July 4, Thursday

Devotional Thoughts for Today

“A Direct Line to God”

Psalm 4:1-3

Answer me when I call to you, O my righteous God.  Give me relief from my distress; be merciful to me and hear my prayer. 2 How long, O men, will you turn my glory into shame?  How long will you love delusions and seek false gods? Selah 3 Know that the Lord has set apart the godly for himself; the Lord will hear when I call to him.

The truth be told, we often take for granted how God is readily accessible to us (Rom. 5:2); but that’s not something the Israelites in the OT had enjoyed: God was near them but not yet with them. They heard God’s word from the mouth of prophets, but both they and the prophets could never experience “the Spirit himself testify[ing] with our spirit that we are God’s children” (Rom. 8:16).  The adoption into God’s family would become a reality only after the coming of Christ (Jn. 1:12) and the sending of the Holy Spirit into our hearts thereafter, thereby enabling us to hear God’s voice from within—based on Scripture (Jn. 7:39; 2 Cor. 1:22; 1 Cor. 7:29; Acts 17:11). This is one main reason “many prophets and righteous people [in the OT] longed to see what [we] see, and did not see it, and to hear what [we] hear, and did not hear it” (Mt. 13:17).

This is to say, what David had longed for is a reality to us in Christ, but are we taking advantage of it?  Foremost, if you are still not a believer, you are wasting a golden opportunity to be part of God’s family, along with its many privileges and blessings (and responsibilities to follow). If you are already a believer, then, how is your prayer life? You should really pray, even more now (NT) because we have a direct line to God Himself. Yes, God is waiting for you to call! 

So, what are some activities in your life that seem to sap your desire and energy to pray consistently? Prayerlessness is nothing less than not depending on God.  Anyone who says, “I depend on the Lord” but rarely ever prays is no different than a politician elected on a pro-environment platform who drives a Hummer!  In addition, those who say prayer doesn’t work really haven’t prayed to give it a fair shot, for biblical prayer is not like talking to a waiter; rather it is an unhurried time of intimate dialogue with God and crying out to Him!  And He hears you.  

Considering this, earnestly evaluate your prayer life: What does it say about your dependence on the Lord (Ez. 8:21-3)?  Remember—to add something to our agenda, sometimes we have to make room for it. To pray or to add more time to our existing prayer life, certain activities may need to be eliminated or reduced.  My suggestion is reducing the time devoted to internet surfing, such as updating your Facebook and/or perusing that of others! A lot of time is wasted on that activity alone. Pray today.

Prayer: Dear God, I thank You for this privilege of being able to speak to You freely. Help me to draw closer to You because I desperately need You to navigate my life toward where You want me to be.   

Bible Reading for Today: 1 Kings 5


Lunch Break Study

Read Luke 18:1-8: And he told them a parable to the effect that they ought always to pray and not lose heart. 2 He said, “In a certain city there was a judge who neither feared God nor respected man. 3 And there was a widow in that city who kept coming to him and saying, ‘Give me justice against my adversary.’ 4 For a while he refused, but afterward he said to himself, ‘Though I neither fear God nor respect man, 5 yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will give her justice, so that she will not beat me down by her continual coming.’” 6 And the Lord said, “Hear what the unrighteous judge says. 7 And will not God give justice to his elect, who cry to him day and night? Will he delay long over them? 8 I tell you, he will give justice to them speedily. Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?”

Questions to Consider

  1. To whom was this parable said?
  2. Why was this taught?
  3. In the parable (Lk. 18:2-5), the unjust judge is an antitype of God.  What is Jesus driving at through this literary device3 (Lk. 18:6-8)?

 Notes

  1. Jesus told this to his disciples.
  2. Probably foreseeing the future in which his men would encounter persecutions and trials in carrying out the Great Commission (Mt. 10:17-22), Jesus shared this parable to inculcate in them how they should never give up on prayer.
  3. Through this anti-type, Jesus’ point is even more clear: even an unjust judge will grant a petition presented daily by a relentless petitioner just to get her off his back. But God is completely opposite from this man in character and affection toward those who would petition Him.  If He is not granting your request at the moment, there is a good reason for it; but in time, He will grant your wish “if we ask anything according to his will” (1 Jn. 5:14b).

Evening Reflection

We began the day reading about David’s crying out to the Lord.  Did anything happen today that would make you do the same? Did you get to pray today? If not, what kept you from praying? Pray about it.

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