““And when you pray, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do, for they think that they will be heard for their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.” (Matthew 6:7–8, ESV) Pray first. Someone has said “you can do more than pray after you have prayed but you can never do more than pray until after you have prayed.” Pray before you start calling or texting or tweeting or going. Pray first, it is the most important thing a born-again believer can do. It is important because God said, ‘when you pray’. It is important in the picture of where our trust and hope is; if we begin our response to challenges by telling our neighbor or our Facebook friend or anyone else what’s going on – we have our priorities seriously out of order. “Seek first the kingdom of God…” (Matthew 6:33). Praying first and always is important because it reflects our sure hope in the Lord and that our ultimate trust is in God, not in ourselves, other people, or any other worldly resources. Our first move is to look to God. “I lift up my eyes to the hills whence cometh my help, my help comes from the Lord…” (Psalm 121). Knowing God and knowing that he is our help, he is the Giver of all good things, that he is able, and we are not – that is the approach of maturing Christians to life’s challenges. Amen.

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