Welcome to the daily devotional we have. This is a learning process for me as I go along and I hope you can join me. I will pick a devotional on www.bible.com (feel free to go there and pick the same reading plan) and be posting the verse(s), devotional, and my own personal commentary. Feel free to leave your own commentary in the comments as I would love to read your guys thoughts. Also, I will have music that may or may not apply to the devotional. We can all love new music being introduced to us.
This devotional is titled “The Power Of A Simple Prayer”. It is 5 days long. I use the ESV bible but feel free to use the version of your choosing.
Revelation 3:20 “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me.”
Matthew 6:5-8 “And when you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites. For they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, that they may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you. And when you pray, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do, for they think that they will be heard for their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.”
Luke 18:10-14 “Two men went up into the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee, standing by himself, prayed thus: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I get.’ But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even lift up his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, a sinner!’ I tell you, this man went down to his house justified, rather than the other. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted.”
The Pocket Prayer
We aren’t the first to struggle with prayer. The sign-up sheet for Prayer 101 contains some familiar names: the apostles John, James, Andrew, and Peter. When one of Jesus’ disciples requested, “Lord, teach us to pray” (Luke 11:1 NIV), none of the others objected. No one walked away saying, “Hey, I have prayer figured out.” The first followers of Jesus needed prayer guidance. Maybe you do too.
When the disciples asked Jesus to teach them to pray, he gave them a prayer. Not a lecture on prayer. Not the doctrine of prayer. He gave them a quotable, repeatable, portable prayer (Luke 11:1–4).
Could you use the same? It seems to me that the prayers of the Bible can be distilled into one. The result is a simple, easy-to-remember, pocket-size prayer:
you are good.
I need help. Heal me and forgive me.
They need help.
In Jesus’ name, amen.
Let this prayer punctuate your day. As you begin your morning, Father, you are good. As you commute to work or walk the hallways at school, I need help. As you wait in the grocery line, They need help.
Keep this prayer in your pocket as you pass through the day.
Prayer, for most of us, is not a matter of a month-long retreat or even an hour of meditation. Prayer is conversation with God while driving to work or awaiting an appointment or before interacting with a client. Prayer can be the internal voice that directs the external action.
This much is sure: God will teach you to pray. Don’t think for a minute that he is glaring at you from a distance with crossed arms and a scowl, waiting for you to get your prayer life together. Just the opposite.
Prayer is not a privilege for the pious, not the art of a chosen few. Prayer is simply a heartfelt conversation between God and his child. My friend, he wants to talk with you. Even now, as you read these words, he taps at the door. Open it. Welcome him in. Let the conversation begin
I want to focus on Matthew 6:5-8 first. I find it interesting that Jesus says “do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do, for they think that they will be heard for their many words.” Interesting, isn’t it? Does it commonly happen at your church where you have the handful of people who repeat “Father God” or “Lord Jesus” over and over again? I know my church has them. It becomes a habit to do when thinking of what to say next (watch the video below for an example and skip to 2:02). In John 18:10-14 we have a Pharisee who is proudly stating what he has done. While the tax collector is humbly asking for forgiveness. The Pharisee thought he was “righteous” while the tax collector depended on God’s mercy. I find myself needing to depend on God’s mercy more and more as I get older. I cannot do life alone and I am by no means perfect.