Hey Church on the Move family,
Welcome to our 12-day guided prayer podcast.
Today is day 9.
Take a moment to prepare yourself to pray over the next few minutes by putting away distractions, setting aside mental to-do lists, and finding a place where for the next 10 minutes or so you can give yourself entirely to the task of prayer.
See yourself placing any worries or situations outside of your control at the feet of Jesus.
Let’s begin by praying a simple prayer. If you find your mind wandering or it’s difficult to focus simply return to prayer by repeating this phrase. Take a deep breath, rest your thoughts on God and pray:
O LORD, our Lord
How majestic is Your name in all the earth
Our prayers over the 12 days are based on reflections from the life and teachings of Jesus in the Gospel of Matthew. Today we’re continuing our journey through Jesus’ teaching in the Sermon on the Mount.
25 “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? 26 Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? 27 And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? 28 And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, 29 yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 30 But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? 31 Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. 33 But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.
Before these verses Jesus has just finished saying that we can’t serve two masters. In other words, we can’t serve God and material wealth. And therefore, Jesus says, do not be anxious. Anxiety, the way Jesus is talking about it here, is a fear about the future that influences our behavior in the present. Jesus doesn’t leave them or us without evidence of God’s care. He points to God’s care for the sparrows, beauty bestowed on the blossoms and the grass that no person may ever behold. Jesus is preaching an illustrated sermon about God’s provision with images that inspire trust and confidence.
Any flower will do. Think about the color of the petals, the intricacy of their design, the way blossoms reach up toward the sun. Now think about the vulnerability of that flower. Everything had to be just right for that flower to grow. Seed, season, soil…And God cares. He made it happen. Beauty and flourishing for what might seem insignificant to us.
3 When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers,
the moon and the stars, which you have set in place,
4 what is man that you are mindful of him,
and the son of man that you care for him?
5 Yet you have made him a little lower than the heavenly beings
and crowned him with glory and honor.
When we allow our minds to be pre-occupied with getting things, even necessary things, rather than seeking God and His ways we miss out on the abundant life God has for us. When we know the One who clothes and feeds us it simply doesn’t make sense to pursue these things on our own terms.
Jesus is challenging His listeners to orient their understanding of who God is to a heavenly Father who provides.
Talk to God now about the things that you are tempted to worry about. Ask Him to help you shift your attention from these things to Him and His ways.
When we are seeking the Kingdom we are desiring God’s rule and reign, His way of doing things, to break into our ordinary daily lives. This Kingdom is not something that we leave to go in search of. It is something we seek through obedience and trust.
Ask the Holy Spirit to show you where God’s Kingdom needs to break into your everyday ordinary life. Ask Him for a small step of obedience you can take today and listen to obey.
To end our time today, let’s pray together.
Father, too often we become preoccupied with what we think we need most and we go about trying to get it on our own terms. We forget that every good and perfect gift comes from You, the Father of lights. We forget that You are a good Father and living in Your kingdom means that we get to experience all the blessing and benefits of Your rule and reign. Creator and redeemer of all, You see our lives, You see what we need. We can trust You. Let our minds be filled, not with worry about the future, but with what You are up to in us and all around us as we live in Your kingdom here and now.