July 6 I Monday
“And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask Him.” —Matthew 6:7-8
From the opening verse of this devotion, Jesus is teaching His disciples about prayer. It seems rather strange for Him to say, “Your Father knows what you need before you ask Him,” because the logical response would then be, “Why spend time praying?”
Firstly, if God knows everything there is to know, what is the point of us spending time telling God things He already knows? Secondly, if God has plans, and if God’s plans are good, why spend time making suggestions as to what we think God ought to do in a situation?
Thirdly, if God’s purpose will be done, why not just simply pray, “Lord, Your will be done everywhere in everything. Amen!”?
Why is it necessary to pray and intercede? How could prayer possibly make a difference? We find our answer in Genesis when God said, “Let Us make mankind in Our image, in Our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground” (Genesis 1:26). Human beings are intended to display the image of God and rule over the earth. Yet, sin entered the world and creation had fallen to such an extent that on three occasions in the New Testament, Jesus describes Satan as “prince of this world” (John 12:31; 14:30; 16:11). Is Satan prince of the world because he defeated God? Absolutely not! Satan is the prince of this world, not because he defeated God, but because he defeated human beings, whom God gave dominion over this world. Romans 6:16 tells us,
“Don’t you know that when you offer yourselves to someone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one you obey…” When human beings submit to the devil, unwittingly, in captivating the will of man, Satan has become prince of this world.
Having been given dominion over the world, we human beings can keep God out as the first man, Adam, did or we can let God in. Prayer and intercession, is bringing God into situations, not to get Him to serve our interests but in order that His will might be done. We cannot make God do what He does not want to do, but we can limit Him from doing what He would do. To the extent that we say, “Lord, have your way in my life,” He will. And the extent to which we keep God out, He will keep out. Prayer is exercising the privilege of bringing God into situations and allowing Him, not Satan, to rule our lives.
Prayer: Father God, thank You for the privilege of prayer where I can bring You into every aspect of my life. May You be the ruler of my life and not Satan. Amen!