Pray with Jesus: Praise to Our Father (Matthew 6)

PLAY AUDIO: 

MOTIVATE

  • Going slow is not good if you’re impatient but does reap benefits.
    • cooking: crock pot, smoking meat, marinades, etc.
    • driving to seek: cruisin… , real estate hunting…
    • relationships & romance… many that start fast will end awfully
    • reading Scripture & prayer
      • Read Lord’s Prayer without rush; each word & phrase is essential and enlightening
      • Matthew 6:5-13 Praying With Jesus: Praising Our Father In Heaven
      • Use booklet for recording notes, reflecting on Spirit’s voice, and reviewing with others

EXAMINE           2 principles lords prayer_logo

#1 Prayer and praise are both personal and communal actions.

“Our Father”; “Give us”; “forgive us… as we forgive”; “lead us…deliver us”          NOT: I,my, mine…

As noted in the context (6:1-5), prayer is personal. Jesus condemned the Pharisees for their public and showy spiritual actions. And Jesus exhorted believers to pray in private ways (go into your room and shut the door) where only the Father could see. However, as much as prayer is personal there is a public nature to prayer. Jesus modeling and teaching prayer with the disciples is the first reality. This prayer is not just Lord’s Prayer but could potentially be labeled “Disciples’ Prayer” due to its intent and context; it’s for disciples of Jesus to learn how to pray. The Lord’s Prayer is better reflected in John 17 when Jesus is doing all the praying. Additionally, the gathered church is expressed to pray in the early church and expected to do so today.

Ultimately, we see Jesus teaching the disciples about prayer from the perspective in a community of faith. Throughout the Lord’s model prayer the plurality of believers is referenced and assumed as praying in cohort: “Our Father”; “Give us”; “forgive us… as we forgive”; “lead us…deliver us”. Jesus does not teach the hyper-individualism that we often see in modern Christianity. It would seem His purpose is to help us see interdependence of His people on God and each other in shared faith and experience.

There is great value of Christian community. Jesus died for the believer and the body of believers. Jesus gave both believer and body His commission. In fact, reading the NT it would seem foreign to those believers to not be an actual member of a local body of believers. Further, my prayer life has been instructed and strengthened by praying with other believers.

  • Prayer with others is meant for strength and not as substitute for private prayer.
  • Prayer with others is meant to protect against careless or mindless wandering.
  • Prayer with others reminds us of the larger family of God who loves to meet needs through His people.
  • God hears the many prayers of one, but He also is attentive to the one prayer of many. One person has a mouth to God’s ears but multiple persons have a megaphone.
    • What are some things the early church prayed for?
      • unity of faith and mission (Acts 1:8-14; 2:42-47)
      • regular prayer (Acts 3:1; 10:2, 9; 16:16; )
      • addition of leadership (Acts 1:23-26; 6:1-6; 14:23)
      • praise of God and bold advancement of His kingdom (Acts 4:23-31)
      • receiving the Spirit and spiritual growth (Samaritans Acts 8:14-17; Saul to Paul 9:11; Cornelius 10:2, 30)
      • deliverance from evil (Acts 8:18-24 Simon from evil spirits)
      • revival from dead (Acts 9:40)
      • missionary awakening & revival movements (Acts 13:1-3)
      • praise of God even in difficult circumstance (Acts 12:5 Peter in prison; 16:25)
      • spiritual encouragement among friends (Acts 20:36-38; 21:5)
      • for daylight (Acts 27:29)
      • for healing of others (Acts 28:8)
  • What are some things SPBC prayed for and has seen answered
    • prayer for pastor & unity
    • prayer for worship director – Kera Day
    • prayer for heart transplant for Katie Bigelow, Kim & Jim Kissling’s daughter
    • prayer for youth ministry – Zach Villafuerte
    • prayer for international mission focus – Nicaragua discerned
    • prayer for mission partnerships in Baltimore: JORB, The Well
  • Challenge to Bible Groups to spend time during & outside for persistent prayer.

#2 Prayer and praise protect the name of God.

“Father”

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. This is why Matthew’s Gospel, written to a Jewish audience, is significant referencing the Fatherhood of God 44x.[1]

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.

What right do we have to address God, our Creator and Sovereign, with such an intimate name?

Consider the infinite and eternal Creator who “dwells in unapproachable light” (1Tim 6:16)

Solomon’s question, “Will God dwell indeed with man on the earth? Behold, heaven and the highest heaven cannot contain thee…” (2Chron 6:18)

Isaiah 40:25 “Who will you compare me to, or who is my equal? asks the Holy One”

Isaiah 57:15 “For the High and Exalted One who lives forever, whose name is Holy says this: ‘I live in a high and holy place and with the oppressed and lowly of spirit, to revive the spirit of the lowly and revive the heart of the oppressed.”

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

We may be tempted not to pray, thinking God is too transcendent or intentionally distant. Yet Jesus tells us to pray to our Father in Heaven – perfectly combining the everyday with eternity, the simple with the spectacular.

