Summary: The Kingdom of God is a kingdom of prayer. Prayer that releases us to walk in freedom with Christ and with others. In the series RED we look at the teachings of Christ found in Matthew 5-7.
This morning we will be continuing in our series RED: Teachings From the Words of Christ. Today we will be looking at Matthew 6:5-15
If you do not have a Bible the Scriptures have been printed on the insert located in your bulletin.
The story of my first prayer - did not know how. But have learned and used the Lord’s prayer as a model for walking with Christ.
Many of us have grown up hearing if not memorizing a portion of this passage. Mostly we know verses 9-13. These verse are commonly called “The Lord’s Prayer.”
Jesus, after having taught the disciples about the righteous act of giving, speaks to them about the righteous action of prayer. Just like giving - prayer makes a declaration of our dependance on God. It requires humility and time and the motivation to allow the Holy Spirit to speak to us. In prayer we find God the Holy Spirit convicting us - encouraging us - and prompting us to give space and time for prayer about OTHER PEOPLE.
Prayer is not about a physical posture but an attitude. An attitude where one’s heart is open to the leading and prompting of the Holy Spirit that is within us.
(TRANSITION) But what is Jesus doing when he gives us this “model prayer” in Matthew 6:9-13? Is he giving us a formula to be repeated? Or a framework to help us learn to communicate with Him on a deep and intimate level.
Let’s begin by looking at READ vv. 5-8 - notice the compare and contrast
v.5 - again Jesus assumes that we will be people of prayer - WHEN you pray. But he tells us not to make a public spectacle of our prayers. Now there is nothing wrong with public prayer. But again - what is the motivation behind your prayer - TO BE SEEN BY MEN - TO LET OTHERS KNOW JUST HOW PIOUS AND HOLY YOU ARE - this type of motivation behind prayer brings an earthly reward but does not necessarily bring you any closer to God’s ultimate reward
Charles Spurgeon once said, “He who prays long in private has no need to do so in public.”
v. 6 - Again Jesus assumes that we will pray - when we do instead of making a show we enter into a place where we can be undistracted. A place where we can devote our full attention and heart to hearing from and worshiping God. What we pray in secret and in that private place will HAVE PUBLIC ANSWER.
I suppose it is possible to have a quiet and distraction free place to pray and still have the wrong motive - just a chore - an obligation - a religious duty
That is what I think Jesus is dealing with next when he tells us what NOT to pray like…
v. 7 - do not enter into your prayer closet do not be like the pagans who “keep on babbling”
this is an interesting phrase - the Greek term used here is battalogeō the word is derived from the name of an ancient pagan poet named Battus who was known for his long wordy run-on neverending massive long wordy run on neverending poems
Jesus is telling His audience - do not be like this Battus guy who thought that poetry equaled volumes of words and rhymes and cadence - that is not what prayer is to or to become.
There seems to be a sense here that what the pagans did was ask for the same things over and over and over and over - as if their god were unable to know their needs or desire without being reminded again and again. I think this because of what v.8 says...
v. 8 - God knows what we have need of even before we ask. But that does not mean we cannot ask of God. I think the Scriptures would tells us to place our petitions before God. BUT WHAT I THINK IS HAPPENING WITH THE PAGANS IS NOT ONLY ARE THEY REMINDING THEIR god BUT THEIR CONTINUAL REPETITION DEMONSTRATED THEIR WORRY.
Jesus is reminding us that God knows. He has heard our prayer and He has an answer. It may take some time to get that answer and there maybe some things we need to work on before it come through but God has answered (maybe he said no - if so then stop bringing it up to God - I would reckon His no was a way of preparing your for something better)
If we are not to be like the pagans and constantly worry about whether God hears or answers or is even out there - Jesus gives us a model to pray. In this prayer there is no hint of doubt or worry. It directs worship to whom worship is due and recognizes that all good and perfect gives come from the Father. It also places us in a position to ask of God and expect God to answer. But it also calls us to a place of repentance and of forgiveness - this allows us to live a life that is FREE.