Lord, help me to seek You, when I feel lost;
help me to hear You when it feels like I can’t;
help me to trust You when I don’t understand!

Focus of the month: “You have heard it said…”

Are you a creature of habit? Are you only comfortable in your “known zone”? How often do you venture into new territory? Whether it’s a new job, a new relationship, a new place to live or a new challenge before us, at some point we all face a decision to leave something we know to do something different or we just stay planted in our safe place.

Jesus continues to give instructions that differ a bit from what the religious leaders had been teaching in Matthew 6. Not entirely different but definitely enough to make listeners take notice. Some may have wondered if this new teaching was worth following.

Maybe you are struggling with a truth that requires your attention? Is it hard to imagine making a change? Have you convinced yourself it isn’t that big of a deal? Or possibly even decided it won’t matter that much to God? To strengthen our faith we must adjust our thinking, our actions and our comfort areas to align ourselves with Christ. Take today to focus on one area – prayer. Let’s look deep at why we should bother doing it?

Jesus teaches us to pray:
“Pray then, in this way: ‘Our Father who is in heaven, Hallowed be Your name. Your Kingdom come. Your will be done, On earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread . And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from evil.’ For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen
(Matthew 6:9-13 NASB)

Is praying automatic when you become a Christ follower? Well, perhaps, but maybe not. I have heard many women tell me they have a hard time sitting quiet with the Lord to pray. Others think they don’t have eloquent words or even good enough reasons. Why did Jesus want us to understand the importance of prayer?

Jesus went away to pray alone often. He knew that it was a time to communicate with God and receive direction from God. Praying for the sake of others witnessing was not how Jesus taught. He encouraged personal, private prayer with God. He shared with those listening an intentional way to pray.

First, recognize God is our Father. His realm is Heaven! He is worthy of praise. His name is Holy and wonderful. We acknowledge God has a kingdom and He alone is in control. His will shall be done. He will give us what we need each day when we have daily dependence upon Him. He will forgive the sins we commit against Him as we repent and confess; and He asks us to forgive others who sin against us. Acknowledge that God does not tempt us but rather saves us from evil! All glory goes to Him alone.

We must bother with encouraging one another to pray as followers of Christ. We don’t have to pray with fancy words out in front of others. God wants our hearts to be ready and tender for His teaching, His healing, and His comfort…all for His glory.

We pray because we are His children. God delights in us. We pray because it deepens our trust and our dependence upon Him. Praying gives us a chance to talk to our Lord, to express our deepest needs and lift our highest praises! His word commands us to pray without ceasing. If your prayer life needs refreshment I encourage you to make the necessary changes to your current habits and dare to take a new direction.

Holding Fast to Hope,

Jen

Scripture References: Matthew 6:5-15; Mark 1:35; Zephaniah 3:17; Philippians 4:6-7; Psalms 62:8; James 4:2