Praying with Jesus: Pray like this… (Matthew 6:1-15)

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  • Lord’s Supper
    The Gospels reference God as our Father a total of 184x (Matthew: 44x; Mark: 3x; Luke: 16x; John: 121x). This teaching is quite significant for Christianity. Lord’s Prayer – “Our Father in heaven”…I. Packer says[1], You can sum up the NT with the “revelation of the Fatherhood” of God. “If you want to judge how well a person understands Christianity, find out how much he makes of the thought of being God’s child, and having God as his Father. If this is not the thought that prompts and controls his worship and prayers and his whole outlook on life, it means that he does not understand Christianity very well at all.

    He goes on to note, that God’s Fatherhood implies, in short, both affection and authority.
    John 15:9-10 “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love.”

    • Affection: As the Father loves the Son, so God loves us by grace through faith. God’s affection for us is never based on performance but on our position in Christ.
      • The Lord’s Supper is for those who are “In Christ”
    • Authority: As the Son obeyed the Father, so it is our honor and duty to obey the Father’s commands.
      • The Lord’s Supper is for those who are submitting to His Lordship. In other words, if there is a habit, pattern, lifestyle of sin in your life, then confession and repentance is required before participation in this spiritual act.
  • Introduction
    Johnny Hart was the author of the cartoon “B.C.” Hart’s Christian faith was well seen not only in his cartoons but also his personal life. Before he passed, one of his colleagues Dick Brown – cartoonist for “Hagar the Horrible” was extremely ill. Brown received a letter from Hart with inside the letter a piece of paper outlining a hand. The letter read, “Dick, call me.” Dick Brown called Johnny Hart and asked what the hand drawing meant. Johnny responded, “Oh good, you got the letter. Open it up and put your hand flat on the paper where the drawn hand is.” Dick followed the request and said, “Ok, now what?” Johnny said, “Now we’re holding hands. Let’s pray a little bit.”

lords prayer_logo

It is this mindset that we enter the Lord’s model prayer. We want to put our hand in the Lord Jesus’ hand and pray a little bit. We want our study of this prayer to not be merely academic but personal – #PrayingwithJesus.

This session will review the model prayer from an aerial view and the following sessions will zoom in for a more detailed reflection.

EXAMINE        Aerial View Observations of the Lord’s Prayer

#1 Jesus’ model of prayer motivates my prayer life.
The disciples asked Jesus to teach them to pray because that’s what they constantly saw in Jesus (Luke 11:1). Jesus, needed prayer all that much more in His humanity. His public ministry among crowds of people was exhausting both physically and spiritually. Therefore, Jesus prayed in order to refuel.

When I was a teenager learning to drive was an educational experience. During this time, my mother drove a light blue Chevy Astro Van, and my father drove a burgundy Buick Skylark. Once I successfully obtained my license I was eager to drive on my own. Likewise, my parents were just as glad because then they gave me errands to run.

One of the learning aspects of driving goes beyond driving skills. Driving grows easy – sometimes we feel like we were made to push heavy on the gas pedal and keep going. The problem of driving comes at stopping points – there are two of them: 1) Traffic & Sign Posts, 2) Low fuel. As a new driver, I was prepared for the former but not as much for the latter. Can you remember the first time you went to the gas station to put fuel in your vehicle? Removing knobs and pulling levers is kind of fun until you realize there will be pulling cash and removing funds from your bank account. I never realized that I would go empty so soon.

My experience of emptying fuel faster than desired is similar to our life experience. Life has a way of making us tired, torn, and exhausted. We need to repeatedly refuel if we intend to drive the journey of life each day.

Jesus modeled the pattern of repeated refueling through His prayer life.

