I Prayed have prayed

Ask the Lord to reveal to you ways that you may be motivated by selfish aims. Search your own heart in faith.

Is it not to share your bread with the hungry, and that you bring to your house the poor who are cast out; when you see the naked, that you cover him, and not hide yourself from your own flesh? (Isaiah 58:7)

A Christian mom wanted to give her two young sons a lesson in unselfishness. She had two pieces of cake, one larger than the other, so she said, “Remember, boys, Jesus would always give away the larger piece of cake.” “Okay, Bobby,” said the older brother to his sibling, “You can be Jesus!”

We may smile at the story, but isn’t that the way we often act? Isaiah 58:7 pinpoints four areas God looks for in the fasting He will bless. But He is not seeing a certain virtue among His people. What’s missing? The call running through the chapter is to unselfishness. Stated another way, God says, “You are self-centered, not aware of those needing help.” Consistent with other biblical snapshots of God’s heart, He is saying, “Open your eyes; reach out to those who have little or nothing. Share food and clothing with the poor and needy; invite friends for a meal who cannot pay you back. And don’t turn from your family.” Paraphrased another way: “Yes, you are fasting and praying, but too focused on your own stuff; trying to impress me, as though I do not see your heart.”

Are we in tune with God’s heart? He who is kind to the poor lends to the LORD, and He will reward him (Prov. 19:17). The New Testament projects the same attitudes. Paul wrote to the Philippians: Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others (2:4). And James writes, Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it? (James 2:15-16). God looks at the heart, not only our actions, but our motivations. The emphasis is on God’s love for the poor. By application, we serve Father God by serving others. If you have been careless here, God is pleased to forgive. Why not search out a charity in your area, a food bank, clothing giveaway—some way to give back?

In your time seeking God today:

  • Offer God your heart in worship and repentance. Ask Him to reveal areas in which you might have fallen short in sharing. Are you as unselfish as you could be? Ask for faith to become more generous with your time and finances. God blesses a giving heart.
  • Search your own heart in faith. God will not condemn, but always lead you upward to greater victory. Ask for renewed hunger and thirst for righteousness; you will be filled. Write down in your prayer journal what God reveals to you about giving.
  • Look for tangible ways to share your life. Try to reach out in faith. Do you have a skill that can be volunteered? Perhaps pack boxes or deliver groceries at a local food bank? What opportunities does your church offer? Is there a worthy charity nearby? A way to bless an orphanage or serve special needs children?

Related Scripture:

  • Deuteronomy 15:11; Psalm 82:3-4; Proverbs 14:31; Proverbs 21:13; Proverbs 29:7
  • Matthew 25:37-40; Luke 14:12-14; Luke 6:38; 1 Corinthians 13:3
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Mary Gillard
January 17, 2018

I somehow touched the wrong command on my cell phone and was ‘taken off the group prayers on Friday ‘. How can I be added back in?

    Judy McDonough
    January 17, 2018

    Mary, please call in for the next prayer call and you will be automatically signed up for the reminders. We are having a special call this Friday, January 19, 2018, live from D.C., during the March for Life, at 1215 ET. Dial 712-432-0075, access code 1412452#.

    Please call our office, 1-800-USA-PRAY, if you have any further questions.

    Judy McDonough
    Communications Director

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