Purses and Prayer Requests

September 22, 2009 at 9:18 am | Posted in Devotional thoughts, Prayer | Leave a comment

My wife mentioned the other day that her Sunday School class had a discussion about the prayer requests we make in churches today, that most all of them are for temporal rather than eternal matters.  The next morning I read the following verse in my devotions, “Someone in the crowd said to him, ‘Teacher, tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me.’” (Luke 12:13)  I laughed when I read it, because it is exactly like us, asking God to intervene in a matter of temporal importance, while ignoring the eternal.  Now there’s nothing wrong with prayer requests of a temporal nature; Jesus taught us to ask for our daily bread, and he answered requests for physical healing, food, and even wine.  The problem is that most of us live our lives there, and never get beyond the temporal.  When Jesus fed the 5,000 he used it as a lesson in eternal matters (see John 6:26-69 and Mark 8:14-21).  He operated on both levels with an emphasis on the eternal; we tend to operate on only the temporal level, or we operate on both but emphasize the temporal.  In the follow up to the demand to arbitrate the inheritance, Jesus mentioned many things about the eternal.  To the man who made the demand, Jesus responded, “A man’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.” (v15)  He then told a story of a man who built bigger barns for his abundant crop and decided to “eat, drink, and be merry.”  (Did you know that famous phrase came from Jesus’ lips?)  God took the man’s life away that night, and Jesus concluded, “This is how it will be with anyone who stores up things for himself, but is not rich toward God.” (v21)  After a command not to worry about temporal things, Jesus added “Seek his kingdom and all these things will be given to you as well” (v31)  And finally he concludes the entire section with “Provide purses for yourselves that will not wear out, a treasure in heaven that will not be exhausted, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys.  For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” (33-34)  Along with our constant pursuit of the temporal, let’s seek purses that will not wear out, let’s seek God’s kingdom first.

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