Fasting Devotional Day One: Sunday, January 2, 2022 Text: Matthew 6:5-6
By Brian Lambert Thoughts:
As the disciples watched and listened to Jesus, they were captivated by Him in a way they had never experienced before with another individual. He had their attention, but more importantly, He had their heart. As they experienced His teaching, In Matthew 6:5-6, Jesus said:
"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. (NKJ)
The disciples became particularly interested in what He had to say about prayer. They could relate to the message. They had witnessed the Jewish leaders praying in the synagogues and in the public streets. The disciples observed their prideful religious practices; how their haughty, elitist attitude resulted in hollow and ineffective prayer.
Consider this: Effective and powerful prayer as opposed to hollow and ineffective prayer, is dependent on this main thing: Your Attitude.
Someone once said: “The attitude of your prayer will determine the altitude of your prayer.” In other words, if you want God to hear and respond to your prayers, then you must approach him with the right attitude…one of humility and authenticity.
Attitude plays a significant role in prayer, because wrapped up in your attitude is your motive and mindset to connect, communicate, and listen for the commands and instructions of the Father. The motive of the Jewish leaders was pride. Their goal was to impress others with their many words and repetitive phrases. People were the audience of their prayers. Jesus wasn’t impressed! In contrast, the attitude of the disciples was, not to impress religiously, but to be faithful relationally. They desired to live out their relationship with God faithfully; to be like Jesus, connected to the Father and obedient to Him.
What motivates you to pray? Is it your circumstances that move you pray or is it a longing to connect with the Father and do His will? In your prayer life, are you more “religious” or more “relational,” longing to be like Jesus, connected to the Father and obedient to Him.
Puritan Preacher and writer John Bunyan, best known for his book, The Pilgrim’s Progress, said it best, “When thou prayest, rather let thy heart be without words than thy words without heart.” As we begin this season of prayer and fasting, let us be reminded that fasting without intentional prayer is just a diet; and it can be a painful one! As we fast, let’s be committed to set aside time for focused prayer and develop a deeper heart connection with the Father.
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