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The Christian and Prayer

(Matthew 6:5-15)

Lesson 13 -- second quarter 1996
May 26, 1996

by Mark Roth
© Copyright 1996, Christian Light Publications

Thy kingdom come.
Our daily bread!
Forgive us as we forgive?
Deliver us from evil.

How easily we pray, "Thy kingdom come"! We glide right along, smoothly sliding over these words most of us have known since our childhood. The Lord taught us to pray this way; we shall obey. Besides, it does sound quite noble and spiritual. But what kind of life effort are we putting forth to contribute to the realization of this request?

Jesus said, "My kingdom is not of this world." The citizens of His kingdom do not pursue the trivia, trinkets and treasures of this planet. Neither will they suffer the cares, commodities and conveniences of this life to distract them from the pursuit of Christ's kingdom.

Jesus also said, "Seek ye first the kingdom of God." Not first after my schoolwork. Not first after my job. Not first after my career training. Not first after my recreation. Not first after my health and wealth. Not first after my boyfriend or girlfriend. Not first after myself or others. First! So, what is one thing you can do differently today than yesterday to begin to seek first God's kingdom?

How glibly we pray, requesting "our daily bread"! I don't have a big checking account, but it could still buy a bunch of bread. Even if we had a checking balance of $.05, Ruby could bake quite a few loaves from all the ingredients around here. If both the bank account and the ingredients on hand registered zero, our freezers may yet contain six or eight loaves from the sales we "hit" last week. Our daily bread indeed!

Due to our thrift, provision and foresight, shall we skip praying this portion? After all, it seems we could hardly pray this in faith. I would say that at our present level of existence we should pray this portion more out of submission than need.

Huh? Yes. We don't need to ask for our daily bread today; there's most of a loaf parked on the counter right now. However, we do need to surrender that daily bread to the Lord. The house may burn. The flour may get contaminated. The freezers may fail. The mice may be providing for their present and future needs. And some indigent person just might come to the door begging for that loaf on the counter.

How presumptuously we pray, "Forgive us . . . as we forgive"! I wonder if I have ever heard anyone pray this portion from the heart. Oh, I probably have and just didn't catch on. But with all our struggles with bitterness, division, suspicion, anger, malice, gossip and outright unforgiveness . . . . You got the point. Pray carefully and humbly. Forgive quickly and generously. Your destiny hangs on it!

How carelessly we pray, "Deliver us from evil!" Then leave it up to God to answer the prayer of our lips. Where is the heart disposed to avoid the gratification of the flesh? Where are the eyes ready to look the other way? Where are the feet quick to move to safer ground? Where are the ears ready to tune in the godly and disregard the evil? Where?!

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