The Grocery List

“Lord, teach us to pray.” – Luke 11:1 (NIV)

I grew up at a time when small, family-owned grocery stores perched on just about every corner in every neighborhood. My mother would call in her list, and they’d gather the items, pack them up in boxes, and deliver them by the end of the day. The stores extended credit, so when Dad got paid, they got paid.

I’m reminiscing those old grocery store days because I’ve been pondering prayer and our perspective of it. 

Too often we approach prayer like writing up a grocery list and phoning it in to God, expecting Him to box up what we need and deliver it pronto. 

It doesn’t work that way.

Like the disciples, we need to ask the Lord to teach us to pray. 

So let’s look at Jesus’ response. “The Lord’s Prayer” is simple, but it contains all we need on our grocery list to the Heavenly storehouse.

First on the list is HONOR. “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name.” Sometimes we’re so focused on the family relationship that we forget our Father’s holiness. We’re so busy crawling into Daddy’s lap that we neglect to bow down in worship to El Shaddai. Honor Him as your heavenly Father and honor Him as your God. 

Second on the list is SUBMISSION. “Your kingdom come, Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” Submit to His will for you and surrender what you think you want. Father does know best. Too often we want what we want and nothing else, and get mad at God when we don’t get it.  “This wasn’t on my list,” we complain. “This isn’t the brand I ordered.” Submit to His best for you. 

Third on the list is TRUST. “Give us this day our daily bread.” This isn’t a request only for food to sustain us physically. We also need bread for our minds, hearts, and spirits. And notice the words “this day.” Too often our lists contain more than what we need for one day. We feel better when we see caches stashed away for tomorrow (and tomorrow and tomorrow)—it’s much easier than trusting God, whom we can’t see, for today’s needs. 

Fourth on the list is FORGIVENESS. “Forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors.” I prefer the word “trespasses” rather than “debts,” but both convey the same meaning: If you want to be forgiven, you’ve got to forgive others who have hurt you. And we all need to forgive and be forgiven.

The final item on the list is DELIVERANCE. “And lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil.” God, being holy, will never lead us to do wrong. That’s our choice. I like the way the NIV Study Bible explains this verse: “Do not lead us into trials so deep that they would tempt us to be unfaithful to you. God does not tempt (in the sense of enticing us to sin).” Rather, we ask God to deliver us from the evil that surrounds us, so it won’t it affect us, inside or out. 

Honor. Submission. Trust. Forgiveness. Deliverance.

And, remember, you have all the credit you need—just write the check in the name of Jesus, who already paid. 

What’s on your grocery list?

Father, remind me to keep my prayers simple.  Amen.

Read and reflect on Matthew 6:5–13.

 From God, Me, & a Cup of Tea: 101 devotional readings to savor during your time with God © 2017 Michele Huey. All rights reserved.

Selah!

Read and reflect on Psalm 46.

Selah!  – Psalm 46: 3, 7, 11 NIV

If I were to choose a Scripture for the New Year—as a theme verse to reflect on throughout the year—I’d select a word used 74 times in the Bible, mostly in Psalms (71 times—the other three can be found in Habakkuk) and often overlooked. Perhaps we ignore it because it’s only one little word of five letters standing all by itself at the end of a verse. Perhaps we pay little attention to it because no one knows with certainty its meaning, not even biblical scholars. So we skip right over it and keep on reading.

But the word selah (pronounced SEE-lah) is not to be ignored, even if we don’t know what it means.

Strong’s Concordance defines selah as “to lift up, to exalt.” 

So the first word I want to focus on is praise.

Sometimes the phrase “Praise God!” slips through our lips almost meaninglessly and is soon forgotten. How often do we truly praise God—from the heart, not just the mouth?

On a drive to my doctor’s appointment one time, I spent nearly the entire 45 minutes praising God—aloud. It all started when I thanked Him for dry roads and good weather. One praise flowed after another. Once the pump was primed, the water of praise just gushed out. 

Too often I focus on my problems, not on praise. Can it really be that much easier to list a litany of laments than all the ways God has lavished us with His love?

Another definition for selah is “the writer’s instruction to the reader to pause and exalt the Lord,” or “pause and calmly think of that!” 

The focus here is on the word pause.

How often do we intentionally pause and think about the blessings God has poured into our lives? Or to take time to know Him better? I’m ashamed to admit it, but I don’t give God the time He is due. Too often my prayer and Bible reading time is like rushing through the drive-through, gobbling junk to appease my hunger, rather than take the time to savor the banquet and sip from the overflowing cup of blessings my Lord places before me (Psalm 23:5). 

Try it. Put your day on pause and sit down and focus on your blessings. Little things. Big things. Speak them aloud—there’s power in the spoken word—or write them down. It won’t be long before the clouds of hopelessness and despair part, and you feel the warmth of His sunshine in your soul.

Pause and praise—and one more thing—Presence.

Just as the meaning of selah is uncertain, so are the days that will comprise 2022. 

But of one thing I am certain: That His Presence will go with me (Exodus 33:14). For He has promised, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you” (Hebrews 13:5; Deuteronomy 31:6).

What is your focus verse for 2022?

Thank You, Lord, for being with me every moment of every day. Remind me to pause and praise You often throughout the New Year. Amen.

TO MY READERS: Happy New Year! May the Lord bless you and keep you. May the Lord make His face shine upon you and be gracious to you. May the Lord lift up His countenance on you and give you peace throughout the New Year. (Numbers 6:24–26)

From God, Me, and a Cup of Tea for the Seasons, © 2018 Michele Huey. All rights reserved. Used with permission.