Becoming A Woman Of Prayer-Online Study
The Lord's Pattern of Prayer
(Becoming A Woman Of Prayer, © Cynthia Heald, June 2005. Used by permission of NavPress, all rights reserved. www.navpress.com)
"I love the Lord, because He hears my voice and my supplications. Therefore I shall call upon Him as long as I live."
This chapter is short and pretty straight forward, as was Jesus' instruction back in the Matthew 6:9-15, on "how (we) should to pray". I grew up knowing this prayer well. It was one of, at least, a dozen memorized prayers I learned as a child in the faith we practiced during those years. And while, I believe, scripture memory is huge and using scripture in our prayer-life is useful; I don't think the intent for us was to spout off some memorized poem or song of sorts that never grew into or grew out of a genuine heart. Any prayer said out of practice rather that out of a heart of humility and transparency is wasted.
“I hate, I despise your feasts, and I take no delight in your solemn assemblies.
Even though you offer me your burnt offerings and grain offerings, I will not accept them;
and the peace offerings of your fattened animals, I will not look upon them.
Take away from me the noise of your songs; to the melody of your harps I will not listen.
But let justice roll down like waters, and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream.”
God did not want their sacrifice because they were merely going through the motions. Have you ever done that? I have. Serving, singing, "praising" through my body but my heart was in rebellion or focusing on self. Christ was God and yet his focus in prayer was our Father God, His will and His glory. We need to check our hearts as we pray. The words don't matter because, as we learned in Chapter 3, the Spirit prays on our behalf. As we read, say and/or sing this prayer who is the focus? Do we recite it like the Pledge of Allegiance? Are we quick to recite it as if it were a monologue in a movie? I'm calling out myself here as well.
Cynthia breaks up the prayer into bite-sized pieces and asks us to digest each one individually so that we may glean understanding and grow in the example Christ laid out for us. (1)
"But the great beauty of the Lord's Prayer is that it maintains a focus on GOD. We may be the grammatical object of some sentences there, but we are never the subject; God alone holds that position. Even in confession, we turn our eyes to Him and say, 'You give us bread... You forgive us... You lead us...You deliver us.' That kind of prayer provides us with an oft-needed corrective. For perhaps the most subtle temptation, the most persistent evil of all is to stand ourselves in God's rightful place at the center of the landscape of our hearts." -Paul Thigpen (2)
This weeks challenge:
Be sure to examine your prayers, who is the focus? Examine your service and praise to God? Who is it for? Where is your heart, when you arrive at church? When you read His scripture?
Again, post this week's verse in a visible spot for you and read it every day.
Lord Jesus, You are my God and Savior. Thank you for the example you gave us in prayer. Forgive me Lord for taking my eyes off You. For not always living, serving or even praising with You as my focus. Thank You for Your Spirit and please, fill me with what I need for each day to accomplish Your glory in this life. Thank You for hearing us. It's all about You. All about You. All for Your glory. Let nothing in my life be wasted. Keep me close to Yourself. I love you. I praise You because You are God.