Prayer Tip: A Question of Motive

Posted Jul 12, 2020

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Daily Scripture

Matthew 6:1-2, 5, 16, 19 and 21 (CEB except for vs.1 NRSV)

Beware of practicing your piety before others in order to be seen by them; for then you have no reward from your Father in heaven.

Whenever you give to the poor, don’t blow your trumpet as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets so that they may get praise from people. I assure you, that’s the only reward they’ll get.

When you pray, don’t be like hypocrites. They love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners so that people will see them. I assure you, that’s the only reward they’ll get.

And when you fast, don’t put on a sad face like the hypocrites. They distort their faces so people will know they are fasting. I assure you that they have their reward.

Stop collecting treasures for your own benefit on earth, where moth and rust eat them and where thieves break in and steal them…Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

Prayer Tip

The above verse seems to be counterculture to the way we do things in our society. It is our social norm to make sure everyone knows everything we are doing, especially the good stuff. It is a news story when one of our celebrities gives to a charity or helps a family.

The problem is sometimes this goes from, “Look what good thing I did,” to “Look how I am better than you.” Our competitive nature can even take something good like spirituality and turn into a nasty competition in which not only does our ego edge God out, but it edges others out as well. It alienates us from our brothers and sisters and bears bad witness among the nonbelievers who are watching our spiritual circus unfold.

My daughter, age 3, asked me why she can’t hear Jesus talk. This is a very hard question to answer to a child (and made me wish I could call Rev. Bell over to my house immediately!), but I told her that Jesus does speak to us in a still, quiet voice.

When we hear a voice in our head and heart that whispers, “You shouldn’t do that, it could hurt someone,” that is Jesus. And when we hear something inside us that says, “You are special and loved,” that is Jesus, too.

Having a strong prayer and study life is the best way to allow the Holy Spirit to speak to us and guide us. Sometimes we hear about a charity or see a need and there is a voice calling us to give and act. We don’t need to let everyone know that bought a coat for the coat drive or donated to the food pantry. Our reward is our closer connection with God and the peace that comes from knowing we helped make the world look more like God's kingdom.

Below are some tips that might help you in prayer and study this week.

  • Find a quiet place in your home and pray there every day this week. At the end of your prayer, set a timer for five minutes and spend that time focusing on God’s love. Allow space for the Holy Spirit to speak to you. Increase your time by one minute each day.
  • In your prayer time ask God to speak to you about a cause or charity that you could support, even if your donation is a small one. Small gifts can make a big difference when we all make them!
  • Pray and think about humility. Is this something you could use work on? How is God calling you to act?

Dear God,

It is so easy to get caught up in our world and what others think about us. Draw our focus to what you think and to how you have called us to act. Help us to walk humbly with you.

— Ashly Cooley, Counseling & Support Ministries

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GPS Guide

Whether you’re just starting to explore the Christian faith, or you’re a long-time Christian, we want to do everything we can to help you on your journey to know, love and serve God. The GPS (Grow, Pray, Study) Guide provides Scripture and insights to enhance your journey. If you have a question or comment about the GPS Guide, please send it to GPS@cor.org.

Ashly Cooley

Ashly Cooley

Ashly supports the Congregational Care ministry at Resurrection Leawood. She works primarily with our Counseling and Support ministries.

Today's verse seems to be counterculture to the way we do things in our society. It is our social norm to make sure everyone knows everything we are doing, especially the good stuff. It is a news story when one of our celebrities gives to a charity or helps a family.

The problem is sometimes this goes from, “Look what good thing I did,” to “Look how I am better than you.” Our competitive nature can even take something good like spirituality and turn into a nasty competition in which not only does our ego edge God out, but it edges others out as well. It alienates us from our brothers and sisters and bears bad witness among the nonbelievers who are watching our spiritual circus unfold.

My daughter, age 3, asked me why she can’t hear Jesus talk. This is a very hard question to answer to a child (and made me wish I could call Rev. Bell over to my house immediately!), but I told her that Jesus does speak to us in a still, quiet voice.

When we hear a voice in our head and heart that whispers, “You shouldn’t do that, it could hurt someone,” that is Jesus. And when we hear something inside us that says, “You are special and loved,” that is Jesus, too.

Having a strong prayer and study life is the best way to allow the Holy Spirit to speak to us and guide us. Sometimes we hear about a charity or see a need and there is a voice calling us to give and act. We don’t need to let everyone know that bought a coat for the coat drive or donated to the food pantry. Our reward is our closer connection with God and the peace that comes from knowing we helped make the world look more like God's kingdom.

Below are some tips that might help you in prayer and study this week.

  • Find a quiet place in your home and pray there every day this week. At the end of your prayer, set a timer for five minutes and spend that time focusing on God’s love. Allow space for the Holy Spirit to speak to you. Increase your time by one minute each day.
  • In your prayer time ask God to speak to you about a cause or charity that you could support, even if your donation is a small one. Small gifts can make a big difference when we all make them!
  • Pray and think about humility. Is this something you could use work on? How is God calling you to act?

Dear God,

It is so easy to get caught up in our world and what others think about us. Draw our focus to what you think and to how you have called us to act. Help us to walk humbly with you.

Looking for GPS Guide? Scroll to the top of this page and click the GPS Guide tab!

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