Only Pray in Closets

I can’t tell you how much joy it is to disciple a new believer, but do let me tell you…it’s awesome!

Jason loves to read and will read most anything we throw his way. We started up our Monday night study time last week and I decided we’d just forget reading good books and go with THE BOOK. There’s nothing better than reading the Bible. It’s time to stop reading books about the Book and just get down to reading the Book.

So, we started tonight with a review of Matthew chapters 1 to 6. He hadn’t gotten a chance to read today’s reading so we didn’t get to chapter 7 as planned. We’re simply reading a chapter a day and doing the old “God’s Message To Me Today” kind of thing…Promise From God, Command to Keep, Timeless Principle, Application, etc. Very simple.

The main thing is to begin developing the daily habit of reading the Word…the writing is just something to help think about what the Scripture means. Sometimes rigid questions like these don’t really apply to every chapter so there isn’t always an answer for each one without really forcing an unintended meaning. So, we’re flexible, and I don’t care at all if he can’t answer each entry. As long as he’s reading each chapter, we’re in great shape.

I love just teaching extemporaneously about the Scripture…I don’t know as much as a lot of others but compared to a baby believer…I know plenty. So, it’s great to just hit each chapter and run with it. There’s so much we can glean from the living Word.

One thing I discovered is that I can learn a lot too from the heart of a new believer who reads the Scripture for the first time. Sometimes that fresh perspective is quite…well…refreshing!

One thing I “learned” from Jason tonight was that in chapter 6 Jesus said that we should only pray in closets! Ha-ha…well…it does sound that way doesn’t it? I had to stop and think for just a moment to be sure I didn’t plaster over some great truth with my “professional lifelong Christianity”…but I assured him that while it’s great to pray in a private place, it’s fine to pray anywhere and everywhere. It’s the heart that matters. Praying to be seen and heard was the point of that instruction from Jesus. The fact that even Jesus prayed in public tells us that praying in public wasn’t the issue but pride in being seen and heard while praying in public. That was the point.

Nonetheless, it was refreshing to hear the misinterpretation. It was a little funny but at the same time…just trying to read the Scripture for what it says right on the surface…that’s not so bad. Maybe when it says other things like, “Don’t store up treasures here on earth, where they can be eaten by moths and get rusty, and where thieves break in and steal,” that on the surface it may just seem like that means…don’t have so much stuff and use the resources that God makes me a steward of for His glory and His purpose and plan and not my own. And you know what? That’s exactly what it means.

All this reminds me of the lyrics to a song written and sung by Michael Card. It blisters my heart to read them. I pray we’ll leave behind everything except footprints in the direction of Jesus and the long, furrowed mark of the cross we’re bearing up each day.


The Things We Leave Behind

There sits Simon,
so foolishly wise
proudly he’s tending his nets
Then Jesus calls,
and the boats drift away
all that he owns he forgets

More than the nets
he abandoned that day,
he found that his pride was soon drifting away
It’s hard to imagine the freedom we find
from the things we leave behind

Matthew was mindful
of taking the tax,
pressing the people to pay
Hearing the call,
he responded in faith
followed the Light and the Way

Leaving the people
so puzzled he found,
the greed in his heart
was no longer around and
it’s hard to imagine
the freedom we find
from the things
we leave behind

Every heart needs to be set free,
from possessions
that hold it so tight
‘Cause freedom’s not found in the things that we own,
It’s the power
to do what is right
Jesus, our only possession,
giving becomes our delight
We can’t imagine the freedom we find
from the things we leave behind

We show a love for the world in our lives
by worshiping goods we posses
Jesus has laid all our treasures aside
“love God above all the rest”

‘Cause when we say ‘no’
to the things of the world
we open our hearts
to the love of the Lord and
its hard to imagine
the freedom we find
from the things we leave behind

Oh, and it’s hard to imagine
the freedom we find
from the things
we leave behind

-Michael Card from “Poeima”

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