January 25, 2019
"But you, when you pray, enter your closet, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who is in secret." Matthew 6:6a (MEV)
Oh, to be like Superman. To step into that phone booth as mild-mannered Clark Kent and step out as Superman - fit, flamboyant, ready to fly off and change the world!
But here I am, weary and worried, stepping into my prayer closet and later stepping out - same old me, still weary and worried. Clark Kent is transformed. I'm not.
Forget the closet. I want a phone booth.
Friends, it's not the closet. It's me.
I'm not in there alone. I'm with God Almighty, King of Kings and Lord of Lords, and I play the part of Clark Kent, the reporter.
I report the news. I tell what's happening. I provide all the details. I fill the closet with words.
They're broke, God. They need money. He's gotta find a job.
Dear Jesus, she's terribly sick. There's so much she should be doing.
It's the big game. The team has worked hard, Lord. They really want to win.
Good little reporter that I am, I don't just describe what's happening. I tell God what needs to happen.
This job is perfect for him, Jesus. They have to hire him.
Heal her, Lord. Get her back to work.
Dear God, give them the victory. They deserve it.
One day, I step into the closet, more distressed and dejected than usual.
This is such a mess! I don't know what they should do. You're the all-seeing, all-knowing God. You tell me.
I sense God's response:
Ah, you're catching on.
Who am I to tell God what to do? He's omniscient and omnipresent. I can't tell Him anything He doesn't already know.
I learn to check my Clark-Kent self at the closet door. I speak less and listen more. God grants me glimpses from His perspective.
He loves money too much.
She needs to be still and know that I am God.
They want that trophy more than they want Me.
I've been stepping into my prayer closet and asking God to save the day Superman-style, to provide the quick fix, the happy here-and-now. But God looks at the long term, what's best for eternity. An easy life produces flabby souls. Temporary trouble can be a stepping stone to godly character.
I learn to pray God's plan over the names on my prayer list.
O God, teach him to store up his treasure in heaven.
Surround her hospital bed with Your presence, Jesus.
Win or lose, Lord, may they play for Your glory.
And that hopeless mess?
Almighty God, plant them deep in Your love. Fill them to overflowing with the fullness of You!
Whatever the problem, they'll be better off filled with the fullness of God. We find this truth when Jesus is teaching His disciples how to pray. He instructs them, "But you, when you pray, enter your closet, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who is in secret" (Matthew 6:6a).
I don't step out of my prayer closet with a flashy cape and bulging muscles. But I'm transformed. I have God's eyes and heart. And my prayers fly off in power to change the world.
I'll take my closet over a phone booth, all the time.
O God, teach me to pray Your way, not mine. Change me, change my prayer focus, and change others through my prayers. In Jesus' Name, Amen.
TRUTH FOR TODAY:
Ephesians 3:14-19, "For this reason I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, from whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, that He would give you, according to the riches of His glory, power to be strengthened by His Spirit in the inner man, and that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth and length and depth and height, and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God." (MEV)
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REFLECT AND RESPOND:
Think through the names on your prayer list. What parts from this Ephesians passage apply to the people you love most? Make this your prayer for them today.
© 2019 by Shirlee Abbott. All rights reserved.