Making Prayer Real

In Jesus’ day prayer had become very much misunderstood and missed used. Jesus relates how it was common in synagogues to see supposedly pious men praying long, elaborate, and very visible prayers. The problem with their prayers was not that they were public, but rather that they were incredibly self-serving. It would not have been unheard of to hear a prayer along the following line:
“Oh most high and glorious God, thank you for creating me. Thank you for my great intelligence, my extreme piety, my heroic leadership, and my astonishing appearance. Thank you that I am not like Frank, Harry, Sally and Bob, who do not follow you with nearly the passion I do.”
While that may seem like a far-out example, it’s pretty spot on to what was happening. Jesus shares a very similar example in Luke 18:9-14. Jesus also shared that many people had made prayer a highly complex affair. The felt that a good prayer necessitated big words, great length, and showed how deeply educated the person praying was. Jesus rejected this notion as well.

And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. 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 6:5-8


The big point Jesus was making is that prayer is really a relational conversation between us and Him, the one who created us, sustains us, and saves us. Prayer is a time when we come before our Holy Father and share whatever is on our mind. In doing this we not only connect to God, but we give Him great honor. Pastor Rick Warren once shared that “The greatest gift we can give somebody is our attention, because to give attention is to give of your life, and you can’t take that back.” Unlike giving money or possessions we can in no way ever get our time back. Giving our time to someone is a permanent gift, and thus places it among the leading ways we can show honor to someone. My question to all of us is: are we truly connecting with God in prayer and showing Him the honor He deserves? Or, are we making prayer a self-serving practice like many in Jesus’s day? Let us give God the honor he deserves by taking time daily to connect with Him in prayer, sharing our joys, our thanks, our sins, and our needs with Him.

Vital Ministries News

Vital Men and Women Devotionals

Talk to others about the devotionals.

Share in how they encourage you in your life.

How do they bring you closer to Christ?

Pass the good word along to others.

Knit Together

Ephesians 4:11-16 (NKJV) ‘And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ; that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting, but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head—Christ— from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love.’

There is no such thing as a “Lone Ranger”  as it pertains to a person’s place in the kingdom.  At least, not if they desire to be an effective contributor.

No man is an island, or shouldn’t be.

In this passage we see Paul briefly describing some of the spiritual gifts bestowed upon the saints.  Not everyone will receive the same gifts, in the same measure.  The example of the church as a body and Jesus as the head is found over and over again.  It’s important because it illustrates the necessity of each part doing their part for the sake of the kingdom.

In this passage, Paul takes it a little deeper.  “till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ”.  In 13-16 he is illustrating that in order for the individual to mature, become well rounded, well versed, wise and discerning, it takes the collaboration of all the members to strengthen and refine the individual.  In turn, the overall health, strength and effectiveness of the body is greatly improved.  

It’s very important to spend time alone with God, daily.  It’s important to read His word, converse with Him and learn and absorb what He reveals to you.  However, as Paul shows us here, it’s crucial that you do not isolate yourself to just that. There has to be a balance, a time of singular fellowship with the Lord, but then a dissemination of what you learn with other brothers and sisters, so as to strengthen the body as a whole.  Have a blessed weekend.

In full pursuit of the greatest Trophy,

Scott Pace

Messy

How do you deal with things you hate doing?  Most people don’t like doing dishes, and as a result may let them pile up until they use all the spoons and then decide something has to be done.  The same may be said of laundry, garbage, doing taxes, etc, and other things that are not really enjoyable activities.  The problem with putting these things off is that it becomes more of an inconvenience when there are not clean plates to use, or when things start to smell from needing cleaned up or washed.  If you have ever visited a teenager’s room, or let garbage sit for too long, your nose can lead you in the direction of things that need addressed.  If you don’t do something about the things that stink in your life, it doesn’t go away and only gets worse.  How do you deal with the messes in your life?

Whoever conceals their sins does not prosper, but the one who confesses and renounces them finds mercy.  Proverbs 28:13

Do you have an area of your house where things go to hide?  Maybe it is a spare room, basement, or garage that collects things that are out of season, need repaired, or that you want to give to someone you don’t see often?  There are sections of our garage where I know I put things, but that needs organized better to find them quickly.  Putting things out of sight doesn’t really help us deal with them, because we quickly forget about them and go on with the things right in front of us more easily.  It is easy to do this with material things in our life, but eventually we or someone else has to deal with them at some point.  It is not always as easy to deal with issues, relationships, and emotions we try to put off or ignore when we really need to deal with them as well.  What things have you been putting off that need addressed? 

