"THE SERMON ON THE MOUNT"
Prayer (Mt 6:5-15)
1. The entire sixth chapter expounds upon the "righteousness of the
kingdom" WITH RESPECT TO MAN'S RELATION TO GOD, especially in the
practice of certain ACTS of righteousness
2. Remember that verse one likely provides an introductory statement
concerning all acts of righteousness: "Take heed that you do not do
[them] before men, to be seen by them..."
a. We have seen this principle applied to charitable deeds
b. Now we shall consider how Jesus applied it to the practice of
[First, we find...]
I. WHAT NOT TO DO IN REGARD TO PRAYER - Mt 6:5
A. DO NOT BE LIKE THE "HYPOCRITES"
1. Who love to pray...
a. Standing in the synagogues
b. On the corners of the streets
2. This they do "that they may be seen of men"
B. "THEY HAVE THEIR REWARD"
1. That is, they are indeed seen by men
2. But that is the extent of their reward (the praise of men)
3. They will have no reward or blessing from God.
C. JESUS IS NOT CONDEMNING "ALL" PUBLIC PRAYING...
1. This is evident from the fact He Himself prayed in public
- Mt 11:25; Jn 11:41
2. So did Paul - Ac 27:35
[The emphasis is the same as stated in verse one, "do not do your
[deeds of righteousness] before men, TO BE SEEN BY THEM."
How, then, are we to pray as to be heard by God...?]
II. ELEMENTS OF PROPER PRAYER - Vs 6-15
A. MUST BE DONE "TO BE SEEN OF GOD," NOT MEN - v6
1. The main idea is to "pray in secret"
2. "The sincere and humble worshiper, one who is not interested
in making a public display for the sake of enhancing his
prestige, will find the secluded nook or den to be most
appropriate for his devotions." (unknown)
3. The person who prays much in secret is praying to be seen of
God, not men.
B. MUST BE DONE "TO BE HEARD OF GOD," NOT MEN - Vs 7-8
1. By avoiding the use of "vain repetitions"
a. As was often practiced by the heathen religions
b. "The heathen tried to tire out their gods with such endless
prayers. Mere formulas were repeated over and over again;
the Jews had such prayer formulas, Catholics also have them
in the form of their rosary." (LENKSI)
2. Since "the Father knows the things you have need of before you
ask Him," prayers to be heard by God do not have to be filled
with superfluous words
C. MUST BE PATTERNED AFTER THE MANNER JESUS DESCRIBED - Vs 9-13
1. The phrase "in this manner"...
a. Suggests that "The Lord's Prayer" is a PATTERN for praying
b. I.e., not a liturgical exercise as sometimes practiced
2. The PATTERN of proper prayer:
a. First, SIMPLICITY
1) Notice the word "therefore"
a) It connects what follows with what was said before
b) Jesus' pattern for prayer is an "illustration" in
contrast to the "many words" used by the heathen
2) In the prayer itself, note the brevity of words
b. Then, in its CONTENT, proper prayer includes...
1) Reverence for God and His "Name" (that is, His Being and
character) - v9
2) Praying for the progress of God's Kingdom and His Will
on the earth - v10
3) Asking for physical necessities - v11
4) Also, our spiritual needs
a) Forgiveness of sins - v12
b) Protection and deliverance from evil - v13a
5) Praising God - v13b
D. MUST BE OFFERED WITH A MERCIFUL SPIRIT - Vs 14-15
1. As indicated in the pattern prayer itself - v12
2. Otherwise, we cannot expect mercy for ourselves -
cf. Mt 18:21-35; Ja 2:13
3. This must be a very important point to Jesus, for this is the
only part of the pattern prayer upon which He elaborated.
1. The privilege of prayer is one of the most important blessings to be
enjoyed by the children of God in this life
2. How important, then, that we be sure to pray in such a manner as to
be seen and heard by our Father in heaven.
Next, we shall examine what Jesus says about fasting...
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