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And He Himself gave some to be....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...
- Ephesians 4:11-12

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Location: The Hill Country of Texas

Pastor - Providence Reformed Baptist Church
Director - TIME in the Word Ministries

Thursday, November 17, 2005

To Whom Do You Pray?

TIME in the Word - Daily Devotional

Verse for the Day - Matthew 6:5
And when you pray, you shall not be like the hypocrites. For they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the corners of the streets, that they may be seen by men. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward.

Daily Scripture ReadingLuke 11

Puritan Catechism
Question #6: How many persons are there in the Godhead?
Answer: There are three persons in the Godhead, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, and these three are one God, the same in essence, equal in power and glory (1 John 5:7; Matt. 28:19).

Devotional Thoughts
Notice that as Jesus moves on in His sermon, He continues to use the word "when", not "if." When we pray is the phrase He uses here to let us know first of all that He expects us to pray! Why? Because prayer is a tool used in fellowship. And fellowship was the whole reason God created us and saved us. So that we can have fellowship with Him!!

Prayer is nothing more (or less) than communication with God. Understand, it is not communication AT God. It is communication with Him. We shouldn't view prayer as just talking to the ceiling or reciting a few familiar words hoping that He hears. We should talk with God, meaning that we talk to Him and He talks to us. He does the talking through the Word as we read it, as it is illuminated to us by His Spirit, and as it proclaimed to us by other people!

Jesus tells us that when we pray we are not to pray as the hypocrites. Remember them? Pretenders. People who wear a mask and hide their true identities. People who may seem to be spiritual but who aren't! How can you tell? Inspect the fruit of their lives! So when we pray, we pray to God. Tomorrow's devotion will cover how we are to pray in much more detail. But today we will see how we are NOT to pray. Again -- do not pray like the hypocrites.

They are the people who pray for the sake of others who will hear them. People who do not really know God or how to communicate with Him. People who won't let God get a word in edgewise! These prayers are prayed in the churches and in public when and where others will be sure to hear them. They are prayed out loud so that onlookers can hear the prayer and by hearing the prayer realize how spiritual the one praying must be!

These people really don't pray to God. Oh, they pray to a god, but not God, THE God. They pray to the god of self! The prayers are offered for men to hear, not for God. They become their own gods and worship themselves and pray to themselves so that others will be impressed. This is PRIDE and SIN!

To Whom are we to pray? Pray to God. Talk with Him. Expect an answer. And remember, prayer is not just an opportunity to tell God everything we want or need. It is time for relationship building! How did you build a relationship with your spouse if you are married? How do you maintain relationships with friends? YOU TALK!! So talk with God!

Please note, just as the hypocrite really worships himself and works to gain the praise of men instead of the approval of God, they also will tend to preach when they pray! Have you ever heard someone preach in a prayer?? Please! Give me a break. Prayer is not a public forum to say out loud whatever we want to say and excuse it by claiming that we were just talking to God! GOD KNOWS BETTER. Prayer is communication with Him. Pray to Him, not to the congregation. Even public prayers are an important opportunity to speak with God about issues that affect people listening. But it is never an opportunity to talk to the congregation in the guise of talking to God! And notice - the hypocrite has his reward. That means once again, that the praise he gets from men is all the good he will ever get. Unless he repents and believes in Christ, all of his praying and ministering amounts to a big mound of pride and self and God will reject that offering on the judgment day!

Who do you worship? To Whom do you pray? Find out about the God we worship and serve in these verses. Take His character into account when you next pray!

Puritan Voices
We are reading a small portion each day from The Sin of Man-Pleasing by Richard Baxter.

The Benefits of Seeking to Please God

Consider also the benefits of taking up with the pleasing of God.

1. The pleasing of him is your happiness itself; the matter of pure, and full, and constant comfort, which you may have continually at hand, and no man can take from you. Get this and you have the end of man; nothing can be added to it, but the perfection of the same, which is heaven itself.

2. What abundance of disappointments and vexations will you escape, which tear the very hearts of man-pleasers, and fill their lives with unprofitable sorrows!

3. It will guide and order your cares, and desires, and thoughts, and labors to their right and proper end, and prevent the perverting of them, and spending them in sin and vanity on the creature.

4. It will make your lives not only to be divine but this divine life to be sweet and easy, while you set light by human censures which would create you prejudice and difficulties. When others glory in wit, and wealth, and strength, you would glory in this, that you know the Lord, Jer. 9: 23, 24.

5. As God is above man, thy heart and life is highly ennobled by having so much respect to God, and rejecting inordinate respect to man: this is indeed to walk with God.

6. The sum of all graces is contained in this sincere desire to please thy God, and contentedness in this so far as thou find it attained. Here is faith, and humility, and love, and, holy desire, and trust and the fear of God joined together. You "sanctify the Lord of hosts himself, and make him your fear, and dread, and sanctuary," Isa. 8:13, 14.

7. If human approbation be good for you and worth your having, this is the best way to it; for God hath the disposal of it. "If a man's ways please the Lord, he make even his enemies to be at peace with him," Prov. 16:7. God does this by appeasing their wrath, or restraining them from intended evil, or doing us good by that which they intend for hurt.

Bible Reading For Further Study

Recommended Songs for Worship


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