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Matthew 6:1-6, 16-21, Ash Wednesday

Key Verse

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.
— Matthew 6:6

RCL Daily Devotion for Wednesday, March 6, 2019

RCL Daily Devotions written by Dr. Kimberly Leetch from RCL Worship Resources (see more).

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Main Idea: We are worthy simply because we exist.

It was common for people in Jesus’ day to express their religious rites and rituals with grand, public gestures. It helped others to know, for example, if someone was in mourning, engaging in purification, or fasting. Others would know how to treat them—either by leaving them alone, or by praising their efforts to appease the Lord. Think of it as similar to a social media post today.

Jesus was having none of it. He didn’t want people to go through the motions of appeasing God. He wanted people to have genuine, authentic relationships with God—the kind that are too intimate to display in public. The kind that change a person from the inside out. The kind that change the way people show up in the world.

For Jesus, people who prayed for praise obtained their reward in the praise the received. But what Jesus desired for people and their relationship with God was worth much more than praise. The prayer Jesus offered simplified how people could pray. It boiled prayer down to the things we need for ourselves, for God, and for others. Praise from others was not on the list.

Ultimately, praise is not a reward that satisfies for long. It requires continual reaffirmation. It demands others recognize us for us to be worthy. Jesus’ prayer recognizes that we are worthy simply because we are. It highlights that all human beings share the same needs (food, clothing, shelter, relationships, and physical, spiritual, and mental health). At the core, none is greater than another.

Jesus’ prayer invites us to find worth, not in the praise of others, but in the love of God. We are worthy simply because we exist. We are loved because we were born from love. We are praised by creation itself because we breathe, eat, sleep, love. Our greatest treasure is not out there. It’s inside us. It’s God.


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Matthew 6:1-6, 16-21

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