March 12, 2019
“Our Father Who art in Heaven, hallowed be Your name. Your Kingdom come, Your will be done on earth as it is in Heaven...” (Matthew 6:9-13)
The verb form of the word ‘to pray’ literally means “to ask.” Prayer is more than just asking, but asking God for something is often the heart of a prayer.
The message of the Bible frequently sifts down to just two words: God first. From Genesis to Revelation, the bottom line interpretation and application of the commandments, character studies, allegories, parables, psalms, sermons, Gospels, Epistles and teachings of Jesus is simply “God first.”
The prayer Jesus taught us begins with that God-first emphasis when Jesus instructs us to begin by asking God that His name, the essence of Who and what He is, might be honored and reverenced because we are offering our prayer(s) to our heavenly Father God…
Prayer is not a matter of us persuading God to do our will. The very essence of prayer is an alignment between our wills and the will of God. Prayer is not a matter of us making God our partner and taking God into our plans. Prayer is a matter of God making us His partners and taking us into His plans…
We are not to come into our prayer closets or into our corporate worship prayers with a ‘shopping list’ and send God on errands for us. When we pray, we should come into the presence of God with a blank sheet of paper and ask God to send us on errands for Him.
Dick Woodward, A Prescription for Prayer
April 7, 2017
“Blessed are the merciful … Blessed are the pure in heart…” (Matthew5:7&8)
Jesus begins His greatest discourse with a “check up from the neck up.” He teaches eight attitudes that can make us salt and light, and one of His solutions to what is wrong with this crazy world. These eight attitudes come in pairs. The third pair is to be merciful with a pure heart.
One scholar writes that these blessed attitudes are like climbing a mountain. The first pair takes us halfway up the mountain and the second pair takes us to the top of the mountain. The third pair takes us half way down the other side of the mountain.
The profound simplicity of Jesus is asking the question: “When we are filled with righteousness that takes us to the top of the mountain what kind of people are we? Are we Bible experts who throw the book at people?” No! True disciples are filled with mercy (which is unconditional love.) As we love in this way we are pure in heart.
To be pure in heart is only understood when we research the Greek word used here for pure. It is the word from which we get our word to be catheterized. This means that as we are merciful we have a catharsis through which everything that is not the unconditional love of Christ is removed from our hearts.
If you want to be one of the solutions of Jesus in this world, hunger and thirst for what is right and you will find that love is right and right is love. Being a conduit of the love and mercy of Jesus will make you His salt and light.
Dick Woodward, 13 April 2010
February 20, 2015
I have blotted out, like a thick cloud, your transgressions, and like a cloud, your sins. Sing, O heavens, for the Lord has done it! Shout, you lower parts of the earth; break forth into singing, you mountains…” (Isaiah 44: 22, 23)
When one of the greatest men of God who ever lived committed the sins of adultery and murder, filled with remorse and contrition (which means being exceedingly sorry for sin), he prayed a great model prayer for forgiveness. If you have sinned and you don’t know how to confess your sin read Psalm 51. Make it your own prayer and you will do a great job of confessing your sin.
In the original Hebrew David actually asked God to un-sin his sin. Any devout believer who has really sinned will resonate with this prayer petition of David. The spirit of the prayer petition is: “Oh God! If You could only make it as if it had never happened!”
That introduces us to one of the most beautiful words in the Bible: “justified.” This word means “just as if I’d never sinned” and it means “to be declared righteous.” David uses this word in his prayer of repentance.
Sunday school children are taught a song that summarizes these Scripture verses: “God has blotted them out, I’m happy as I can be. God has blotted them out, I’ll turn to Isaiah and see. Chapter forty-four, twenty-two and three. He’s blotted them out and I can just shout! For that means me!”
They may be merely singing words when they’re children but when they grow up and become people who sin they may shout with tears when they read these verses and remember that song.
When you sin can you shout, “That means me?
Dick Woodward, 01 May 2013