Saturday, March 09, 2024

2024.03.09 Hopewell @Home ▫ Matthew 6:7–15

Read Matthew 6:7–15

Questions from the Scripture text: What aren’t believers 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)? 

How should we pray to a Father Who knows what we need? Matthew 6:7–15 prepares us for the morning sermon on the Lord’s Day. In these nine verses of Holy Scripture, the Holy Spirit teaches us that when you pray to a Father Who knows what you need, prayer is an embracing of His will.

Christian prayer is not like pagan prayer. Pagans have to make themselves heard (Matthew 6:7). They are trying to manipulate their “god.” But we must not come in such a way to the true God. He is not to be manipulated. His will is supreme. So our praying must be an embracing of that will.

Embracing His will by hallowing His Name. To honor and glorify His Name is the first and great priority of God in the world. Just as Jesus calls God “Holy Father” (cf. John 17:11) and asks Him to glorify His Name (cf. John 12:28, John 17:1), so He teaches us to pray that God’s Name would be hallowed.

Embracing His will with reference to the world. “Your Name”… “Your kingdom” … “Your will” … just as heaven is all about the Lord God, so also everything on earth is from Him and through Him and to Him. When we pray, we should willingly submit ourselves to His will. He knows how to bring about His glory and the salvation of His elect. We do not pray for our names to be esteemed but His. We do not pray for our influence to be wielded but His. We do not pray for our desires to be fulfilled but His. 

Embracing His will with reference to the church’s needs. Note that the prayer begins with “our.” Now, in Matthew 6:11-13, we see the corporate nature of the prayer in this series of first person plurals… us, our, us, our, our, us, us. We do not pray merely as individuals but as members of God’s kingdom, Christ’s church, Christ’s bride, Christ’s body. We know that His will toward us is good in physical things. He has created us with the need of food and drink and clothing, assigning the proper amount to each day (cf. Matthew 6:33-34). So, He tells us to pray for it daily, in submission to how He has made us. There is no encouragement here to bring Him a shopping list of fleshly desires.

We also know that His will toward us is good in spiritual things. Most of all, we need forgiveness. The provision of bread is itself a matter of forgiveness (cf. Genesis 3:17–19). Every morsel of the believer’s food tastes like sweet forgiveness. The believer has begun by forgiving grace (cf. Matthew 5:3–9). Now he must continue in it. This is how God’s children pray. This is how His church prays. And if we do not pray as these needy ones, we do not pray like Jesus taught us.

We pray to be forgiven so that we might not only be cleared of guilt, but also advance in holiness. We know how strong is that sin which remains in us, and so we pray that God would mercifully spare us from situations where we might more readily give in to it. We pray that we might be delivered from the evil that is in every situation. Not just the evil one who is against us, but especially that evil that remains within us.

Embracing His will because it depends entirely upon His grace. We do not have any power within ourselves to serve the Lord’s kingdom. But His kingdom will be served by means of His power unto the end that is His glory. His is the kingdom and the power and the glory! So, in addition to being a means of grace by which our wills are conformed unto God’s will, prayer is also a means of grace by which we are brought into further dependence upon Him. 

What have you been praying about lately? What would it look like to pray for that in a way that submitted to His will in it? What daily needs of yours have been sweetened by asking them of the Lord and receiving them as daily gifts from a loving Father? How has this sort of praying helped you submit to His good will for your earthly needs? For what spiritual needs have you been praying? 

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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