Summary: the first thing to know is how to pray
We just finished studying the First Letter to the Christians in Thessalonica. Before we study the Second Letter to the Thessalonians, especially as we live out this New Year, let us be challenged with the prayer “Lead us not into temptation!” I normally do not do topical sermons but after much prayer, I sense we all need this prayer for our lives today.
I plan to spend at least 3 Sundays on this topic; we will look in general at the entire prayer that Jesus taught His disciples (most people call it the Lord’s Prayer); and we will look specifically what “Lead us not into temptation” mean. Today, I would like us to look at the reasons why the Lord Jesus Christ taught the prayer.
Yes we will be learning about prayer but the best way to learn is to just do it. And so, let us do that again by praying our commitment to God’s Word. Let us pray this together……….
We find the prayer that Jesus taught in the Gospel of Matthew and the Gospel of Luke. Let us first look at Matthew Chapter 6…. Read along with me……….
Before we try and answer the question why Jesus taught the prayer, let us note what is going on here, when did it happen, and where.
And so, what is going on here in Matthew 6? – The Lord Jesus was teaching His Disciples and a crowd.
When did this teaching happen? As we follow the events from Matthew 4, go back there briefly with me..……
The teaching of Jesus in Matthew 6 happened early in His ministry after calling the 12 Disciples and others. We need to note that this teaching also happened before Jesus died for man’s sins.
Yes, Jesus taught a prayer in Matthew 6 but we note:
In v1-6, there’s a warning about pleasing men instead of God.
In v7-8, there was a warning about impressing men instead of God.
In v16-18, there was a warning about what people put on to show off to the world.
Do you think God was trying to say something important here when He repeated 3 times a similar warning.
The main lesson in Matthew 6 is about being God focused rather than man focused!
And so, why did Jesus teach this prayer in Matthew 6? The people needed to be reminded of the right way to pray! There is a wrong way to pray! The prayers of people were self-centered, rather than what it is supposed to be, God-centered. From the beginning, the relationship of man to God was affirmed with prayer, a simple, direct conversation between a person and God. Remember Adam talking with His Creator God? We can note that Jesus said “when” you pray not “if” you pray. In other words, if one has a relationship with God, there will be prayer, a conversation. What good is a relationship when you don’t talk to each other? As described by Jesus, people took prayer as a means to build self-ego instead of a right relationship with God. When we pray, many of us are guilty of preaching to other people instead of actually talking to God.