Paul Miller says,“Jesus is, without question the most dependent human being who ever lived. Because he can’t do life on his own, he prays. And he prays. And he prays… he invites us into his life of a living dependence on his heavenly Father. When Jesus tells us to believe, he isn’t asking us to work up some spiritual energy. He is telling us to realize that, like him, we don’t have the resources to do life. When you know that you can’t do life on your own, then prayer makes complete sense… Jesus only knows himself in relationship with his Father. He can’t conceive of himself outside of that relationship… That’s why contemplating the terror of the cross of Gethsemane was such an agony for Jesus. He had never experienced a moment when he wasn’t in communion with his Father. Jesus’ anguish is our normal.”[2]
Jesus prayed at every major event in His life: baptism (Lk 3:21); after significant and stressful ministry days (Mt 14:13, 23; Lk 4:42; 5:15-16; 9:18; 9:28-29; Jn 12:27-28); choice of apostles (Mk 1:35; Lk 6:12-13); during success (Lk 10:21); for others in their hardships (Mk 6:30-31; Lk  22:32); before intense moments (Lk 22:39-46; John 17); and during suffering (Jn 11:41-42  ) and his suffering on the cross (Lk 23:34, 43, 46). Jesus even continues to live in prayer for us in heaven (Heb 7:25).

  • Prayer becomes priority when it is our first resort and not our last rescue.
    • Philippians 4:6 “do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God”
    • James 5:13-14 “Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray. Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing praise. Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord.”
  • à Where in life do you need rescue? Pray!
  • Prayer as rescue is ultimately expressed in salvation. Until you have prayed to God for rescue in salvation then your prayers are silenced before God.
    • relational devotion over religious duty (Psalm 51:16-17; 66:18; Isa 1:11-15; Hosea 6:6; Joel 2:12-14;Amos 5:22-23; Matt 9:12-13)
    • Hebrews 11:6 “Without faith it is impossible to please God.”

#2 Jesus’ instruction on prayer invites intimacy in my prayer life.
The Lord’s Prayer, among other places in Scripture, is Jesus’ teaching on prayer. Remember, Jesus is not so much giving the disciples a prayer but teaching them how to pray. Jesus wants them to pray like He does. Perhaps the most significant portion of Jesus’ teaching on prayer is His emphasis on praying to God as “Father”.

In the SOM (Mat 5-7), Jesus instructs the disciples of God’s Fatherhood 15x. In this passage context block of Matthew 6:1-15 alone, Jesus calls attention to God as Father 8x. Matthew’s Gospel as a whole is 44x, which is significant since it was written to a Jewish audience who would have considered such personal language of YWH God as blasphemous.[3]

  • Your Father will reward & hear you… (Matthew 6:5-9)
  • Your Father loves you beyond imagination of all creation (Matthew 10:29-30)

Jesus is teaching a unique point of salvation in becoming adopted children of God. Jesus is the way to the Father and when we trust Jesus we become adopted children and heirs. To approach God as Father is a humbling privilege. It would have been unparalleled in Jesus’ day. Even today, Jews, Muslims and other religions would view naming God in such a personal way as blasphemous. And, regardless of modern religion’s universalism God is not everyone’s Father. He is only the Father to those who believe in His Son. Remember, Jesus commands us in this prayer to “hallow” or honor God’s name. Ultimately, to name God “Father” is something someone better be sure they indeed have the right to do such.

John 1:12 “To all who received him, who believed in his name, he gave power to become children of God”

John 14:6 “Jesus said, I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (cf. also 14:8-13; 15:16; 16:23-28)

Romans 8:15 “For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, ‘Abba! Father!’”

Galatians 4:4-5 “God sent forth his Son…so that we might receive adoption as sons”

J.I. Packer says (Growing in Christ, p.169) “Let your thoughts move to and fro like an accelerating pendulum, taking ever wider swings. ‘He’s my Father – and he’s God in heaven; he’s God in heaven – and he’s my Father! It’s beyond belief – but it’s true!’ Grasp this, or rather let is grasp you; then tell God what you feel about it; and that will be the worship which our Lord wanted to evoke when he gave us this thought-pattern for the invocation of the One who is both his Father and ours.”

Martin Luther says (The Sermon on the Mount, translated by Jaroslav Pelikan, Vol.21 of Luther’s Works. Concordia, 1956, p.234), “He knows that we are timid and shy, that we feel unworthy and unfit to present our needs to God…We think that God is so great and we are so tiny that we do not dare to pray… That is why Christ wants to lure us away from such timid thoughts, to remove our doubts, and to have us go ahead confidently and boldly.”

