Monday, July 29, 2013

Jesus Teaches on Prayer (Matthew 6.5-15)

Scripture: Matthew 6.5-15
Translation: 5And whenever you’re praying, don’t be like the hypocrites, because they love standing to pray in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, so that they can show off to humans! Amen, I say to you, they’re already getting paid their reward. 6But you, whenever you would be praying, go into your inside room and shut your door to pray to your Father, the One Who is in the hidden place, and your Father, the One Who sees in the hidden place will reward you.
7And when you’re praying, don’t babble on and on just like the pagans, because they think that they will be listened to because of their many words. 8So, don’t be like them, because your Father knows what things you have need of before you ask Him! 9So you guys, pray like this:
“Our Father Who is in the heavens,
make Your Name be treated special/holy,
10make Your Kingdom come,
make Your Will happen on earth too just like in Heaven.
11Give us today the food we need for today!
12And forgive us of our debts,
like we too forgive the people in debt to us.
13And don’t bring us into testing/temptation,
rather rescue us from the evil one.”
14Because if you would forgive humans their violations, Your Heavenly Father will forgive you too. 15But if you won’t forgive humans, then Your Father won’t forgive your violations!

The Point I’m Stressing: Jesus teaches us that prayer is not about what other people think about our prayers, it is about talking to God, and it is not about using the right words or the right amount of words to get an answer, it is about talking to God like He is our Father, since He is, and asking for stuff for God and stuff for ourselves, but when we ask for forgiveness, we better have already forgiven people who have wronged us, otherwise God won’t forgive us

1.      Structure
a.       Teaching on Prayer Part One
                                                              i.      DON'T: Pray to Impress People, to get respect from people
                                                            ii.      DO: Pray to Talk to God, to get what we need from Him
b.      Teaching on Prayer Part Two
                                                              i.      DON'T: Pray with lots of empty repetition
                                                            ii.      DO: Pray prayers that are honest and meaningful, devoid of empty repetition
                                                          iii.      Explanation of Why Verse 12b is a Part of the Model Prayer:
1.      Forgive people, or God won’t forgive you
2.      Themes
a.       Prayer (vv.5-15, word for prayer or praying is found in, v.5[2x], 6[2x], 7, 8[αιτεω] 9)
b.      Hypocrisy (vv.5-6)
c.       Reward (v.5 and v.6)
d.      Forgiveness (v.12 and vv.14-15)
e.       Sovereignty of God (vv.9-13)
f.       Needs (v.8, vv.11-13, 14-15)
g.      Comparison (v.5, v.8, v.10)
h.      The Fatherhood of God the Father—God is our Father (vv.6[2x], 8, 9, 14, 15)
i.        Dependence on God (vv.7-15)
3.      Doctrines
a.       Absolute Sovereignty of God
b.      Forgiveness has to be given to be gotten
c.       Prayers are about God
d.      Prayers are also about Needs and Requestions
e.       How we pray affects whether God will reward us/answer our prayers
f.       God is Omniscient
g.      God is Our Father
h.      Dependence on God