If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.  2 Chronicles 7:14

How do you deal with sin in your life when you realize that’s what it is?  When the things that are detestable to God become detestable to us, we usually come up with one of several responses.  We can ignore it and pretend it doesn’t exist, put it off and downplay its seriousness, try to justify it and accept it in our lives, or deal with it and remove it now.  Most of these techniques are called sin management, where we try to avoid, hide, or walk around the issue without really dealing directly with it.  When we want to repent and turn away from sin as much as God wants us to, there is usually only one option that is acceptable.  You may need to repent and turn from that issue several times more, but when you do, it usually becomes less of an issue each time.  God wants us to confess it and deal with it instead of hiding it or justifying it. 

Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.  Do not cast me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me.  Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.  Psalm 51:10-12

There comes a feeling of satisfaction and even joy when you get all those dishes done or realize that the garage is as clean and organized as it has ever been.  The same is true when you confront and deal with the sin in your life that you have been ignoring or trying to juggle for some time.  It is not an easy thing to do, but there is joy to be found when you confess and address and make strides in overcoming those things that keep you imprisoned.  And just like a clean garage eventually gets messy again, there are things we will need to revisit again, but it does get better.  May you find joy in that process as well!

Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord.  Acts 3:19

Yours in Christ,
Clark

Sabbath

Have you ever wondered what Sabbath really was?  For those of you who have not grown up in church this word might as well be greek.  So let me explain… When God delivered Israel out of Egypt, He wanted to give them a standard to live by.  So He gave them 10 commandments. One of those commandments is: 

Exodus 20:8 Observe the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Work six days and do everything you need to do. But the seventh day is a Sabbath to God, your God. Don’t do any work—not you, nor your son, nor your daughter, nor your servant, nor your maid, nor your animals, not even the foreign guest visiting in your town. For in six days God made Heaven, Earth, and sea, and everything in them; he rested on the seventh day. Therefore God blessed the Sabbath day; he set it apart as a holy day.

In 6 days, God made the whole universe and everything in it.  He did it with His voice. On the 7th day, He rested. God is trying to show the world his power.  The world works 7 days and trusts in their labor for increase.  God said you will work less and because you are blessed will harvest more. Science shows people who really rest live longer, have greater happiness, and are overall healthier people. This is really about trust.  Do you trust God or do you trust you?  Do you trust God multiplies what you trust Him with?

Overtime sabbath became something different.  It turned into a religious duty about law instead of a matter of trust and filling our tanks.  So Jesus address it:

Mark 2:23 One Sabbath day as Jesus was walking through some grainfields, his disciples began breaking off heads of grain to eat. 24 But the Pharisees said to Jesus, “Look, why are they breaking the law by harvesting grain on the Sabbath?”

27 Then Jesus said to them, “The Sabbath was made to meet the needs of people, and not people to meet the requirements of the Sabbath. 28 So the Son of Man is Lord, even over the Sabbath!”

So what is Sabbath?  Is it napping and watching TV? NO!  Sabbath is relational and restful.  Sabbath is about spending time with God and worshiping Him.  It is also about spending time with family and friends.  For me a great sabbath day is extra time in prayer, spending time with my family, and getting my tools out and building something. Why is that not work?  Because during the week I do not have a physical job and building fills my tank.

So do you sabbath?  Is it rules or relationships?  How do you need to find a sabbath rythm?  Btw… my sabbath is Saturday.  I do not work on Vibrant or counsel people.  If something comes up on a Saturday like it has this week.  I move my day.  Why?  I was not made for sabbath but sabbath for me.  So sabbath this week.  Do it every week!

Helping People Live a Better Story

Brandon Sereg
@brandonsereg
www.thevibrant.church

 

Every Sunday at 8:30 AM

Listen to Mike Sereg on kBOE 104.9FM

LISTEN NOW

Sign me up!

  • Yes, I would like to receive the the Vital Men Daily Devotion email. Sign me up!
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.