Friday, June 17, 2016

Before we even ask.....

And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him."    Matthew 6:7-8

Jesus was giving some teaching on prayer.  During this part of the Sermon on the Mount, the two verses above contain the words he spoke immediately before teaching them what we have come to call "The Lord's Prayer."  His warning to not babble like the pagans is interesting in that mentioning pagans normally would not be associated with praying.  But Jesus wanted his listeners to know the folly of rambling on with many words, just so they could feel more spiritual.  Look again at what he says.  "Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him."

I wanted to introduce you to another section of scripture that involves prayer, this time from the Old Testament book of Daniel.  If you are familiar with the Book of Daniel and all the prophecies it includes, it is no wonder to us to see Daniel praying so often.  The part of his prayer life which I want you to examine is in chapter 9, when Daniel is praying a prayer of confession because of the disobedience and unfaithfulness of God's people.  I would suggest that you read Daniel 9:1-19, so we can understand the dilemma of these folks. .  After reading the verses, look at what happens starting in verse 20.  Daniel's prayer continues"

"While I was speaking and praying, confessing my sin and the sin of my people Israel and making my request to the Lord my God for his holy hill21 while I was still in prayer, Gabriel, the man I had seen in the earlier vision, came to me in swift flight about the time of the evening sacrifice. 22 He instructed me and said to me, “Daniel, I have now come to give you insight and understanding. 23 As soon as you began to pray, a word went out, which I have come to tell you, for you are highly esteemed."

Daniel's prayer life obviously took on a boost. While he was still praying, God is already supplying Daniel's needs. Through Gabriel the message is given, "I have now come to give you insight and understanding." 

We need to know and understand God knows what we need before we ask.  Scripture tells us about that.  Daniel comes along with his prayer life and is praying and confessing the wrongdoing of his people and before he could finish his prayer, God has a solution on the way. 

I'm thinking that's the type of prayer life we all need.  Imagine being so close to God that our conversation with him brought insight and understanding while we are still praying!  I'm also thinking that's the relationship God longs to have with each of his children.


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