When you pray, don’t be like those show-offs who love to stand up and pray in the synagogues and on the street corners. They do this just to look good. I can assure you that they already have their reward. When you pray, go into a room alone and close the door. Pray to your Father in private. He knows what is done in private and will reward you.
When you pray, don’t talk on and on as people do who don’t know God. They think God likes to hear long prayers. Don’t be like them. Your Father knows what you need even before you ask. You should pray like this:
Our Father in heaven, help us to honor your name. Come and set up your kingdom, so that everyone on earth will obey you, as you are obeyed in heaven. Give us our food for today. Forgive us for doing wrong, as we forgive others. Keep us from being tempted and protect us from evil.
If you forgive others for the wrongs they do to you, your Father in heaven will forgive you. But if you don’t forgive others, your Father will not forgive your sins.
Matthew 6:5-15 CEV
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Last night, our friends, the Pierce family came over to share a meal and spend time together on a Friday night. We used to host a small group in our home on Friday night, and it was such a blessing in our lives each week to get together with our closest friends.
Most Christianity points to the council of Jerusalem in 50 AD as the place where consensus was made by the Apostles that “keeping the Sabbath holy” was no longer a necessary “religious obligation”. However, I love the “blessing” that is promised in Isaiah about the Sabbath. And I love Jesus’ clarification that the Sabbath was made “for man’s benefit”, not as a burden.
The Sabbath is and always has been Friday night sundown to Saturday night sundown. Here’s a great article about the Sabbath and about the Lord’s Day and about the council of Jerusalem. https://www.christianbiblereference.org/faq_sabbath.htm
Tom Pierce really encouraged me last night, and it was great to wake up early and start my day talking with the Lord and putting first things first. I haven’t had things in the right order and priority for a while, and His talking with me about how it really is a blessing for him everyday made me want what he had. Not even once did he make it about “you should do this” or anything like that — he was simply sharing about something that was a blessing not an obligation.
I shared with him how I had let several of my old, good routines slowly fall away — and how over time, I found myself not exercising daily, then not Journaling daily, then not studying daily, then eventually not pursuing God daily to start my mornings. I didn’t wake up and consciously decide one day to abandon all of the healthy things that started each morning — I let each one fall away with a different excuse.
This morning, I’ve tried to start getting back on track, but in doing so — I’ve created frustration inside my own house because I’ve changed the routines again. This seems to be how spiritual warfare feels — each time that we step back into receiving the blessings again, the enemy tries to see if he can apply enough resistance so that we will surrender them again.
I pray that we will hunger for the Lord enough that we will seek Him first, not just seek the blessings that are available through Him. Take my hand, Lord, lead me home. Amen.
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