Matthew 6:1-15: Pray This Way (Lord’s Prayer)
October 12, 2021
How to Give
6 “Be careful not to practice your righteousness in front of others to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven.
- We’ve talked a lot about the supreme intention of the heart, same principle applies here, BUT also view from a principle of supreme intention of affection
- Whose/What affection do you desire more?
- Do it for the girl/boy?
- Do it for church approval?
- Do it for your bosses approval/affection?
- Or do it for God’s approval/affection?
2 “So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full.
- Modern trumpets?
- Example: Clackers at Stater Bros, Hearts at Circle K, Budweiser spending $5 million to brag about $100k donation, social media posts. Community service for college scholarships/acceptance
- Hypocrite was literally a “actor” or “pretender” in Christ’s day
- When you give, don’t give like the pretenders, the fake Christians
- NOTE: Phonies still give to the needy, but the difference Jesus gives is how visible it is
- If you give/pray/fast for others affections, then that is your reward for giving; but if your intent is for God’s affection, then the reward is much greater
- The word in Greek for reward is apodidomi
- Word annotates to be repay in proportion
- This concept has been twisted and abused into “Prosperity gospel”
3 But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, 4 so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.
- Speaking to the internal pride that can develop
- Right hand was hand of authority, strength and power
- Left hand was unclean and weak
*Basically, Jesus is saying don’t let a good deed made out of your strength be known to your unclean, weak side of sin
How to Pray
5 “And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. 6 But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. 7 And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. 8 Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.
9 “This, then, is how you should pray:
NOTE: Prayer was tightly linked and understood by the tabernacle/temple called Mishkan. The tabernacle was the “dwelling place” of God on earth and was called the “House of Meeting.” Then, Jesus chases the collectors out of the temple because it was meant to be a “House of Prayer.” Hence, prayer was understood as a “meeting” where God “dwells;” that is, God’s dwelling is our dwelling, His resting place is where we take our rest in prayer…that’s how we approach prayer!
“‘Our Father in heaven,
Prayer Focus Point 1: Focus on our with God
*As the rest of the prayer demonstrates, we must remember He’s not simply MY father, but OUR father and that the same grace He gives me He gives them, thus the same grace He gives me I should give them
- “FATHER” = Intimate
- This is unique to Jesus. While the OT certainly described God as a father, there is ZERO examples of anyone beginning a prayer as “Father” due to its intimacy and perceived misassociation/demoting
- “IN HEAVEN” = Positional
- Beyond ourselves, our situation, and our problems to something highe
hallowed [Holy is] be your name,
Prayer Focus Point 2: Focus on God’s
- Overtly praise and exhort God for His Character (NAME)
- Understand the God you approach in prayer is HOLY!
10 your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.
Prayer Focus Point 3: Focus on God’s
- Align yourself to God’s kingdom (not the empire we’re building in our own lives)
- Align yourself to God’s will (Participate in God’s will and His objectives not your own)
- Allow God’s space (heaven) to invade your space (earth)
11 Give us today our daily bread.
Prayer Focus Point 4: Focus on your and others Physical and
- Its not about “making God aware” of your needs (See vs. 8), but acknowledging God’s sovereignty and control over them i.e. Consciously hand your problems over to God
- Its about letting go and letting God
- Its about recognizing your dependency
12 And forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.
Prayer Focus Point 5: Focus on your and others Spiritual and
- Here, Jesus says reciprocate apodidomi
- Reciprocate, repay in proportion what you receive
- Reward others with the same reward you received
13 And lead us not into temptation [testing],
but deliver us from the evil one.’
Prayer Focus Point 6: Focus on our and God’s , and
- Continuity of Jewish Thought: Talmud tractate Berachah 60b, we read: “Bring me not into the power of sin, and not into the power of guilt, and not into the power of temptation (testing), and not in to the power of anything shameful.”
- Seasons of great testing lead to failure, shame, guilt, and sin
- The testing of Jesus in the desert in Matthew 4
- What Jesus is saying is pray we do not succumb to the power of sin, testing, or shame; rather be delivered from it
14 For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15 But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins. –NOTE: “Blessed are merciful, for they shall be shown mercy.” Christ concludes the Lord’s prayer with apodidomi – repayment of proportion of forgiveness
Questions for Guided Discussion
- Read verses 1-2: An equal but opposite saying in modern language is “Do the right thing when no one is looking.” If you only do the right thing when others are looking, then are you the hypocrite Jesus speaks to in this teaching? Are you simply a “Christian” actor?
- We’ve talked a lot about the supreme intention of the heart, but what about the supreme affection of the heart? Jesus points out that many people’s supreme affection is for the approval and celebration of men. Do you desire God’s approval more than that of others?
- Jesus states that the rewards we receive are proportional to our intention (Greek- Apodidomi). If you do good only for men to celebrate you, then your reward is their celebration. If you give to another’s needs to bear witness to God’s glory, then God rewards you by participating in His glory. Where in your life is your reward mis-directed?
- Read verses 3-4: How does our weakness, our flesh, and our sin corrupt our “right hand” of strength, power, and authority to action? How do we ensure our “left hand” does not know of and influence our “right hand?”
- Read verses 5-8: Understanding prayer from the perspective of a “meeting with God” versus a “letter to God;” how does that change how you pray?
- Read verses 9-13: Jesus gives us 6 focus points in our “meetings with God”: Our relation to God, character of God, God’s mission, Ours and others physical needs, ours and others spiritual needs, and hope, promise, and victory. Which element are you currently focused on? Which elements are you weak?
- Read verse 9: How does recognizing and remembering who we are in relation to God change our approach to prayer?
- How does exhorting and reflecting on God’s character change our approach to prayer?
- How does centering your prayer on God’s mission change your approach to prayer?
- In verse 8, Jesus says God knows what we need before we ask Him. Why do we express our needs to God then? What is accomplished in presenting our needs before God?
- The entire Lord’s prayer is communal. Why is it important to express our spiritual condition before God; and more so, the condition of the others? How does this focus our hearts?
- The entire concept of prayer anchors around Mishkan, that is, taking rest where God is at rest. Why is it important to rest in His promise and victory for our hope? How does that change the spirit of prayer?