Christianity 201

September 21, 2019

Reading Other Peoples’ Prayers | Times in the Desert

Filed under: Christianity - Devotions — paulthinkingoutloud @ 5:31 pm
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NLT.Matt.4:1 Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted there by the devil. For forty days and forty nights he fasted and became very hungry.

During that time the devil[a] came and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become loaves of bread.”

But Jesus told him, “No! The Scriptures say,

‘People do not live by bread alone,
    but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’[b]

Then the devil took him to the holy city, Jerusalem, to the highest point of the Temple, and said, “If you are the Son of God, jump off! For the Scriptures say,

‘He will order his angels to protect you.
And they will hold you up with their hands
    so you won’t even hurt your foot on a stone.’[c]

Jesus responded, “The Scriptures also say, ‘You must not test the Lord your God.’[d]

Next the devil took him to the peak of a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. “I will give it all to you,” he said, “if you will kneel down and worship me.”

10 “Get out of here, Satan,” Jesus told him. “For the Scriptures say,

‘You must worship the Lord your God
    and serve only him.’[e]

11 Then the devil went away, and angels came and took care of Jesus.

Today and tomorrow I want to encourage you if you’re going through a desert experience, but I also want all of us to see the benefit in listening in (via reading, in this case) to the prayers of others. What follows is a smaller excerpt from one of the longer meditations appearing in Intense Moments with the Savior: Learning to Feel, a 1994 book by Ken Gire. Each of the readings begins with a scripture, and then there is meditation that is longer than we would include here. The last section is a prayer — again longer than those published by others who follow this format — and these are our focus in these devotionals.

An Intense Moment in the Desert

Prayer:

Dear Lord,

Help me to trust you at all times, but especially in the desert experiences of my life. When I am tempted to live by sight rather than by faith. When I am tempted to depend on myself rather than you. When I am tempted to question your love. And when I am tempted to defect.

Give me the faith, I pray that Habakkuk had in his desert experience:

Even though the fig trees have no blossoms,
    and there are no grapes on the vines;
even though the olive crop fails,
    and the fields lie empty and barren;
even though the flocks die in the fields,
    and the cattle barns are empty,
18 yet I will rejoice in the Lord!
    I will be joyful in the God of my salvation!
19 The Sovereign Lord is my strength!
    He makes me as surefooted as a deer,
    able to tread upon the heights.

Help me to see that the Father’s word is not only more nourishing than food, but more necessary. And that he decrees bread or stones according to which one at the moment provides the best nourishment for my soul.

Help me never to doubt your love for me, Lord. And keep me from the temptation of every putting that love to the test. Keep me from being enticed by whatever trinkets Satan dangles before me. And guard me from the temptation of wanting anything more than I want you.

Give me the thirst to study God’s word as you studied it. But help me realize that it was not knowledge of his word that delivered you — even Satan had that — but it was your obedience to his word that brought you safely through temptation.

Lead me not into temptation, Lord, but deliver me from the Evil One. You know how weak I am and how vulnerable to his deceptions. But should you ever lead me into some desert to be tempted by him, help me to realize that greater is he that is in me than he that is in the world. And that if I resist Satan he will flee.

Thank you that you have been tempted in every way that I am tempted, and are sympathetic to my struggles. Thank you that I can come boldly to your throne of grace and there find not only mercy but understanding…

 


  1. 4:3 Greek the tempter.
  2. 4:4 Deut 8:3.
  3. 4:6 Ps 91:11-12.
  4. 4:7 Deut 6:16.
  5. 4:10 Deut 6:13.

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