Day 71: March 12, 2013

Today's Reading(s)

Matthew 7:7-12 Read Online
Luke 6:31 Read Online

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Today's Reflection

Key Verse(s)

Therefore, whatever you want others to do for you, do also the same for them—this is the Law and the Prophets.

—Matthew 7:12

Learning How to Pray
by Eric Newton,

What are some things we pray for when we pray? Family, healing from sickness, safety, blessings on food, more money, job conditions, church, politics, country, leaders, etc.

Why do we pray for these things? Whom do our prayers tend to center around? Unfortunately, they too often center on our families or us.

Jesus tells us over and over again that there are two great commandments: love God and love people. In today’s scripture, He gives us an example of how our heavenly Father wants to do much more for us than we can imagine.

But then notice how Jesus quickly ties our relationship with our heavenly Father into doing unto others what we would have them do unto us—what we call “The Golden Rule.” Today, we’re looking at our prayer life and how to move it to a new level.

No one has seen the church as it exists in God’s mind and heart. For the most part, we see Satan’s counterfeit. The church is torn and divided by various agendas and personality conflicts. It’s rendered powerless sometimes because we rely on ourselves rather than turning to God.

The true church, however, is God’s masterpiece. And every now and then, we get a glimpse of it. One day upon Christ’s return, the church will rise up in such a way that God’s glory is truly revealed.

There are two things we should be known for as Christians: Our faith in Jesus and our love for other Christians. How does your faith and trust in Jesus play out?  How should other people see you have faith in Jesus?

We trust Him in everything—our jobs, health, families, and relationships. Since we trust Him in everything, we talk to Him about everything—all the time.

How would you describe someone who has a strong faith in Jesus?

  1. Peaceful
  2. Content
  3. Loving
  4. Patient
  5. Kind
  6. Gentle
  7. Self-controlled

How would you describe someone without a strong faith or prayer life?

  1. Anxious
  2. Focused on their own abilities
  3. Worried
  4. Trouble-maker
  5. Impatient
  6. Uncontrolled

When we see these characteristics start showing up in our lives, then we need to turn back and renew our faith by increasing our conversations with Him.

The second characteristic is our love for other Christians. Most of us find it easy to love some of the saints (because we’re all saints if we’re in Christ), but it’s not easy to love all of them.

How do we love the saints that disagree with us or have different personalities than we do? By recognizing how God loved us. Read Romans 5:8, John 15:12, and 1 John 3:14.

How we forgive others is a direct reflection to how much forgiveness we’ve received from God—not how much forgiveness God has offered or how much we’ve received.  There’s a big difference between the two.

Love God and love people. Our love for others is a reflection of the love we’ve received from God. Our prayer life with the Father is impacted by our relationship with others.  We can’t separate the two.

If you want to have a powerful prayer life, then recognize what God has done for you and then pass that along to others. God wants to do good things for you. Somehow it’s tied to our doing good things for others.

Reflection Questions

  1. How are you demonstrating your faith in Christ? Do the words “peaceful, content, loving” describe you? Or are you more likely to demonstrate “anxiety, self-centeredness, and impatience”?
  2. Are you demonstrating unconditional love towards others (family members, co-workers, neighbors, people at church)? Or is your love conditional on other people’s response?
  3. How persistent are you in your prayers? What dominates the focus of your prayers?
  4. Which Golden Rule do you live by? Jesus’ version of treating others how you would like to be treated or the world’s version of treating others the way they treat you?

About the Author

Eric Newton