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.

A Psalm 1 Man

Image courtesy of Simon Howden
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The integrity of the upright will guide them. – Proverbs 11:3 (NKJV)

      My father inspected buildings being constructed for the state, making sure the contractors followed the blueprints. Having worked construction himself when he was younger, he knew too well how corners could be cut and a building’s integrity undermined. He refused many a contractor’s overtures, often gifts of liquor stashed in the back seat of his car. His colleagues soon recognized he could not be bought. He would not allow his personal integrity to be undermined.
      The word integrity comes from two Latin words that together mean “untouched, whole, entire.” These two Latin roots also give us integrate, which means “to weave or blend separate entities into a working whole or unit.”
      Personal integrity cannot be put on and off like a garment. Rather it is woven into the moral fabric of our lives over time. We weave it in each time we keep a promise or tell the truth no matter what it costs us, whether it’s claiming all our income on our tax return, returning extra change we received by mistake, or paying the difference when we’re undercharged. We weave it in each time we admit our mistakes and take responsibility for our words and actions.
      My father was a man of integrity – or, as I like to phrase it, a “Psalm 1” man.
      What characterizes a Psalm 1 man, a man of integrity?
      Two things: what he doesn’t do and what he does.
       He doesn’t walk in the counsel of the ungodly, stand around with sinners, or sit in the seat of mockers (v. 1). Notice the verbs show a progression: walking, standing, sitting.     
     Walking in Scripture implies a way of life. The Psalm 1 man walks, all right, but he takes the narrow road, often alone (Matthew 7:13-14). He walks by faith, not by sight (2 Corinthians 5:7), and he walks in the light (John 8:12). As a result, the man of integrity walks securely (Proverbs 10:9).
      The Psalm 1 man doesn’t “stand in the way of sinners.” He doesn’t hang out with those for whom wickedness is a way of life. He knows that “bad company corrupts good character” (1 Corinthians 15:33). The man of integrity keeps moving, knowing if he walks with the wise he’ll become wise, and if he associates with fools, he’ll get in trouble (Proverbs 13:20 NLT).
      And the Psalm 1 man doesn’t “sit in the seat of mockers.” Sitting implies settling in and getting comfortable with those who mock God, ridicule Him, and defiantly reject Him. The man of integrity doesn’t join in with those who scorn God and His way. Indeed, he stands up for that which is good and true, right and just, noble and holy.
      The Psalm 1 man knows God’s Word so well it’s a part of him, nourishing him and guiding him, causing him to thrive (verses 2-3).
      All it takes is one man of integrity to influence the world around him. Be that Psalm 1 man.

 May our nation and world be filled with Psalm 1 men. Amen.