Monday, July 24, 2006
Jesus' disciples asked him how to pray. In response, he gave them a prayer as a model for their own petitions.
"Pray then like this: Our Father who art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy 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 lead us not into temptation, But deliver us from evil. For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father also will forgive you; but if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses." Matthew 6:9-15 RSV
Jesus prayed big. What do I mean - pray big? First let me start with what I do not mean. I am not saying that we should pray for only big things; for Jesus instructed us to pray for the little things, as well. The prayer above does pray for little things such as; our daily bread.
What I am saying is that we need to pray in the most general sense. For instance, instead of praying for a raise at work, pray that God will bless you with prosperity. Instead of praying that your husband will apologize for his actions, ask God for a change in your relationship. Rather than pray that your child will make the honor roll, ask instead that God will bless your child with a love of learning. Or, instead of praying to lose ten pounds, pray that God will keep you healthy.
When we are specific in our prayer, we are directing God on how to achieve a certain outcome. This is arrogance. Instead, we should pray for the desired outcome and leave the details to God's judgment. Our focus should be on the desired destination - let God choose the pathway.
Saturday, July 22, 2006
"Another parable he put before them, saying, "The kingdom of heaven is like a grain of mustard seed which a man took and sowed in his field; it is the smallest of all seeds, but when it has grown it is the greatest of shrubs and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and make nests in its branches." Matthew 13:31-32 RSV
The Gospels contain many parables about seeds and we rightly consider these seeds and their growth as evangelism, however, I have come to know that God never says anything with only one layer. His words are like diamonds with many facets that bring light with every twist and turn.
The planting of seeds also refers to our blessings. "Keep on sowing and the harvest will come. It is the little things that bring a harvest. Every harvest starts with a tiny seed."
So, what do you want? Do you want to lose weight? Then make one small change in your eating and exercise habits, and pray for God's blessing and increase on this small step.
Do you want to balance your budget? Again, make one small change and ask for God's blessing and increase.
"If you cannot see the fruits of your seeds, be confident that they are there. Perhaps the weeds have grown over the fruits of your labor and all you need to do is weed the garden."