A young man was in prison. While he was incarcerated he reached out to his mother and asked her for some money. “Mom, life in here is very difficult. I could really use $500 to help me get the things I need to survive this ordeal.” His mom responded by saying, “Son, read your Bible and pray.”
The young man was excited the next week when he received a package from his mom but he was very disappointed by the contents…a Bible with a note attached: “Son, read your Bible and pray.” The son was furious! A Bible was the last thing this man needed. He asked for money and mom sent a Bible? What was she thinking?
A few weeks later his mom visited him in prison. “Mom, I can’t believe you would send me a Bible when I asked you for money! I can’t use a Bible to get the things I need Mom! Only money can help with that.” His mom said, “Son, read your Bible and pray.”
The time came for the young man to be released from prison. His mom picked him up outside the gates. The young man got into the car and it wasn’t long before he started in on his rant. “Mom, you know I love you, but this is the problem I have with you Christians. You are so heavenly minded that you are no earthly good. I needed money in prison and you gave me a Bible…seriously?”
His mom said, “Son, did you read your Bible and pray?”
“Of course I did mom!”, said the son. “I had nothing but time in prison, what else was I going to do?”
“Do you have the Bible with you son? May I see it?”, asked the mom.
The son pilfered through his belongings and pulled out the Bible-nice shiny edges, no sign of wear whatsoever.
“Open it up and flip through the pages for me”, requested the mom.
As the son did so he discovered five crisp one-hundred-dollar bills strategically placed throughout the Bible.
“Now I know you didn’t read your Bible and pray”, said the mom. “Because if you had, you would have found what you want and what you need.”
It is easy to be preoccupied with our physical needs isn’t it? Sometimes that preoccupation can get in the way of our real need which is a deep and abiding relationship with Christ.
It is really easy at a time like 2020 to be consumed with our physical needs. They are real and they are urgent! We need physical healing and protection. We need job security. We might need a job, period! We need social unity. We need peace. We need rest. We need freedom to get back to living life and interacting with other people on our terms.
No one experienced real and urgent needs in life more than King David. He needed wisdom to lead a nation. He needed protection from people who wanted to kill him. He needed patience to deal with a rebellious son. He needed courage to make decisions even when failure could bring disastrous results.
David knew what he wanted in life. He wanted wisdom to lead. He wanted protection from his enemies. He wanted his nation to prosper. But King David also knew what he needed. He needed a deep and abiding relationship with his God. And he knew that the only way to know God was through His Word.
David knew how to pray because David knew how to prioritize his life. He put his relationship with God ahead of his “wish-list” for life. Listen to David’s words in Psalm 119 verses 36-37:
Turn my heart toward your statutes and not toward selfish gain. Turn my eyes away from worthless things; preserve my life according to your word. | Psalm 119:36-37
David didn’t bring God his list of needs and then read His Word (or neglect the Bible altogether). David read God’s Word before he prayed. That way, when he came to God in prayer he already knew what to ask for.
David was secure in the fact that God knew that he needed $500. He made it his priority to maintain his relationship with God by obeying His word. By making God’s Word his priority David avoided prayers that were inclined toward “selfish gain” or “worthless things”.
As you pray today, pray in the spirit of King David, “Lord, turn my heart toward your statutes and not toward selfish gain” AMEN?
✍️ Credit :: Jerry Jones
Pastor of Care Ministries
📸 Credit :: Matt Rhodes
🎨 Credit :: Matt Rhodes
Creative Associate Director