1.      Prayer is not completely about us (although we are clearly involved and our lives have an impact on what we pray for, we do pray for ourselves). It is more about God. When Jesus tells us to pray “Make Your Name be treated as holy, make Your Kingdom come, make Your Will happen” those are prayers that we want for God, as much as we want for ourselves. We want God to be given honor and love and respect, we want God to bring His Kingdom to earth, we want God’s Will to be done. But the truth is we are also praying because God deserves those things. We pray for ourselves, but Jesus’ model prayer starts with praying for God
2.      We should pray frequently, “the food we need for today” probably implies that it is appropriate to depend on God every single day for food, to ask that He feeds you is an appropriate prayer. This may seem like a silly prayer to some or even most of you, because God has blessed you with more or less comfortable financial situations. You’re families have enough money and so you’ve never had to pray this, but the day will come in all of your lives at some point when you don’t know how you’re going to get anything to eat. more likely the financial stress won’t be as strong on the starving front, but I think it’s pretty likely that at some point in your life, you won’t know how you are going to pay rent, or get your car fixed, and some of you even get a meal. I’m only 25 and God has already put me in those kinds of situations, so to know that you can go to God for the basics is awesome!
3.      Prayer is not for impressing people, it’s for talking with God, now you may be thinking that you don’t have a problem with wanting to use prayer to impress people, but maybe we do and we don’t know it. So let me ask a question, do you mind praying in public? When we ask for a volunteer to pray, do you always hope that no one will call on you? Let’s say you answered yes, why? Is it because you’re scared of speaking in public? In our case, that is probably not the main issue, because we are smaller group and we know each other well, and all of you have spoken to all of us at some point. But let me ask the question a different way, do you think that the main reason why you don’t want to pray for the group is that you are concerned what people with think of your prayer? What you may not realize is that is the same understanding ofprayer that the hypocrites have, just manifested different. See, the hypocrites are just confident in their ability to make their prayers sound good, whereas you may not be. But both understand prayer as something that should impress people, the problem is when we make our prayers more about what other people will think about us and our prayers, than about talking with God and asking Him for what we need. Our prayers don’t need to impress anyone, they just need to bless everyone. Jesus is not talking about praying in public as an evil thing, Jesus’ problem is with the motivation for the way they pray
4.      We should talk to God like He is our Father, because He is. And He is the Best Father. You may or may not have a father who is easy to talk to or who is good at making you feel loved and valued, but God is a really GOOD Father, He is the easiest to talk to, and He always makes us feel loved and valued. Yes, He is still an authority figure, but not an abusive one, not a harsh one, not a cruel one, and not even a selfish one, this means that the easier person to talk to is God and we don’t have to hold back or worry about whether He will be insulted by what we say, because He knows everything including the motives of our heart and the exact meaning in our words
5.      Don’t think you have to pray long prayers to get answers from God, you don’t. people who don’t really trust God think that is how it works. they think “if I just pray really well, or ask a billion times, God will answer my prayer.” Don’t think there are a special sequence of words or phrase or way of talking to God that will make Him answer—churchy words don’t mean God will answer your prayers. That’s not how prayer works.
6.      Be selfish in your prayers, ask for what you need God to give you and trust in Him to give it. You don’t have to try and make your prayer sound like it is some grand thing that is so awesome that God has to answer it, because that assumes you have to impress God to get answers from God, but you don’t. You can tell God why answering your prayer would bless people, and sometimes that is a good way to pray. But really how complicated do you need to make a prayer for food or gas money? Do you need to pray, “God, please give me some food, because food will give me strength to tell people about Jesus, and then people will trust in Jesus, and then our family will get bigger?” when really all you’re really thinking is, Man, God, I’m hungry. Can I have some food?” It’s not wrong to want basic things for grand reasons, and to pray for big picture reasons, those are good things to do sometimes, but you don’t always have to pray like that. Sometimes a “I need money to go on this retreat” is enough. God isn’t stupid you don’t have to spell it all out for Him. It’s not like He going to be like “why do you want to eat food?” He knows you’re hungry.
7.      Forgive people, everyone, whether they deserve it or not, because God won’t forgive you, if you won’t forgive others. Maybe you’re thinking, “why do I have to forgive them, they don’t deserve it!” That’s a good question, let’s ask it again, “Why should God forgive us when we don’t deserve it?” Getting forgiveness from God requires that we have some relationship with God, and when we forgive others we show that we have that relationship, because forgiven people forgive people, and our relationship with God is very much tied to our being forgiven by God. We show that we probably are not forgiven if we won’t forgive. Jesus is blunt here, if we won’t forgive people, as individuals and as a group, God won’t forgive us! So, uh, let’s forgive people.
8.      We pray together, which also implies in public, that is why it says “Our Father” and “give us our daily food” and “forgive our debts” and “we’ve forgiven our debtors” and “don’t lead us into testing” and “rescue us,”


1.      God is not like a candy machine where the candy doesn’t come out if you don’t stick in enough quarters, so that we need to put in a lot of quarters to make sure we get what we want from God

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