Personalize Matthew 6:1-18 (The Message), by speaking your name in every blank.
“Be especially careful when is trying to be good so that he/she doesn’t make a performance out of it. It might be good theater, but the God who made won’t be applauding. “When does something for someone else, he/she shouldn’t call attention to . You’ve seen them in action, I’m sure—’playactors’ I call them— treating prayer meeting and street corner alike as a stage, acting compassionate as long as someone is watching, playing to the crowds. They get applause, true, but that’s all they get. When helps someone out, he/she shouldn’t think about how it looks. Just do it—quietly and unobtrusively. That is the way your God, who conceived in love, working behind the scenes, helps out.
“And when comes before God, he/she shouldn’t turn that into a theatrical production either. All these people making a regular show out of their prayers, hoping for stardom! Does think God sits in a box seat?
“Here’s what I want to do: Find a quiet, secluded place so you won’t be tempted to role-play before God. Just be there as simply and honestly as you can manage. The focus will shift from to God, and will begin to sense his grace.
“The world is full of so-called prayer warriors who are prayer-ignorant. They’re full of formulas and programs and advice, peddling techniques for getting what you want from God. Don’t fall for that nonsense. This is ’s Father you are dealing with, and he knows better than you what needs. With a God like this loving you, can pray very simply. Like this:
Our Father in heaven,
Reveal who you are.
Set the world right;
Do what’s best— as above, so below.
Keep alive with three square meals.
Keep forgiven with you and forgiving others.
Keep safe from himself/herself and the Devil.
You’re in charge!
You can do anything you want!
You’re ablaze in beauty!
Yes. Yes. Yes.
“In prayer there is a connection between what God does and what does. can’t get forgiveness from God, for instance, without also forgiving others. If refuses to do his/her part, cuts himself/herself off from God’s part.
“When practices some appetite-denying discipline to better concentrate on God, don’t make a production out of it. It might turn into a small-time celebrity but it won’t make a saint. If ’goes into training’ inwardly, act normal outwardly. Shampoo and comb your hair, brush your teeth, wash your face. God doesn’t require attention-getting devices. He won’t overlook what is doing; he’ll reward you well.”
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