2 Kings 2:1,6-14
This is what happened when the Lord took Elijah up to heaven in the whirlwind: Elijah and Elisha set out from Gilgal, Elijah said, ‘Elisha, please stay here, the Lord is only sending me to the Jordan.’ But he replied, ‘As the Lord lives and as you yourself live, I will not leave you!’ And they went on together.
Fifty of the brotherhood of prophets followed them, halting some distance away as the two of them stood beside the Jordan. Elijah took his cloak, rolled it up and struck the water; and the water divided to left and right, and the two of them crossed over dry-shod. When they had crossed, Elijah said to Elisha, ‘Make your request. What can I do for you before I am taken from you?’ Elisha answered, ‘Let me inherit a double share of your spirit.’ ‘Your request is a difficult one’ Elijah said. ‘If you see me while I am being taken from you, it shall be as you ask; if not, it will not be so.’ Now as they walked on, talking as they went, a chariot of fire appeared and horses of fire, coming between the two of them; and Elijah went up to heaven in the whirlwind. Elisha saw it, and shouted, ‘My father! My father! Chariot of Israel and its chargers!’ Then he lost sight of him, and taking hold of his clothes he tore them in half. He picked up the cloak of Elijah which had fallen, and went back and stood on the bank of the Jordan.
He took the cloak of Elijah and struck the water. ‘Where is the Lord, the God of Elijah?’ he cried. He struck the water, and it divided to right and left, and Elisha crossed over.
Jesus said to his disciples: ‘Be careful not to parade your good deeds before men to attract their notice; by doing this you will lose all reward from your Father in heaven. So when you give alms, do not have it trumpeted before you; this is what the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets to win men’s admiration. I tell you solemnly, they have had their reward. But when you give alms, your left hand must not know what your right is doing; your almsgiving must be secret, and your Father who sees all that is done in secret will reward you.
‘And when you pray, do not imitate the hypocrites: they love to say their prayers standing up in the synagogues and at the street corners for people to see them; I tell you solemnly, they have had their reward. But when you pray, go to your private room and, when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who is in that secret place, and your Father who sees all that is done in secret will reward you.
‘When you fast do not put on a gloomy look as the hypocrites do: they pull long faces to let men know they are fasting. I tell you solemnly, they have had their reward. But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, so that no one will know you are fasting except your Father who sees all that is done in secret; and your Father who sees all that is done in secret will reward you.’
and your Father who sees all that is done in secret will reward you
I was once very frustrated with the lack of mobile coverage in the train tunnel because I was in the midst of a phone call. My line was disconnected and this resulted in me having to call the other party again. Sometimes I wish I could be in a situation where the mobile phone coverage is strong. In our Christian life, we are also called to be close to God through our faith. This connection is strengthened through prayer which represents our communication with God.
Prayer is important for the Christian because it deepens our connection with God. God wants to talk to us but sometimes we may not be able to stay in touch with him. This could be because of our sinfulness preventing us from being in touch with him or else it could be due to other matters in the world which prevent us from becoming closer to him.
The depth of one’s prayer life is manifested through one’s actions. This is the true mark of what a Christian is supposed to demonstrate to the people around him. This means that he is supposed to be there for people when they need to be comforted and also to provide the much needed listening ear to the people around him. But what makes the Christian different from another good-hearted and generous person whom may not subscribe to the Christian faith?
This comes from one’s connection with God. The objective of one’s good deeds and kind words is to allow the other party to see the love of God in that individual’s life. This means that we will need to continually keep the Lord in the centre of our life. Let us make the effort to do so by taking steps to commit to the Lord in prayer. We could see in our daily lives where we can allocate time for prayer so that we will always remain closer to God.
(Today’s Oxygen by Nicholas Chia)
Prayer: Father, let us always approach you in a spirit of prayer and love.
Thanksgiving: We give thanks for the people around us who show us how to pray.