Reflection After Prayer
Text: Matthew 6 : 1 - 18
What do you do after having prayed meaningfully to God our Father in Heaven? Let us consider how Jesus took time to reflect on one aspect of the Lord’s Prayer.
“For if you forgive men their trespasses, Your
Heavenly Father will also forgive you.
But if you do not forgive men their trespasses,
Neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.”
This approach was truly deep and profound. This approach of reflection or meditation on prayer may be traced to the Book of Psalms.
PRAYER TO BE OFFERED MEDITATIVELY
Let us ponder over these words of the psalmist David when he offered up this prayer to the Lord.
“Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart
Be acceptable in Your sight,
O Lord, my strength and my Redeemer.”
Prayer was never just words poured out from the heart. Rather, prayer was made in carefully meditated words. After prayer has been offered to the Lord, there is further meditation on the prayer offered. What Jesus taught was what David practised!
REFLECTION ON THE CHARACTER OF GOD AS JUDGE
Jesus singled out one item of the Lord’s Prayer for further reflection. He highlighted the aspect concerning confession and seeking the Lord for forgiveness. This approach showed deep appreciation of His deep knowledge of His Father.
This approach was also well reflected in the Book of Psalms. Let us consider the following texts. David knew that as he prayed to the Lord, he must expect that God would examine his heart. He knew that God would not just hear and answer him simply because he prayed. He knew God to be a Just Judge.
“The Lord shall judge the peoples;
Judge me, O Lord, according to my righteousness,
And according to my integrity within me…
For the righteous God tests the hearts and minds…
God is a Just Judge…
Psalm 7:8, 9c, 11a
David showed great consistency in his understanding of how God would always test the hearts and minds of all.
“The Lord is in His holy temple.
The Lord’s throne is in heaven;
His eyes behold,
His eyelids test the sons of men.
The Lord tests the righteous…”
“You have tested my heart;
You have visited me in the night;
You have tried me and found nothing;
I have purposed that my mouth shall not transgress.”
WHAT IF THERE IS WRONG IN THE HEART?
David showed great consciousness that God had every right to chasten him if he had wrong in his heart.
“O Lord my God, if I have done this:
If there is iniquity in my hands,
If I have repaid evil to him who is at peace with me,
Or have plundered my enemy without cause,
Let the enemy pursue me and overtake me;
Yes, let him trample my life to the earth,
And lay my honour in the dust.”
Prayer is a privilege that cannot be abused! David knew his God only too well. He knew that if he harboured wrong thoughts the Lord would find him out! Thus he sought to lay bare his heart, mind and life before the Lord.
REFLECTION ON THE CONDITION OF OUR OWN HEARTS
Jesus applied this approach of prayer with reference to the matter of forgiveness. He knew the hearts of men far better than most would admit. He knew that many harboured thoughts and feelings of resentment against others. On the one hand, they knew that they must confess their sins and seek God’s forgiveness. On the other hand, there wasn’t the preparedness to forgive others! This understanding had to be corrected!
Let us ponder the following text so that we may understand why we must reflect on the state of our hearts. Let us know how God will respond to us.
“With the merciful You will show Yourself merciful;
With a blameless man You will show Yourself blameless;
With the pure You will show Yourself pure;
And with the devious You will show Yourself shrewd.”