Summary: The importance of authentic prayer and fasting in growing in relationship with God

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(adapted from Southeast Christian Church’s series: “Living a Life of Integrity”)




INTRODUCTION: A. I recently ran across a letter written by a father who wanted to apologize to a certain

young man for not allowing him to marry his daughter:

Dear Marty,

I have been unable to sleep since I broke off your engagement to my daughter. Will you please

forgive and forget?

I was much too sensitive about your Mohawk haircut, tattoos and pierced nose. I now realize

motorcycles aren’t really that dangerous, and I really should not have reacted that way to the

fact that you have never held a job.

I am also very sure that some other very nice people live under the bridge in the park, too. Sure

my daughter is only 18 and wants to marry you instead of going to Harvard on full

scholarship. After all, you can’t learn everything about life from books.

I sometimes forget how backward I can be. I was wrong. I was a fool. I have now come to my

senses and you have my full blessing to marry my daughter.


Your future father-in-law.

P.S. Congratulations on winning the lottery!

B. Last week, we started looking at the section in the Sermon on the Mount where Jesus challenges

us to be sure that we what we do with honesty and sincerity.

--That we should do what we do in order to gain God’s approval instead of prestige and approval

from other human beings

1. We looked at Mt. 6:1-4 last week

--This week we continue with vss. 5-18

2. Jesus raises the main question: “Who is your audience?”

a. Are you motivated by the approval of men or the applause of God?

b. The title of this morning’s message: EXAMINE YOUR MOTIVES

3. Jesus starts the whole section with this statement in Mt. 6:1 – ““Be careful not to do your

‘acts of righteousness’ before men, to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no

reward from your Father in heaven.”

C. In our passage this morning, Jesus warns us against praying to impress others.

--He challenges us to pray with sincerity. Jesus says, “Pray to be heard by God, not to

be seen by others.”

1. Remember that the Sermon on the Mount is Jesus’ instruction for those who would

claim to be Christ- followers.

--If you’re going to claim Him as your King, you need to live according to the

principles of His Kingdom

2. Kingdom living is righteous living

a. In Matthew chapter 6 Jesus teaches us that living a righteous life is not just a

matter of what we do, but also involves why we do it.

b. Jesus is not just concerned with us doing the right things, he wants us do the

right things for the right reasons.

--For Him the “why” is just as important as the “what”.

3. Kingdom-living is motivated by seeking God’s approval.

a. In Matthew 6 Jesus gives at least 3 areas where we need to examine our motives

to make sure we’re a living to express love to God, not to impress others.

b. Last week we looked at the first one: giving

c. This week, we’re going to look at the other two: Jesus teaches us to pray and

fast with the proper motivation.

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