Water for the Thirsty
Weekly Devotional

Water for the Thirsty

Prayer – Jesus’ Challenge

Weekly Devotional

‘As the deer pants for streams of water so my soul pants for you, O God’. (Psalm 42:1)
‘…Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, "If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink”…’ (John 7:37)

29th January 2012

“Be careful not to practice your righteousness in front of others to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven.
So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full.
But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.
And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full.
But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.
And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.

This, then, is how you should pray:
‘Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
And forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from the evil one.’

For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins. (Matthew 6:1–15)

In the above passage Jesus challenged the religious leaders about the way they prayed, and focused upon three things in particular:

1. Their hypocrisy (V.5–6)

Jesus was strongly against all hypocrisy. It is safe to say He despised it. He said that the only reward people would get when they did anything for show was from those who were impressed by them. No reward is offered by God to people who use prayer to show off their ability with words.

2. Their repetition in prayer (V.7–8)

We need to guard against meaningless repetition in our prayers, whether it be prayer from a pulpit, prayer offered in a church prayer meeting or prayer in the home before meals.

We need to overhaul our prayer life and get rid of all the clichιs, break loose from all the tired overworked well-worn phrases and seek to introduce freshness and genuine heart-felt meaning into our prayers.

3. Their harbouring grudges and enmity against others (V.14–15)

Bitterness and resentment are sure prayer-blockers. If you won’t forgive, says Jesus, then there is no point in asking for forgiveness because you won’t receive it. Is there someone we need to forgive today? Are our prayers being blocked because of bitterness?

Here then is Jesus’ prayer challenge to us: Don’t be hypocritical, don’t be repetitive, and be forgiving.

Are we up to the challenge?

Prayer

Gracious and loving Father, search my heart and please reveal the areas of my life where action is required on my part. Please help me to take that action without delay.

In Jesus’ name.
Amen.

Have a good week facing the challenge,

Pastor Barry

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