Jesus And Prayer

TEXT: Matthew 6:5-15

5 “And when you pray, you shall not be like the hypocrites. For they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the corners of the streets, that they may be seen by men. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward. 6 But you, when you pray, go into your room, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly. 7 And when you pray, do not use vain repetitions as the heathen do. For they think that they will be heard for their many words.
8 “Therefore do not be like them. For your Father knows the things you have need of before you ask Him. 9 In this manner, therefore, pray:
Our Father in heaven, Hallowed be Your name. 10 Your kingdom come. Your will be done On earth as it is in heaven. 11 Give us this day our daily bread. 12 And forgive us our debts, As we forgive our debtors. 13 And do not lead us into temptation, But deliver us from the evil one. For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.
14 “For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15 But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.
 
 

You can tell from reading the text that Jesus not only assumed that we would pray [when you pray] but He taught us how to pray and how not to pray. First of all, lets talk about how not to pray…

  1. First of all, we are not to pray like the “Hypocrites.” They loved to pray in public, even on the street corners. I had a preacher friend in college who would not say a blessing at a restaurant because he interpreted this scripture to mean that we are never to pray in a public place. I am certain that this is not what Jesus is referring to because He Himself prayed in public many times and that includes the model prayer in this text. I thank God for public prayer. I am exhorted by the prayers of others. What Jesus is forbidding is praying in public with the wrong motive. If you pray to impress men, you are praying like the hypocrites.
  2. Secondly, we are not to pray like heathens. Remember the story about Elijah and the prophets of baal. Remember how they hollowed and screamed and said the same thing over and over and over. Jesus called this vain repetition. It is not the volume or the cadence that counts…it is the heart.

Now lets look at Jesus instruction on how to pray…

  1. Pray in private…go away by yourself and shut the door behind you. Again, this is not a slam on public prayer but we need to pray more in private than we do in public. Every believer needs a PLACE of prayer and a TIME of prayer.
  2. Begin your prayer with praise. The AV and NASB use the word “Hallowed” and I like to use that word when I pray but I must admit that I have never fully understood what “Hallowed be Thy name” actually meant. To hallow is to make or set a part as holy. It means to respect, honor and revere. Simply stated, we begin our prayers by honoring, respecting and giving reverence our Heavenly Father. We can do this by acknowledging His attributes or praising Him for His attributes. For example, God is: Eternal, Holy, immutable [unchanging], Infinite, Omnipotent, Omnipresent, Omniscience, Self-existent, self-sufficient, Good, Loving, Gracious, Merciful, Kind and Sovereign. This is not an exhaustive list but it will give you an idea.
  3. Pray in God’s will–May Your Kingdom Come, Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. God gave you a will and He expects you to exercise your will but the first giant step in your sanctification is for you to desire what He desires. The only explanation I have for this transformation in my life and prayers is God’s grace. I spent most of my life [unfortunately] trying to build my kingdom. It has only been in the last few years that I have been able to pray this part of the LORD’s prayer honestly. I want what He want and I pray for His will to be done.
  4. Give us today our daily bread. This is probably the one part of the model prayer that I pray the most. Maybe it’s because it is so natural…”Give us” or “Give me”. Sometimes I get convicted about too much “Give me” in my prayers. I don’t think necessarily of bread [light bread, homemade rolls] but I think in terms of what I am going to need for the day. Since I do not know in the morning what I am going to need through the day, I simply pray, “Father give me today, the grace I need for today.” When you interpret this through the context of the entire sermon, I believe Jesus is teaching to live one day at a time.
  5. Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who have sinned against us. Christ secured our forgiveness by making an offering of Himself once and for all. This is a historical event. Our forgiveness has been secured. Many denomination have interpreted this to mean that we must ask for forgiveness daily or we lose our salvation. It shocks some of my pentecostal brothers when I tell them this but it is true…you cannot confess all your sins because you do not know all your sins. Don’t make penitence a work, something you have to do daily to be saved. Jesus is teaching us to have an attitude of constant repentance. Unfortunately, we think the person who never repents is the better person but a devoted follower of Christ repents daily and sometimes many times a day. Holy people have a greater sensitivity to sin and therefore they repent often. The Pharisees were considered holy by the general public and they never repented of anything. The outward part of their life was polished like a tomb rock. In their minds, they made no mistakes to repent of but Jesus called them hypocrites. HYPOCRITES never repent: they do not see a need to repent.
  6. Not only do we continue daily to draw from the forgiveness we have in Christ, we must share that forgiveness with others. Forgiveness is not always easy: many times I have to pray, LORD help me to forgive. I know that it is not an option [v.14-15] but at times I struggle and I ask for His help.
  7. Last but not least…Lead us not into temptation but deliver us from the evil one. I know you heard about the man who prayed, “Lord, you don’t need to bother about leading me into temptation, I can find it on my own.” We aren’t asking Him to lead into Temptation but to lead us not into temptation. Don’t leave out the ‘not’. The devil is out to destroy us and would if it were not for the grace and intervention of God. Make no mistake about it, no mere human is a match for Satan.

CONCLUSION:

  1. Both Sin and Satan are subtle: they will deceive YOU! [why we must pray]
  2. PRIDE blinds: it is the only disease where everyone knows you have it except yourself.
  3. SELF-WILL destroys your spiritual sensitivity. If you pursue your agenda, your self-will long enough, you will lose your ability to know God’s will and your desire to do His will. The most feared of all judgement is for God to say to a man, “Have Thine own way.”
  4. As John Calvin said, “Your only safe haven is in the will of God.”
  5. Two questions in closing: [1] Do you have the ability or desire to repent and [2] Do you desire the will of God more than your own will.
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