PRAYING AS JESUS TAUGHT
In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus offers this counsel:
When you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, who love to stand and pray in the synagogues and on street corners so that others may see them. Amen, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you pray, go to your inner room, close the door, and pray to your Father in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will repay you.
In praying, do not babble like the pagans, who think that they will be heard because of their many words. Do not be like them. Your Father knows what you need before you ask him. Jesus offers very clear directions on prayer.
From the above passage we can excerpt three important points:
Withdraw in Secret
Do not pray like Pagans
Trust in the Father
PSALM FOR CONTEMPLATION
We all have had the experience of being thirsty. However, sometimes when the early signs of thirst are ignored and not addressed the situation can become dangerous and even critical. When this happens thirst can become an incredible driving force for survival.
I remember the one time when I arrived at the top of the famous fortress that the Jews used to resist the Romans during their revolt in 74 AD. The site is called Masada. The temperature was over 100 degrees and I had ignored the guide’s instruction to drink plenty of water. I became dehydrated and I foolishly sought revival from the standing water at one of the public dispensers. This became a tragic mistake and consequently I had to spend two days in bed recovering.
I remember this episode when I reflect on Psalm 42. The scene should not be viewed as a cute Disney rendition of Bambi at a water hole. The deer of the Psalm yearns, craves and is driven by thirst to find streams of water. There is a big difference between standing water and the running water of a stream. One refreshes, the other is dangerous.
From where, from whom do you draw your water?