will for your friends; God’s will for this nation.

You start to see the bigger picture and realize, it’s not about you at all. You’re not the center of the universe. God is. It’s all about Him. And our effort should always be to align our heart, our mind, our very soul with His will. And you know what? That’s hard! Because I want it to be about me! I think there’s a little bit of that in all of us.

You know, we talk about absolute surrender. Giving ourselves over to Jesus completely. It’s not easy. Spiritual warfare is real. And Satan pulls out every stop to turn your eyes away from Jesus. But Jesus simply says, Follow Me. When Jesus said those two words to His disciples, it was so much more than just an invitation to walk along beside Him for the next three years and learn from the Master.

It was definitely that, but it was an open invitation, actually it was a directive to, “imitate Me.” Be LIKE Me. When I teach you something, then that should become part of your character; part of what composes you; part of your new existence as one of my disciples. And one of the most valuable things He taught them and us was how to pray. I think we get so hung up on that.

I don’t know what I should say. I don’t know what to ask for. I don’t know how to know if God’s really listening. All of those things simply fall away when you open your heart to Jesus and let the Spirit guide your words. He is your advocate to God. He will plead your case to God Almighty. Isn’t that just crazy to think about? When you approach God in prayer, it shouldn’t make you nervous talking in front of people. You should feel queasy about approaching the Holy Triune God of the Universe.

That’s why I really believe prayer is one of the most vital lessons Jesus taught during His journey with us. And if we’re going to follow Him, prayer, along with God’s Word, has to be the first weapon in our arsenal; our hotline for God’s assurance; our emergency contact when we fail or when we’re conflicted by sin. Praise God and thank you Jesus for the power of prayer.

We tend to thank God for prayers that are answered the way we hoped they would be. We do that. What about those that aren’t answered according to our expectations or as timely as we’d hoped. God answers every prayer. But not always according to our desire or within the timeframe we set. God has His own infinite timeline to unfold His plan. He’s at work revealing His plan every day.

You see, that’s why prayer isn’t about a list of expectations. It’s about humbly bending our will to conform to God’s plan. It’s about recognizing that we are in the presence of the Living God of the Universe and He is listening to our mutterings. It’s about seeking the strength and the power of the Almighty Creator to get you through the next minute, or the next hour, or the next day. What a blessing to know He cares enough about each of us enough personally to listen to our heart.

So, the next time you pray, approach God with a heart filled with gratitude for the blessings He has bestowed on you. Approach Him with an attitude of thankfulness for His everyday goodness and mercy. Give Him all praise and glory for His generosity and the unmerited grace He bestows on each of us. That’s what Jesus means when He says Follow Me. Pray like Me. Let go of self and humbly, prayerfully come to our Father, seeking His will for your life.

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