Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Matthew 6:7-13 “Teach Us to Pray”

Matthew 6:7-13
“Teach Us to Pray”

I.             Prayer starts with desire.

                A.            Luke 11:1, “When Jesus had finished praying, one of his disciples said to                                          him,  “Lord, teach us to pray, just as John taught his followers to pray.”
                                1.            This is the only time in the Gospels the disciples asked Jesus to teach     them                                                         anything.
                                2.            If you study Jesus’ prayer life you will be amazed. Many of us to not think about                                                               how dependent Jesus was on prayer.
                B.            Apparently at least one of his disciples, most likely John, asks Jesus specifically to                                         teach them how to pray.
                                1.            We must want to learn to pray.
                                2.            We must be willing to have Jesus teach us.

I I.           Prayer distinguishes the believer.

                A.            “When you pray, don’t pour out a flood of empty words, as the Gentiles do. They think                                               that by saying many words they’ll be heard.” [7]
                                1.            The idea of a flood of empty words is translated “do not keep on babbling like                                                   pagans” in the NIV. The King James Version says “use not vain repetitions.”
                                2.            This goes back to the pagan practice which believes that saying prayers over and                                              over will win the favor of the gods.
                B.            “Don’t be like them, because your Father knows what you need before you ask.” [8]
                                1.            Jesus expects his followers to be different.
                                2.            Christian prayer is different. It is based on relationship to God and his                                                                    knowledge and power.
                                                a.            The concept of God as “Father” is a major change in how we view God.
                                                b.            God as “Father” is a very intimate relationship that is unknown in other                                                                                 religions.

I I I.         Prayer develops deeper relationship with God.

                A.            “Pray like this: Our Father who is in heaven, uphold the holiness of your name.” [9]
                                1.            Some people understand this as worship.
                                2.            Holiness is a main concept about God. We are constantly told by God that he is                                                 holy and because of that we are to be holy.
                B.            Jesus continues, “Bringing in your kingdom so that your will is done on earth as it is                                    done in heaven.” [10]
                                1.            The reason Jesus taught us to pray that God’s will be done on earth like it is                                                        done in heaven is because God’s will is not always done on earth.
                                2.            The reality is humans have the ability to resist God’s will. The effect of this                                                          rebellion means that God’s will is not necessarily done on earth.

I V.         Prayer establishes dependency on God.

                A.            “Give us the bread we need for today. Forgive us for the ways we have wronged you,                                   just as we also forgive those who wronged us. And don’t lead us into temptation, but                                  rescue us from the evil one.” [11-13]
                                1.            Jesus taught us to pray for our physical needs.
                                2.            Jesus taught us to pray for our forgiveness.        
                                3.            Jesus taught us to pray for spiritual protection.
                B.            There are several realities that we have to understand in this section.
                                1.            We are dependent on God for our daily food. In a land of plenty this may be                                                      hard for us to understand but it is a reality for much of the world.            
                                2.            When our theology tries to teach us that we are “sinless,” this idea can be                                                           difficult for us to understand.
“If we claim, “we don’t have any sin,” we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. But if we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from everything we’ve done wrong. If we claim,” we have never sinned,” we make him a liar and his word is not in us.” [1 John 1:8-10]
*****In other words what the Bible is telling us is that no one can claim to be without individual acts of sin. We can however confess those sins. When we do confess them God is both faithful to us and his justice because Jesus has died on the cross to save us from our sins.*****

                                3.            The reality is there is a personal “evil one” that is aggressively seeking to destroy                                              us. Only God can effectively protect us.
                                                a.            It is important for us to understand that God does not lead us into                                                                           temptation.
                                                b.            One idea here is that the word quote temptation unquote is not an                                                                        accurate translation. The Greek term is quote “peirasmos” can mean                                                                     “test of character.”
                                                                1.)           This may be a plea to avoid unpleasant testing. This is different                                                                                 than Judaism of its day that prayed for testing.
                                                                2.)           This may also be a plea to avoid the final end times. The term                                                                                     temptation is connected to the last judgment.
                                                                3.)           Since Jesus did not speak Greek, the Aramaic word most likely                                                                                  used here would have meant “cause us not to enter.” In other                                                                                  words, God is protecting us.

ü  So we begin with desire to pray by learning from Jesus.

ü  We are distinguished from those who do not know God the way we pray.

ü  We develop closer relationship with our Heavenly Father.

ü  And we learn dependence for things that we might not give much thought to such as food, forgiveness, and fighting spiritual forces of darkness.

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