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Daily Prayer - 2013-02-13

Presence

God is with me, but more, God is within me.
Let me dwell for a moment on God's life-giving presence
in my body, in my mind, in my heart,
as I am here, right now.

Freedom

Lord God I thank you for the gift of freedom.
Help me to use this gift with integrity.
I am free to make choices.
Help me to choose to follow you,
to live in a Christian way by caring for others.
Remind me to consider always those less fortunate than myself,
the oppressed, the prisoner, those who are not free to worship in public.
Guide me always to seek your holy will in all the events of my life.

Consciousness

I exist in a web of relationships - links to nature, people, God.
I trace out these links, giving thanks for the life that flows through them.
Some links are twisted or broken: I may feel regret, anger, disappointment.
I pray for the gift of acceptance and forgiveness.

The Word of God

Matthew 6:1-6, 16-18

‘Beware of practising your piety before others in order to be seen by them; for then you have no reward from your Father in heaven.

‘So whenever you give alms, do not sound a trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, so that they may be praised by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward. But when you give alms, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your alms may be done in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you.

‘And whenever you pray, do not be like the hypocrites; for they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, so that they may be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward. But whenever you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you.

'And whenever you fast, do not look dismal, like the hypocrites, for they disfigure their faces so as to show others that they are fasting. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward. But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, so that your fasting may be seen not by others but by your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you.

Some thoughts on today's scripture

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  • Later in the Lenten Gospel passages, we shall hear more of Jesus’ warnings against people parading their ‘religious’ status in public. But today for the first day of Lent, this generalised cautioning is used as the common backdrop for the main thrusts of what a programme of genuine spiritual renewal may involve.
  • We have to allow the Lord to come close to us in prayer. Then in the light of the Lord’s presence, our shortcomings will become obvious to us – so that self-mastery (typified by fasting) will be indicated. And – especially if we have now cut back wherever we once indulged ourselves – we will feel called to give alms.
  • No, none of this spiritual effort is to be for public consumption. It will take place in the secret of our hearts: known only to ourselves – and to the Father in heaven who sees all.

Conversation

Lord, I know that when I turn to you there is no need for words.
You can see into my heart.
You know my desires and you know my needs.
I place myself into your hands.

Conclusion

I thank God for these few moments we have spent alone together and for any insights I may have been given concerning the text.

Amen

If you appreciated the daily prayer or have any suggestions or insights we will be glad to hear from you.