Daily Devotion

Start with Praise

Therefore the Lord said: "Inasmuch as these people draw near with their mouths and honor Me with their lips, but have removed their hearts far from Me, and their fear toward Me is taught by the commandment of men."
Did you know that it is possible to say your prayers but not be praying? We can run through our ritualized requests and not actually pray. Jesus said to the scribes and Pharisees, "Hypocrites! Well did Isaiah prophesy about you, saying: 'These people draw near to Me with their mouth, and honor Me with their lips, but their heart is far from Me' " (Matthew 15:7–8). Not all prayers are offered to God.
You can sing praise songs and send up prayers to God but have no thought of Him. Do you know why? Because you are thinking about you. Or, you are thinking about someone else and the way they look or thinking about how good you may look.
Jesus told the story of a Pharisee who went to the temple to pray and "prayed thus with himself" (Luke 18:11). That Pharisee's prayer didn't go any higher than the ceiling because for him, it was all about putting on a show. As a result, his prayer wasn't heard by God.
Yes, our prayers need to be offered to God. It is very important for us to remember that we are talking to God Almighty. Therefore, it's a good idea to slow down and contemplate the awesomeness of God. When I do this, my goal is to get my will in alignment with His. Prayer is not getting my will in Heaven; it is getting God's will on earth. And when you know God and spend time in communion with Him, you will know what God wants.
It is okay to bring your needs before the Lord. But start with praise and adoration and get a sense of the awesomeness of God. The more you realize how great God is, the smaller your problems will become in His presence.

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The Hard-to-Swallow Truth About Obedience – II

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The Message We Must Proclaim

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Ezekiel 47-48; Luke 2

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