Matthew 6:24-31 (NIV)
24 “No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money. 25 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? 26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?27 Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life[a]?
28 “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. 29 Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 30 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? 31 So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’
Each day, I carve out time for prayers. Some days I pray more often and less formally, and others days I try to follow a few internal guidelines. Recently I realized I was anxious that I wasn’t praying RIGHT–for the right things, for the right people, for the right things for the right people…….Luckily for me, and us, God knows our prayers without our having to (however poorly) articulate them. Since coming to that realization, and after a fruitful two years in Sojourners’ Bible study, I have changed how I pray–simplified it, in fact. Instead of placing so much emphasis on the “what, who, how, when”, I pray that God be with those who are in specific and general need, that God’s will be done in the world, and that He will use me to do His work. My role, then, is to be open to Him, in communion with others, in study of His word, and have a willingness be courageous to act when He calls.
For me, the anxiety about my prayers got in the WAY of them, and in the WAY of God’s work. I suspect it’s like that for many of us in many aspects of life. Worry clouds our judgment, wastes our valuable time, and creates physical and emotional distress. God reminds us in today’s scripture that there’s no reason to worry–HE provides for our needs. The miracle of a humble Christmas birth is a tremendous reminder of just that. Before humanity existed, before we were born, and long before we had the chance to formulate one day’s worry, Christ entered the world in a barn, to a virgin teen mom. This set into motion the greatest story of “don’t worry, I got this all figured out for you” ever written. I still worry, but reflecting on God’s answer, via a Christmas miracle, to my eternal worry is a great reminder that He’s in charge. All the time.
Prayer: Dear Provider God Thank you for offering Christ as our Emmanuel–God with us. Please help us keep our eyes on You, particularly when the daily distractions and worry creep in. Keep our ears open to hear You and the needs of others. Amen.