Did Jesus tell us to recite a prayer in Matthew Chapter 6?

Floyd Rogers

Have you ever been to a church service where the congregation recited what we often call The Lord’s Prayer? I think it’s fine to memorize it as scripture. If the purpose of congregational recital is to learn the Word, there’s nothing wrong with reciting it in church. But I don’t think Jesus was telling us to repeat it verbatim as our prayer.  To understand why, let’s look at what Matthew Chapter 6 says immediately before the words, “Our Father in Heaven.”

Matthew records Jesus saying, “This, then, is how you should pray.”  Notice he said “how” you should pray, not “what” you should say.  I believe this is the important part. Isn’t Jesus giving us an example, a model prayer, in the following verses?

It seems clear to me Jesus is telling us to talk to the Father; to do so humbly; to ask for forgiveness; and to ask that we are able to avoid temptation rather than to recite scripture during prayer.  Consider, he just got through saying not to be like pagans who feel they will be heard because of many words.

What are your thoughts on The Lord’s Prayer?

Fellowship of Christian Athletes Distributing ‘Bags of Bibles’ Worldwide

2018-04-16 Fellowship of Christian Athletes

 

Fellowship of Christian Athletes Distributing ‘Bags of Bibles’ Worldwide

FCA Handed Out 169,815 Bibles Last Year Alone and 2.5 Million Bibles Over the Past 15 Years,As Global Hunger for God’s Word Grows

KANSAS CITY, Mo.—Many in the United States may take for granted the Bibles they have in their homes. In fact, surveys show that the average American home has three Bibles.

But this is not the case for many around the world, for whom having a Bible in their own language is a precious gift. For the past several years, the Fellowship of Christian Athletes has focused on distributing Bibles, and in fact, handed out 169,815 Bibles last year alone and 2.5 million in the past 15 years.

FCA now ministers in 73 countries around the world, and has a strong passion to print and distribute God’s Word, says Dan Britton, Executive Director of FCA International, and more importantly, to see coaches and athletes transformed in God’s Word.

Britton recounted that he handed out his first “bag of Bibles” at the age of 8, when his grandfather took him to the Baltimore airport to give away God’s Word. The question was not, “Do you want a Bible?” but rather, “I have a gift for you. I would like for you to have a Bible.” Not a question, but instead an invitation to receive God’s Word—a powerful lesson learned from a wise old sage, Britton remembered. Britton’s father was also never without a box of Bibles in his car so he could strategically bless someone with a gift.

“Now as a third-generation Bible distributor, I have the same passion to see God’s Word getting into the hands of coaches and athletes,” Britton said. “I have taken hundreds of bags of Bibles around the world, so our international leaders can bless coaches and athletes in their countries with a gift! One of the things I love most about FCA is we have the same passion for God’s Word. Often, I share with people that FCA is a sports ministry. They understand that. But when I share we are a Bible ministry as well, they are surprised. Besides distributing Bibles, FCA also works to create scripture resources, reading plans and devotions to help coaches and athletes to engage with the Bible.”

FCA’s Bible ministry is growing internationally, as the global hunger for God’s Word is great. Last year, FCA partnered with a Bible society to develop and distribute 50,000 Thai Sports New Testaments and 10,000 Vietnamese Sports New Testaments. Work is also underway to develop, publish and print the 2018 STRONG Sports Bible Handbook, which will be translated into eight languages for use at FCA Camps this summer, including Korean, Mandarin, Spanish, Portuguese, French, Ukrainian, Russian and Urdu.

“We are thankful that bags of Bibles are blessing coaches and athletes around the world,” Britton said, “and we pray God’s Word will always produce fruit. The Fellowship of Christian Athletes desires to lead every coach and every athlete into a growing relationship with Jesus Christ and His church. That’s our mission! And the best way to do this is to engage coaches and athletes with the Word, equip them with the Word and empower them with the Word.”

VIDEO: Stephen Colbert says a scripture shared by a person handing out Bibles transformed his life

Late-night talk show host Stephen Colbert said in a recent television interview that a scripture completely changed his life while he was having what he referred to as a serious crisis of faith.

Colbert said Matthew 6:27 was shared with him by a person handing out Gideon Bibles in Chicago.

China pulls Bibles from online bookstores

2018-04-04 No Bible Sales

China this week announced it is restricting the sale of Bibles from online bookstores as part of a policy it says will protect religious freedom.

A report published by the Australian Broadcasting Company says a paper released by the government, titled China’s Policies and Practices on Protecting Freedom of Religious Belief, says Chinese religious communities, “should adhere to the direction of localizing the religion, practice the core values of socialism, develop and expand the fine Chinese tradition and actively explore the religious thought which accords with China’s national circumstances.”

Bibles began disappearing from online bookstores as the statement was released.

William Nee, a China researcher at Amnesty International re-tweeted a government notice saying as of March 30, Bibles are banned from sale on Taoboa, Dangdang, the Chinese version of Amazon and others.

UCA News, a catholic publication, reports that the Chinese government white paper on religion is the first issued in over 21 years.  It says the ban of on-line sales has been in place, but is now being enforced.  Bibles can only be sold in churches licensed to sell them.

Daily thought: Do all Christians cherry-pick the Bible?

Cherries

Have you ever had an atheist complain that Christians cherry pick the Bible and only follow the parts with which they agree?  I read the work of an on-line atheist this week.  He wrote that nearly everyone, from every denomination of Christianity, cherry picks the Bible.  Is this the case?  Do most Christians edit the Bible to meet their desires?

Well, over the decades I’ve visited a very large sample of churches, including Pentecostal, Baptist, Catholic, and others – a very nice sampling of congregations – and I have yet to meet a serious Christian who picks and chooses what parts of scripture he or she accepts.  I’m not saying there are none who do this. I am saying it is unfair to say most Christians do this; and it is based on a very self-inflated opinion of one’s own ability to understand the Bible.

It’s been my experience that the cherry-picking compliant comes from those who believe no one could read the Bible and walk away with a different understanding than they have reached.  To be clear, I am not saying the Bible means whatever you want it to mean.  I am saying the opposite.  The Bible has one meaning, and it is possible to misunderstand it.  An atheist who complains of Christian cherry picking is often doing exactly what they claim Christians are doing; they are editing the Bible to meet their desires.

The next time a non-believer makes this claim, look at it as a door they’ve opened to discuss scripture.  Have them show you the scripture and explain their belief.  If they are honest and not simply looking for an argument, you may end up with a chance to share your faith. If it becomes apparent they are not interested in truth, and only want to “win” an argument, do as Matthew 10:14 says and shake the dust off your feet.

What do you think?