Praying like Abraham Lincoln
May we gain a deeper connection with God today as we call on him in humility.
In today’s devotional we’re going to look at what it means to call on God with humility. Each day contains an invitation to lean on his wisdom and love, but we can only experience it when we accept his invitation. May we gain a deeper connection with God today as we call on him in humility.
My father-in-law was amazing. He built his own house, doing much of the work himself. He could repair anything on a car or a truck. He was a hunter and a fisherman. After taking early retirement from his business career, he led a volunteer fire station, designed an in-home ministry for senior adults in his community, and ran a full-time farm with my mother-in-law.
I, on the other hand, can do none of the things I just described (except catch fish on occasion). The good news is, I know people like my father-in-law. And if I am humble enough to admit what I don’t know and ask for help when I need it (which is often), everything works out.
If only I were always this wise with God.
Three months after Abraham Lincoln was assassinated, a writer named Noah Brooks reported that the great president once said, “I have been driven many times upon my knees by the overwhelming conviction that I had nowhere else to go. My own wisdom and that of all about me seemed insufficient for that day.”
And just as God was willing and able to hear the prayers of President Lincoln, he is ready to answer our prayers today. In fact, he assures us, “Call to me and I will answer you, and will tell you great and hidden things that you have not known” (Jeremiah 33:3).
But we must “call” to him. Isaiah 55:6 says that we must “seek the Lord while he may be found” and “call upon him while he is near.” And we must decide that “as for me, I would seek God, and to God would I commit my cause” (Job 5:8).
When we do, he is ready to hear us and to help us. But there’s a catch: we must seek him for his glory, not ours. Our desire should be to know him for the sake of knowing him as our Father and king. When we seek him primarily for what he can do for us, we are not seeking God but only his blessings.
Meister Eckhart was right: “If we seek God for our own good and profit, we are not seeking God.” And, in My Utmost for His Highest, Oswald Chambers warned us: “Spiritual lust causes me to demand an answer from God, instead of seeking God himself who gives the answer.”
Seek God himself today as we enter a time of guided prayer.
today’s devotional is written by Jim Denison
1. Reflect on your Father’s desire to bless his children.
“Fear not, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom” (Luke 12:32).
2. Name your greatest need for divine wisdom or help and trust it to your Lord.
“Whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours” (Mark 11:24).
3. Ask the Spirit to help you seek God for the sake of knowing God.
“The Lord looks down from heaven on the children of man, to see if there are any who understand, who seek after God” (Psalm 14:2).
Again from My Utmost for His Highest, Oswald Chambers observed, “Prayer is the way that the life of God in us is nourished. . . . We look upon prayer simply as a means of getting things for ourselves, but the biblical purpose of prayer is that we may get to know God himself.”
One way to seek to do that is to seek him in community. When we pray in agreement, our prayers are powerful (Matthew 18:19). When we worship together, we join heaven’s community of praise (cf. Revelation 7:9–10). When we seek God with our fellow believers for no reason except to know God, we experience him in ways that transform our faith and empower our witness (cf. Acts 1:8; 2:1–4).
Whom will you seek God with today?
Extended reading: Colossians 3:1–17
Whom will you seek God with today?