OceanSide church of Christ
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Not Before Men (continued)
Hypocrisy in Prayer
Text: Matthew 6:5-15
This section of Scripture can be divided into two sections:
· 1st, Jesus deals with how NOT to pray.
· Then, Jesus teaches the proper manner to pray.
· Prayer is the very LIFELINE to the child of God.
o It is through prayer we are able to approach the very throne of God and bring our supplications before Him and make known our petitions.
II. THE HYPOCRISY IN PRAYER (v. 5-15)
A. How Not To Pray
1. One of the great privileges of the child of God is the blessing of prayer.
a. The inspired instruction is that we are to “pray without ceasing” (1 Thes. 5:17) and “in everything giving thanks…” (v. 18).
b. Our prayers are to be fervent and effectual (James 5:16).
2. We are not to pray for the sake of displaying our piety or impressing others.
a. There was nothing wrong with standing on the corner of the street and in the synagogue to pray, as long as the motive was pure.
b. Unlike these who would stand on the corner and in the synagogue to be seen and heard of men.
c. Praying in public is not condemned, but such prayers must be directed toward God rather than to seek the praise of men.
1) Our prayers are always to be as if God and we (individually) are the only ones listening!
2) However, in a public setting, such as a worship setting, the one leading a prayer must remember that he is leading on behalf of the whole audience, as if we were speaking with one voice.
a) Be careful in using phrases like “I” or “me.”
b) The prayer in that situation is to be lead on behalf of “all.”
d. In our text, Praying “in secret” – as if alone with God will eliminate PRIDE, PRETENSE, AND SHAME.
e. God will bless us openly.
3. We need to be a people of prayer.
a. God knows what we need; however, He wants us to express it in prayer (v. 8).
1) Our prayers should be thoughtful, expressive of our heart’s feelings and earnest.
2) The Lord forbids “vain repetitions” (v. 7) ...words or phrases that are often thoughtlessly repeated and thus constitute useless and empty words.
3) We are to offer prayers (outpouring of our souls), supplications (asking for our wants and needs), and thanksgiving (expressions of gratitude for past blessings) in sincerity (Phil. 4:6-7).
b. If we respect and honor our earthly fathers, how much more should we approach our Heavenly Father with respect and reverence!
c. He knows our hearts. He knows our needs. It’s not always the case that long prayers are the best and with large words most do not understand.
d. It may be impressive to others, but not necessarily pleasing unto God.
4. Jesus had a tendency to keep things simple in his teaching and His approach to service.
In this next section of scripture, Jesus now illustrates and teaches the proper manner of prayer and how to be acceptable to God.
B. The Proper Manner of Prayer
1. The Lord’s Prayer???
a. Although the words Jesus spoke in these few verses are acknowledged by all to be unequaled in beauty of thought and language, Jesus did not here teach His disciples “The Lord’s Prayer.”
b. Jesus never actually prayed this prayer, nor did He teach his disciples to pray it as many suppose.
c. An actual prayer of Jesus is recorded in John 17 where He prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane the night when He was betrayed.
1) It was a prayer of unity.
a) He with the Father
b) Apostles with Him & the Father
c) All believers with apostles, Him & the Father
2. The Model Prayer
a. Here, Jesus gave an example, a model, form or pattern to follow for acceptable prayer.
b. From it, we learn a great deal concerning prayer.
1) Some parts of it are unacceptable for prayer today.
2) “thy kingdom come”
a) Because the Kingdom (church) has already come
b) Col 1:13 Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son:
3) Also, the prayer is just an example and Jesus also taught His disciples to pray “in his name.”
a) John 14:13-14 And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. (14) If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it.
b) John 16:23 And in that day ye shall ask me nothing. Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in my name, he will give it you.
c) Col 3:17 And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him.
4) We must remember that Jesus is teaching His disciples how to pray and now what to say; it is a model.
(9) After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.
(10) Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.
(11) Give us this day our daily bread.
(12) And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.
(13) And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.
3. Six petitions can be used by man today. (There are 8 principles to note from this model)
a. The 1st three are for others and the last three are for self.
b. “Our Father”
1) Expresses our close relationship to God through Christ that all may enjoy by obedience (Heb. 5:8-9).
2) In the Old Testament, men prayed, “O Lord, God of our Fathers.”
3) Now only Christians can properly call God their Father b/c we have come into His family (John 6:44-45; 1 Tim. 3:14-15; Rom. 6:3-4; 8:16-17).
4) The prayer is to be expressed to the Father, not idols, the Virgin Mary, nor saints.
c. “Which art in heaven”
1) Indicating our smallness (as earthly beings)
2) And His greatness, being in Heaven.
d. “Hallowed be thy name”
1) Indicates the reverence we are always to show to His venerated and holy Name
2) Psa 111:9 He sent redemption unto his people: he hath commanded his covenant for ever: holy and reverend is his name.
3) We should approach Him in prayer in the most humble, reverent, and solemn form afforded us.
4) Consider when we come before His throne that He is the Creator, Helper, & Judge of all the world.
e. “Thy kingdom come”
1) Expressive of the disciples’ anticipation of the then future coming of the church
2) They were to pray for its establishment.
3) Today, we look back on its establishment with joy and thanksgiving, praying for its increase and spreading of the gospel.
f. “Give us this day our daily bread”
1) Reminding us that the bread is the staff of life and is needful for the body daily.
2) Note that Jesus did not use the symbols of luxury, “milk and honey.”
3) This shows our dependence each day on the One who sustains our lives.
g. “forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors”
1) A figurative expression which uses “debts” to depict our sins.
2) This expresses a thought many times given by our Lord: If we, as sinful ones before God, refuse to forgive others, we forfeit our own forgiveness by Him (Matt. 5:23-24; 18:21-22; Luke 17:3-4; Eph. 4:32; Col. 3:13).
h. “lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil”
1) A plea that God will not allow us to be tempted by Satan above our ability to resist.
2) Though God seduces no man to do evil (James 1:13), He does allow us to be proved (tried) by Satan through temptation, trials, and afflictions.
3) With the Lord’s care for us, none of the allowed avenues of Satan will be more than we are able to bear (1 Cor. 10:12-13; 1 John 2:15-17)
4. Jesus concludes His teaching on prayer by teaching His disciples to, “forgive men” –
a. We must have a forgiving spirit about us, so that when men do repent (Luke 17:3), we may readily, freely, fully, entirely, and without hesitation forgive, “as Christ forgave” us (Col. 3:13).
C. Concluding thought:
1. There can be no doubt that every child of God should develop a habit of prayer and have a faithful prayer life.
2. One must see the privilege of being able to approach the very throne of God and bring forth our petitions, supplications and thanksgiving for all that God has done.
3. May we have the same desire that the disciples had when they asked the Master Teacher, “Lord teach us to pray” (Luke 18:1).
4. May we then apply all that we learn to our own prayer life.
5. Remember the motive behind our prayers, so as not to be hypocritical.
6. Prayer to the Father teaches us greater dependence upon God and causes us to examine our lives even closer.
7. The Psalmist said, “The Lord is near to all who call upon Him, To all who call upon Him in truth” (Psalm 145:18).