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Devotion for February 13, 2007

Devotions

A 2004 study of fertility patients revealed some interesting results. When women receiving fertility treatments worried about the outcome, they were less likely to conceive than those who didn’t. Long before any scientific studies were undertaken, Jesus taught that worry has no place in the perspective of His followers.

Christians have the antidote for worry. It isn’t the power of positive thinking. It isn’t a mind-numbing form of meditation. It is the power of personal supplication before the Creator of the universe. Do not worry, Jesus commands us. But this only makes sense in the context of prayer.

It is an affront to God when we worry, because we are essentially claiming that God cannot provide for us. It means that we’ve lost sight of everything He has already given us. We worry about clothes and food, but we forget about life and the body, both blessings from God. We’re not only forgetful of what God has already given us, but also of our value to Him. We mistrust Him and doubt His character, namely that He wants to provide for His children and that He can and will. This was the tragic sin of the Exodus generation of the Israelites (cf. Ps. 78).

God knows what we need, and some would argue that this pulls the rug out from under prayer. Why pray if God already knows what we need? This view assumes that prayer must be about informing God of something He didn’t already know; this view clearly misunderstands the nature and character of God. Rather, we must pray because it is the way to actively trust God. Without prayer, we are tempted by sinful self-reliance—believing that anything we need or want we can get for ourselves—or worry, wondering who will get the job done.

We’ve spent the last several days piecing together a grand picture of God’s kingdom purposes. However big God and His plans are, we do not matter less to God. “Give us this day our daily bread” serves to remind us of that.

Apply the Word

God makes His followers an irresistible offer: Take care of my business, and I’ll take care of yours (v. 33). It requires obedient faith to use time, money, and energy for God’s kingdom when such resources seem scarce and the needs great. But like the widow of Zarephath who fed the prophet of Elijah and saw the provision of God (cf. 1 Kings 17), we, too, can spend ourselves for God and see that He supplies and rewards such generosity (cf. 2 Cor. 9).

BY Jennifer Michel

Jen Pollock Michel is a regular contributor to Christianity Today’s Her.meneutics blog. Her first book, Teach us to Want: Longing, Ambition and the Life of Faith, is published by InterVarsity Press. Jen earned her BA in French from Wheaton College and her MA in Literature from Northwestern University. She lives in Toronto, Canada, with her husband and five children, and serves on staff at Grace Toronto Church.

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