Saturday, March 02, 2024

2024.03.02 Hopewell @Home ▫ Matthew 6:5–15

Read Matthew 6:5–15

Questions from the Scripture text: What does Matthew 6:5 assume that disciples will do? What are they not to be like? Where do hypocrites love to pray? Why? What do they have? Where does Jesus say to pray (Matthew 6:6)? What does He say to do first? Where is He to Whom they pray? What does He see? What will He do? What else aren’t they to do (Matthew 6:7)? Who do this? Why? What is the main command in Matthew 6:8? Why wouldn’t they vainly repeat—what does Father know? When? How are they to pray instead (Matthew 6:9)? To Whom? Where? With what desire toward Him? And what desire for/on earth (Matthew 6:10)? And what for their own bodies (Matthew 6:11)? And what for their souls (Matthew 6:12)? With what safeguard (Matthew 6:13a)? And what outcome for us (verse 13b)? And what outcome toward God (verse 13c)? Rather than trying to be seen by men, what must they be doing to them (Matthew 6:14)? What will their Father do? But what if they don’t (Matthew 6:15)? 

What is godly prayer? Matthew 6:5–15 prepares us for the morning sermon on the Lord’s Day. In these eleven verses of Holy Scripture, the Holy Spirit teaches us that prayer is worship and a means of grace.

Prayer to the Father Who lovingly seesMatthew 6:5-6. In the previous passage, Jesus warned against doing works of mercy for the eyes of men like the hypocrites do (Matthew 6:1-2). Now, He warns against praying like they do—praying in order to be seen by men (Matthew 6:5)! Prayer is, first and foremost, fellowship and worship: addressing the only living God Who sees in secret, but doing so as children to a Father—having Him as secret reward now and as open reward forever! Prayer is an act of worship.

Prayer to the Father Who wisely hearsMatthew 6:7-8. In these two verses, the Lord Jesus turns from the hypocrite to the heathen. These attempt to overcome their false deity’s resistance by praying many words. But if we think that we need to pray in a way to manipulate God or inform God, then we are not thinking rightly of God, and it is not to Him that we are praying. 

True prayer to the true God is not a seeking to overcome His unwillingness but a laying hold of His willingness. We set ourselves before Him Whose will is better than ours, and make our requests while submitting to His wisdom and goodness. He already knows what we need, and He is already going to do it. But, He brings us to pray that we may submit ourselves to Him. Thus, prayer is not only an act of worship, but it is a means of grace that brings us into submission. 

Prayer to the Father Who gloriously forgivesMatthew 6:9-15. These two aspects of prayer—the worship of having Father as reward and the means of grace of being brought into submission are now happily combined in what we have come to call “the Lord’s prayer.” Matthew 6:14-15 highlight how amazing it is that sinners may be forgiven and come to know the Holy Father and to enter into His glory. Truly, we ask for the opposite of what we deserve, as we yield ourselves up to His will for His Name (Matthew 6:9), this world (Matthew 6:10), our earthly needs (Matthew 6:11), and our spiritual needs (both forgiveness, Matthew 6:12; and the holiness that we must have to see the Lord and enter His glory, Matthew 6:13).  Indeed, if we do not pray as people who long to forgive others, this is an indicator that we are not forgiven. If a sinner such as I can ask for glories such as this, then I have received a marvelous forgiveness, and one great part of my holiness, then, is to be a forgiver of others.

How is your praying worship? How is it fellowship? What part does submission to Him have in your heart and mind as you pray? How is your need for forgiveness at the center of your prayers? Whom do you need to forgive?

Sample prayer:  Our Father, which art in heaven, hallowed be Thy Name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For, Thine is the kingdom, the power, and the glory forever, AMEN!

Suggested songs: ARP1 “How Blessed the Man” or TPH559 “The Lord’s Prayer”

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