: Matthew 6:1-4 ~ 1“Beware of practicing your righteousness before men to be noticed by them; otherwise you have no reward with your Father who is in heaven.
2“So when you give to the poor, do not sound a trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, so that they may be honored by men. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full. 3“But when you give to the poor, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, 4so that your giving will be in secret; and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you.
1- Almsgiving, 2- prayer and 3- fasting were central elements in Jewish religion, and the issue is not whether you should do them, but how and why.
Relationship must be our prime motivation
: Matthew 6:5-8 ~ 5“When you pray, you are not to be like the hypocrites; for they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and on the street corners so that they may be seen by men. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full. 6“But you, when you pray, go into your inner room, close your door and pray to your Father who is in secret, and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you. 7“And when you are praying, do not use meaningless repetition (battaloge>w, stutter – speak) as the Gentiles do, for they suppose that they will be heard for their many words. 8“So do not be like them; for your Father knows what you need before you ask Him.
Most prayer is about manipulation.
God as your Father is a two-way relationship. As Father, He loves us, and we honor Him. He protects, and we abide. He provides, and we give thanks. He instructs, and we emulate. He disciplines, and we mature. He touches, and we respond. He commands, and we obey.
True prayer is not a technique nor a performance, but a relationship.
: Matthew 6:9-13 ~ 9“Pray, then, in this way: ‘Our Father who is in heaven, Hallowed be Your name. 10‘Your kingdom come. Your will be done, On earth as it is in heaven. 11‘Give us this day our daily bread. 12‘And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. 13‘And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from evil. [For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.]’
The prayer that Jesus gave as an antidote to vain repetitions is possibly the most abused repetitious prayer ever.
Luke 11, example is different for a reason!
We have no right to ask God for anything that will dishonor His name, delay His kingdom, or disturb His will on earth.
Because prayer is the God-appointed way to have these needs met, prayer prepares us for the proper use of the answer. If we know our need, and if we voice it to God, trusting Him for His provision, then we will make better use of the answer.
This prayer begins with God’s interests, not ours, “Prayer is a mighty instrument, not for getting man’s will done in heaven, but for getting God’s will done in earth.”
Thusly then, (ou[twv oujn) pray ya’ll.
Ya’ll, our and we = intercessors
Father (nearness) heaven (farness)
1 Timothy 6:7-11 ~ 7For we have brought nothing into the world, so we cannot take anything out of it either. 8If we have food and covering, with these we shall be content. 9But those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a snare and many foolish and harmful desires which plunge men into ruin and destruction. 10For the love of money is a root of all sorts of evil, and some by longing for it have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs. 11But flee from these things, you man of God, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, perseverance and gentleness.
When Jesus boils prayer down to daily bread He is promoting thanksgiving.
The welfare of our souls and bodies also depends on two-way forgiveness. Guilt and bitterness eat away at us.
We cannot ask to have our guilt removed so that we can stand comfortably in the Father’s presence, when we exclude others from our lives because they wronged us.
James 1:13&14 ~ 13Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God”; for God cannot be tempted by evil, and He Himself does not tempt anyone. 14But each one is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by his own lust.
The Father does not directly tempt us to evil, but He allows moments of testing. And with testing, comes the temptation to quit and not press on.
The night before, Peter had confidently asserted that he would stick by Jesus no matter what. Only a few hours later, Peter denied in strong language that he even knew Jesus.
When is a liar not a liar?
The prayer moves from the greatness and glory of God to our total dependence on Him.
: Matthew 6:14&15 ~ 14“For if you forgive others for their transgressions, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15“But if you do not forgive others, then your Father will not forgive your transgressions.
If you come before the Father bearing no grudges for anything done to you, then you can ask Him to bear no grudge against you.
Our forgiveness cost the Father… Our forgiving others is simple gratitude. How dare we not! Also by forgiving, we emulate the character of the Father. By this, we honor His name. Our Father is known for His mercy and forgiveness.
Besides, we do not want to live unforgiving lives. It is like drinking poison and saying to our offender, “There! Take that!”
: Matthew 6:16-18 ~ 16“Whenever you fast, do not put on a gloomy face as the hypocrites do, for they neglect their appearance so that they will be noticed by men when they are fasting. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full. 17“But you, when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face 18so that your fasting will not be noticed by men, but by your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you.
Fasting had a distinct purpose in Israel. It was a way of saying “no” to the physical and material needs of the body, so that all the attention could be given to spiritual matters. It was a way of saying that this time of prayer, or this time of repentance, is the most important thing in life.
To proclaim a fast without any concern for changing the life as a whole missed the point. The fasting is supposed to have a lasting impact for righteousness.
Certainly excess revelry and debauchery prior to a time of fasting is a pagan corruption of the whole idea.
How much of our religious conduct is regulated by the opinions and approval of other people?
1“Beware of practicing your righteousness before men to be noticed by them; otherwise you have no reward with your Father who is in heaven.
1- 2When you give to the poor…
2- 5When you pray…
2a- 9Pray, then, in this way…
2a1- 14For if you forgive others…
3- 16Whenever you fast…