Friday 19 August 2016

Bible Book:

“In everything do to others as you would have them do to you; for this is the law and the prophets.” (v. 12)

Matthew 7:7-12 Friday 19 August 2016

Psalm: Psalm 137:1-7


Janis Joplin famously sang 'O Lord, won't you buy me a Mercedes Benz?'That's not exactly the picture of prayer we get from this passage.When Jesus tells his disciples to ask so that they will receive, toseek in order to find and to knock so as to gain entry he's notsuggesting that prayer is mechanical and automatic, a kind ofvending machine to give us whatever we fancy. It's much more aboutexpecting good things from God, about exploring the fullness ofGod's abundant provision.

This passage gives us a more positive picture of what it meansto live in the light of the kingdom of God. One writer comments onthese verses: "the antidote to worry is a robust confidence inGod's willingness to give his people all that they need". Ofcourse, there is still the perennial problem of unanswered prayer,or of prayer that is not answered in the way that we hope. That isan experience that Jesus himself entered into in Gethsemane as heprayed "if it is possible, let this cup pass from me" (Matthew 26:39). Yet even in that extremesituation Jesus ' final prayer was that God's will be done.

Today's passage ends with perhaps the saying of Jesus that isbest known, even by those who don't consider themselves Christian.At the time of Jesus it had become quite popular for leading rabbisto summarise the Jewish law. The famous rabbi Hillel was challengedto teach the Torah standing on one leg. His response was verysimilar to Jesus, but put negatively: do not treat others in a wayyou would not want to be treated yourself. Jesus' version of this'golden rule' (as it is often called) is more positive andeffectively summarises the ancient Jewish instruction to love yourneighbour as yourself.

To Ponder

  • What do you most want to ask from God?
  • What has been your experience of answered - or unanswered -prayer? 

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