  • What does God’s Fatherhood and intimacy in my prayer life mean in practice?
  • God is a Person not a philosophy, therefore prayer is personal, powerful, and real. Prayer is an on-going conversation with a loved One. In this perspective prayer is delight and not drudgery.
    Richard Foster in Prayer, says, “Our problem is that we assume prayer is something to master the way we master algebra or auto mechanics. That puts us in the ‘on-top’ position, where we are competent and in control. But when praying, we come ‘underneath’, where we calmly and deliberately surrender control and become incompetent.” (pp.7-8). Foster goes on to say, “Simple Prayer is necessary, even essential, to the spiritual life. The only way we move beyond ‘self-centered prayer’ (if indeed we ever do) is by going through it, not by making a detour around it.” (p.11). Prayer is learned by praying not just talking about it. It is to be spontaneous, simple & sincere.
  • God is caring & compassionate not abstract or removed (Luke 11:13; 12:30, 32). Prayer grows to become a yielding of my plans to God’s perfect purposes.
  • As a child, I should honor and defend Him (Matthew 6:9-10). Prayer becomes praise unto the Lord.
  • As a child, I can trust His will in every circumstance (Matt 6:25-34; James 1:17). My prayer life reveals my spiritual pulse, showing faith in God.
  • As one of His children, I should resemble my Father (1Peter 1:16). My prayer life becomes part of my sanctification to shape my affections, beliefs, character, desires.
  • As a child, I shall expect instruction, affirmation and discipline (Hebrews 12). Prayer reminds me who is in charge.

#3 Jesus starts with 3 God-centered statements of praise.

  • God’s name be hallowed. The identity and personhood of God be reverenced (Hebrews 5:7c)
  • God’s kingdom come. The kingdom of God to be displayed in word & deed (Mk 1:15; Lk 4:43)
  • God’s will be done. The will of God and his commands to be obeyed perfectly
  • Prayer is less about getting desires met and more about deepening relationship with the Divine Being.
  • Stop worrying and Start worshippingTRUST (Matthew 6:25-34).

#4 Jesus ends with 3 human need based statements of petition.
Requesting God to meet our needs (not greeds) is appropriate. However, these requests are ways we can express our faith, trust and glory in the Father.

  • Provision for bread (material needs)
  • Pardon for sin (spiritual needs)
  • Protection from evil (guidance in daily living)
  • What significance is there starting our prayers by focusing on God than ourselves? Is it mere flattery before request; or… is a means to remind us of our own motives as well as inform us about God’s character & capability?
  • God is listening. What would you like to tell Him? ask Him?

#5 Prayer is doxology (worship), therefore my prayers should be disciplined.
In some of the later manuscripts is added the doxological ending to the prayer, “For yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory, forever, Amen.” It seems this was not in the early manuscripts but added later with the purpose of bringing a full conclusion to the prayer. There is nothing theologically wrong with this ending, just that it was likely not in the original and only found in later manuscripts. Perhaps it stems from the prayer found in 1Chronicles 29:11-1311 Yours, Lord, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the splendor and the majesty, for everything in the heavens and on earth belongs to You. Yours, Lord, is the kingdom, and You are exalted as head over all. 12 Riches and honor come from You, and You are the ruler of everything. In Your hand are power and might, and it is in Your hand to make great and to give strength to all. 13 Now therefore, our God, we give You thanks and praise Your glorious name.”

  • Kingdom, Power, Glory – what do these words have to do with prayer?
  • What do you pray about most?
  • If prayer is worship, what role does it have in your personal life and in our corporate worship?
    • Do you pray on Saturday PM / Sun AM to prepare your heart for worship?
    • Do you enter the sanctuary casually or considerately that you will be meeting with God?
    • Do you pray for the worship team, the preacher, Bible Group teachers, and other church ministry leaders during your week?

APPLY/THINK

  • Are you a child of God? There is an invitation to receive the Father.
  • Are you a prodigal of God? There is restoration with the Father.
  • Is prayer a first resort or a last-second rescue; what commitments of prioritizing prayer will you make?

[1] J.I. Packer, Knowing God, 201.

[2] A Praying Life, p.45.

[3] References of God as Father in Matthew: 44x; Mark: 3x; Luke: 16x; John: 121x for a total of 184x.

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