TEXT:
Matthew 6:5-24

 

 

 

PRAYER

 

The first three words of the text are “When you pray.” Jesus didn’t say ‘if,’ he said ‘when.’ Living people breathe, Christian people pray.

 

But even such a vital Christian grace as prayer can be improperly executed. Here Jesus warns against two sins: The sin of ‘doing our prayers’ to get recognition from people, and secondly, using mindless prattle in our prayers with the assumption that many words would somehow get the attention of God. As in our giving, so also in our praying: If we look for rewards from people than those rewards become our ‘payment in full.’  Some times we do pray in our ‘synagogue;’ sometimes on our street corners; also, sometimes our prayers are long, Solomon’s prayer is chapters long and Jesus prayed all night: The important lesson here is, “Is our prayer directed toward God or toward men?”

 

Jesus follows this up with a model prayer that we generally call “The Lord’s Prayer.” This prayer can be divided into three sections; The Preface, The Petitions and, The Conclusion. There is wisdom in studying each section and pulling elements from each when we also form our own prayers.

 

This section closes with a warning: We need to forgive; otherwise we can not expect forgiveness.

 

Additional study scriptures: Luke 11:2-4; I Thessalonians 5:17

 

FASTING

 

Fasting is the last of the three Christian graces that we mentioned in last week’s lesson. The lesson here parallels the previous two: If we seek public recognition when we fast, we miss the benefits derived from God seeing our fasting.

 

TREASURES IN HEAVEN

 

 Trying to focus at the same time on things that are in two different places would make us cross-eyed and unable to see anything clearly. The whole point in most of the last two lessons is. “Where is your heart?”

 

If you expect your treasure to come from the appreciation of those around you then you are not expecting it from God and from Heaven. Temporal blessings are subject to the temporal destructive forces. The Pharisees were having a terrible time: They were looking for their blessing to be both temporal and at the same time spiritual. Such a division in our emphasis will never work. The word ‘despise’ is strong: Until we use it in regard to this world we will not have an equally strong desire of our heavenly reward.

 

QUESTIONS

 

  1. The Lord’s Prayer has six different requests in the petition section. List them below.
    • h_______________________________________________________
    • y_______________________________________________________
    • g_______________________________________________________
    • f________________________________________________________
    • l________________________________________________________
    • d_______________________________________________________
  2. What are the three things that Jesus said would destroy earthly treasure? “____________, _____________, and ___________________________.” What could those three things stand for, for us today? ___________________________ ______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Think: For instance; if your ‘treasure’ is ‘human recognition,’ what is it that would erode that recognition and make it worthless? How much of it will you have after you are dead?

  1. What is meant by “babbling like pagans?” Give an example of something like that. _________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
  2. See verse 8: If our father knows what we need before we pray, why do we need to even bother asking? _________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

 

COMMENTS

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