Posted by: Pauline | March 10, 2013

Scriptures for Sunday March 17

Psalm 84

The psalmist expresses a deep longing to be in the presence of God. He has such joy in being “in the house of my God” that he would rather be there than anywhere else, even if he served only as a doorkeeper.

The psalmist had in mind the tabernacle or temple in Jerusalem, where the Israelites gathered to worship God, and where God had promised to be present with them. Christians often speak of church as “God’s house,” but we don’t have to go to a particular place to find the presence of God. He is present wherever we are.

Matthew 6:7-13

This is the prayer Jesus taught his disciples, when they asked him for instruction on how to pray. In a few lines, it includes everything important about how to pray.

We start by recognizing who God is and praising Him. We ask for His will to be done, for people – including ourselves – to obey Him. We ask for the things we need today. We ask forgiveness for our sins, recognizing that God’s forgiveness of us is linked to our forgiving those who have wronged us. We ask for protection from evil.

Many of us have known the words to this prayer since we were young children, and can recite it without giving any thought to what we are saying, when our minds are somewhere else entirely. It takes effort to focus our minds on what we are saying, to make those thoughts our own prayer to God rather than just a string of memorized words.

We don’t have to think, though, that if we can’t focus our minds on every word of the familiar prayer that it “doesn’t count.” One value of memorized prayers is that we don’t have to worry about having the right words to say. We can focus simply on offering the prayer to God with an attitude of humility and trust, and believe that God accepts the prayer in the spirit in which it was offered. At some level, our minds are still being impacted by the words we repeat, reinforcing their meaning as the right approach to God.


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