A child with a dad/father is a confident child.

à We can pray with confidence; God is our Abba
Hebrews 4:16 “Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.”

1John 5:14 “And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us.”

à We can pray with boldness because our Father is in heaven.
All the resources of heaven are available to us from God (Ephesians 1:3). Jesus gives an open invitation for our prayer lives: “Ask whatever” (John 15:7); “Ask… seek… knock…” (Mat 7:7). Boldness = Unambiguous.

à Ultimately, are you a son or daughter of God? Is God your Father?

“in heaven”

The fact that God is in heaven is somewhat a reference to an earlier comment of Jesus saying, “your Father knows what you need before you ask Him” (Matt 6:8). God in heaven knows all and our prayers do not enlighten or surprise Him. That does not mean prayer is irrelevant.

  • ex: I may predict what my wife will say bc I know her well but we still have conversation. Likewise, we are to pray to God to communicate our hearts as well as to commit ourselves to God’s will.

God’s heavenly sovereignty is simply a reminder to the One whom we pray.

  • God in heaven implies
    • we have limited wisdom but God has ceaseless wisdom
      • God’s wisdom to answer prayers understands what’s best for me and 6 billion others.
    • we have limited control but God has complete control
      • God’s control to answer prayer teaches us trust, patience, humility
    • we have limited love but God has comprehensive love
      • God’s love to answer prayers understands what/when/where/how we most need

“hallowed be your name”

To hallow something means to declare it holy, acknowledge & set it apart from other names. As the created, we do not make something holy but simply recognize it as such. Therefore, Jesus is teaching us to acknowledge and prioritize life according to the identity and person of God.

Exodus 20:7 “Do not misuse the name of the Lord your God, because the Lord will punish anyone who misuses His name.”

 

Leviticus 22:31-32 “You are to keep my commands and do them; I am the Lord. You must not profane my holy name; I must be treated as holy among the Israelites. I am the Lord who sets you apart”

 

Ezekiel 36:16-23 16 The word of the Lord came to me: 17 “Son of man, while the house of Israel lived in their land, they defiled it with their conduct and actions. Their behavior before Me was like menstrual impurity. 18 So I poured out My wrath on them because of the blood they had shed on the land, and because they had defiled it with their idols. 19 I dispersed them among the nations, and they were scattered among the countries. I judged them according to their conduct and actions. 20 When they came to the nations where they went, they profaned My holy name, because it was said about them: These are the people of the Lord, yet they had to leave His land [in exile] . 21 Then I had concern for My holy name, which the house of Israel profaned among the nations where they went. 22 “Therefore, say to the house of Israel: This is what the Lord God says: It is not for your sake that I will act, house of Israel, but for My holy name, which you profaned among the nations where you went. 23 I will honor the holiness of My great name, which has been profaned among the nations—the name you have profaned among them. The nations will know that I am Yahweh”—the declaration of the Lord God—“when I demonstrate My holiness through you in their sight.”

à We hallow God’s name through a boomerang lifestyle. A boomerang goes out and returns to the owner; so our life is to return glory to God our creator. – – – > Praise: without praise to God, life is like plagiarism[2]

Psalm 115:1 “Not unto us O Lord, but unto thy name give glory”

“In the same way let your light shine before men, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven.” Matthew 5:16

Matthew 28:19 “baptize in the name of the Father, and the Son and the Holy Spirit”

– Christian baptism is an initial act of obedience to hallow God’s name.

“Your kingdom come, “Your will be done”

Jesus speaks frequently about the kingdom. The kingdom is about the King’s dominion (dominance or rule). It is the reality that there is not a measure of space where God’s reign is not over. So, the prayer is for earth to recognize God’s kingship in every sphere of life and starting with our own heart.

Likewise, to pray God’s will be done is recognition that He is Lord of all and we are His servant, sent to accomplish His purposes. We glorify God and hallow His name when we advance His kingdom reign and obey His will.

CS Lewis said, “There are only two kinds of people in the end: those who say to God ‘Thy will be done’ and those whom God says in the end, ‘Thy will be done’.”

à Whose reputation matters more – yours or God’s? Are you profaning God’s name to praise your own? Are you willing to risk your reputation so that God’s may be lifted up?

à How do you/are we to know God’s will? (Scriptures. That’s why praying Scripture is important & helpful.)

“on earth as it is in heaven”

Notice each of the first three [God-focused] petitions are what God already purposes to do – these are already being done in heaven. So, Jesus teaches us to pray that these would also be done on earth. In other words, our prayer matter and have power to alter the present.

à God’s kingdom starts now; our submission to God on earth will result in rewards in eternity.

  • Pray “not my will but your will” (Luke 22:42).
  • Pray to seek God’s kingdom first and lay up treasures in heaven (Matt 6:20, 33)

APPLY/THINK

P.R.A.Y. = Praise. Repent. Ask. Yield.

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

[2] idea from Tim Keller, Prayer: Experiencing Awe and Intimacy with God, p.196.

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