Day 7 – Peace and Prayer

So this will be sort of stream of consciousness. Two themes struck me today: peace and prayer.

Peace

The Genesis reading today (I’ll list the daily passages at the bottom of my posts from now on) included that passage about Melchizedek, King of Salem (Genesis 14:14-10).

I love how this guy appears in the middle of Abraham’s discussions with the King of Sodom.  Here’s Abraham dealing with the King of a wicked, corrupt place and shows up this King of Righteousness (that’s what Melchizedek means) and Priest of God to bless Abraham. Righteousness in the midst of wickedness.

I love how Melchizedek is a foreshadow of Jesus (see Hebrews 6:30-7:17), appearing a couple thousand years before Jesus brought righteousness in the midst of wickedness. Notice how Abraham offers Melchizedek a tithe. And Melchizedek offers Abraham bread and wine as part of his priestly duty (sound familiar?).

Melchizedek was the King of Salem, which means Shalom or Peace. That’s the early name of Jerusalem, the place where God met man in the Temple. The place where we got Peace with God through the Cross.

And that reminds me of the end of Psalm 4, verse 8:

In peace I will lie down and sleep,
for you alone, LORD,
make me dwell in safety. (NIV)

Yesterday, I was talking about how Psalm 4, vs. 4, gives a solution to anger: to stop and ponder on one’s bed. And I love this sort of continuation.

As I go to my bed to think and pray about why I’m angry, eventually, I lie down and sleep. Peaceful sleep. Shalom sleep.

Prayer

As long as I’m thinking about prayer, that reminds me of the Matthew 6:1-18 where Jesus says that hypocrites Tithe, Pray, and Fast right out in the public square so that everyone can see how pious they are. They aren’t serving God, but themselves, their own reputations.

Then Jesus tells those who “know” God how to pray. He starts by saying not to blab, blab, blab ’cause God already knows our needs (does that mean we don’t pray for our third aunt fourth removed’s ingrown toenail?).

Instead, we (ok, I) need to pray about 7 things:

  • God’s Honor: That says it all 
  • God’s Kingdom: That God’s kingdom is established in my heart and life
  • God’s Will: That God’s will is done on earth (and my life as well)
  • My Food: That I have something to eat (if I’m dead, I can’t rightly do God’s will here on earth)
  • My Forgiveness: That I be forgiven (and forgive others – here’s the part about earthly relationships — and it’s more about serving others than about how they treat me)
  • My Safety from Sin: That I not be tempted to sin
  • My Safety from Satan: That I  be delivered from the evil one’s attacks (and instead rely on God)

I’m so struck that none of these pray requests are about my alleged emotional and worldly needs (other than the physical).

They are all about God’s will and honor, His forgiveness, and about helping us do God’s will and bring Him honor by forgiving others and avoiding sin.

If this is all we prayed for – and really meant it – wow.

Today’s reading: Genesis 13:1-14:24, Psalm 4: 6-8, Proverbs 2: 1-5, Matthew 6: 1-18

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4 thoughts on “Day 7 – Peace and Prayer

  1. This discussion reminds me of an earlier blog post of mine called something like “Like God, sympathetic and unyielding” — the idea being that it is possible to hold firmly to a limit, boundary, rule, decision, whatever, while still being compassionate and respectful toward the feelings of the person who is not happy about that limit or whatever. And recently I’ve discovered more parenting resources that take a similar line.

  2. I agree that other passages in Scripture about prayer address telling God our needs, but it interests me that the ONLY needs mentioned when Jesus used this prayer to teach others how to pray were physical and spiritual. And Jesus says in the next passage that we can trust God with our physical needs if we seek first His kingdom. He never says “seek first” and I’ll give you a TV or an A grade…

  3. What about “cast all your cares on him” — you don’t think the Lord’s prayer means we should not share our emotional and worldly needs and concerns with God, do you?

    I didn’t know that Salem was the early name of Jerusalem — interesting!

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