Different members of our church family write these reflections each week to go along with the message preached the previous Sunday. It is our hope that these reflections help you to get in to your Bible throughout the week and be challenged by the word of God.
Read Matthew 6:5-24
I think it’s important that Jesus says “when you pray” not “if you happen to pray.” Jesus, in his instruction on prayer assumes that the people he is talking to (followers of Christ) will be in prayer regularly. When the Bible teaches us about prayer, the understanding is that we are a people who regularly pray. If you have a church background you are probably very familiar with this passage and this prayer. I’ve had to memorize this prayer for class, for youth group, in English and in Spanish, it’s something I can recite without really thinking. Some see it as the specific words we are supposed to pray, and while it is a good prayer I don’t think Jesus intended for it to be the an actual memorized prayer. I think this is more of a template, a model for prayer. There is a specific progression of thought in this prayer, specifically notice that a request for “daily bread” i.e. our basic needs doesn’t come till later in the prayer. Jesus puts more of an emphasis on praising and adoring God than he does on the requests.
For Reflection: Instead of a question for this passage to reflect on, take the words to the Lord’s Prayer and use them as a template to write out your own prayer. Consider what each line means and use your own language. When you are done, pray that prayer!
Read Romans 12:1-13
From Solomon’s life we talked about the importance of living out our callings well and staying focused on our faith. Paul speaks of the same thing here. In Paul’s day idolatry was a natural part of the culture, it was embedded into the lives of most people. It was easy to be distracted from being a Christian then, and they didn’t even have Facebook! We are constantly bombarded with ads, articles, blogs, and podcasts telling us about why the ways of the world are better and more fulfilling. It’s often easier for me to get distracted with a show on Netflix then it is to sit and journal or read my Bible. Paul warns us to not be conformed but transformed by the renewal of our minds. In order for us (or at least for me) to do this we have to stay focused on the things we know are good for us, the things that bring life to us: reading the Bible, prayer, being in community with other believers, discipling others. When we focus on those things, when we allow those things to transform and renew our minds, staying focused won’t be so hard.
Questions for Reflection: What are areas of your life that distract you from doing the things you have been called to do? What things are more of a burden then a help? What changes can you make right now to help you better focus on your relationship with God? Tell someone and start doing working on it!
Written by Pastor Tim Gioia