JESUS said to them, “When you pray, say: Father, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come. Give us each day our daily bread. And forgive us our sins, for we ourselves forgive everyone indebted to us. And do not bring us to the time of trial.” And he said to them, “Suppose one of you has a friend, and you go to him at midnight and say to him, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves of bread; for a friend of mine has arrived, and I have nothing to set before him.’ And he answers from within, ‘Do not bother me; the door has already been locked, and my children are with me in bed; I cannot get up and give you anything.’ I tell you, even though he will not get up and give him anything because he is his friend, at least because of his persistence he will get up and give him whatever he needs. So I say to you, Ask, and it will be given you; search, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened for you. For everyone who asks receives, and everyone who searches finds, and for everyone who knocks, the door will be opened.” – Luke 11:2-10 NRSV
I got to hear Dr. Mark Hitchcock preach yesterday, and one thing in particular he said hit me in the face. Well, several things really, but today I need to focus on this. He was using the 23rd Psalm, and I realized that I have done what he said for most of my life. We read it, and scripture says, “The LORD is my Shepherd, I shall not want.” – Psalms 23:1 NRSV How many of us read it, then pray like this: “The LORD is my Shepherd, BUT I need a job.” “The LORD is my Shepherd, BUT I need healing.” “The LORD is my Shepherd, BUT I need ….” Is the LORD my Shepherd, providing for my needs (* key word: needs, not necessarily wants), or is He not? Pastor Mark suggested reversing the prayer so that we acknowledge the Shepherd. “I need a job, BUT the LORD is my Shepherd, I shall not want.” “I need healing, BUT the LORD is my Shepherd, I shall not want.” “I need __________ , BUT the LORD is my Shepherd, I shall not want.”
We brilliant, oh-so-smart humans think we are smarter and better planners than the LORD. Really? Looking at all of the decisions you’ve made in your life, on your own, without seeking or waiting for HIS input – how’s that working out for you? I get as frustrated as anyone (more frustrated!) when my life doesn’t go the way I think it should. I need a job. I need to know whether to keep my house on the market or take it off. I need, I need, I need….. but do I really? What I need is to change my mindset and my prayers. I need, BUT the LORD is my Shepherd. Is He your Shepherd, taking care of your needs, or are you attempting to be your own shepherd and caretaker?
‘The Shepherd and his Flock’, 1905, Wikipedia.org
Jesus said, “I AM the Good Shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. I AM the Good Shepherd. I know My own and My own know Me…. I AM the WAY, and the TRUTH, and the LIFE. No one comes to the FATHER except through Me.” – John 10:11, 14, 14:6 NRSV