Monday, April 16, 2018

Keys to the Kingdom – The Sermon on the Mount - 09 PRAYER

Oh how desperately we need to pray! Nothing is more crucial, more central, or more necessary. However, what if we claim to address God but fail to seek only His attention and approval? One who prays to be seen by men, no matter how long, fluently or eloquently he prays, is a hypocrite. Jesus starts with the “why” of prayer, and then He moves to the “where” and the “how.”
Reading: Matt 6:5-15
“Pray So Grandma Can Hear”
Not as the Hypocrites
“They love to pray.” Anything wrong with that?
Outwardly, officially, and ostensibly to God, but …
Inwardly, really, to get man’s attention and praise.
Hypo (under) + krites (mask) = Gk. play actors.
They pray to prey! To promote and publicize self.
The reward they seek is the only reward they get.
Not as the Hypocrites
Mk 12:38 In His teaching He was saying: “Beware of the scribes who like to walk around in long robes, and like respectful greetings in the market places, 39 and chief seats in the synagogues and places of honor at banquets, 40 who devour widows’ houses, and for appearance’s sake offer long prayers; these will receive greater condemnation.”
Not as the Hypocrites
Mt 23:5-12 Woe!
Mt 23:5 “But they do all their deeds to be noticed by men; for they broaden their phylacteries and lengthen the tassels of their garments.”
Small square leather boxes or cases. Each held four strips of parchment inscribed with quotations from the books of the Law. Worn by every male Israelite above 13 years of age during morning prayer, except on Sabbaths and holidays.
Ex 13:1–10; 13:11–16; Dt 6:4–9; 11:13–21
“… bind them on your hand, on your forehead …”
Not as the Gentiles
Praying by rote, routine, ritual, and repetition.
Multiplying vain, empty, meaningless words.
Expecting to be heard due to their prayers’ length.
Instead –
Pray sincerely. Not for show.
Pray secretly. In your closet.
Pray simply. No words to impress.
Pray spiritually. To God and for God.
1. Intimacy
“Our Father …”
Why not Creator, King, Master, Judge?
Accessible. Wise. Powerful. Protective. Nurturing.
Authoritative. Instructive. Role model. Head.
Rom 8:14-17, esp. 8:15; Gal 4:6-7. “Abba.”
“Because You are my Father I …”
2. Reverence
“… in heaven, hallowed be Your name.”
Balance: near as Father, yet above and set apart.
Worthy of awe, wonder, adoration, amazement.
We bow. We tremble. We obey. We surrender.
God’s name = His identity, character, person.
“I revere You because -” “Because I revere You -”
3. Submission
“… Your kingdom come, Your will be done …”
Parallel phrases. The second interprets the first.
God’s Kingdom = God’s rule. His will = His desire.
Domain and dominion. Realm and reign.
Church: the people God rules. Matt 16:16-18
“Father, rule my heart, marriage, work, money …”
4. Petition
“Give us each day our daily bread.”
Requests follow intimacy, reverence, submission.
Nothing is too small or trivial.
Possible reference to manna, given daily.
Pray for God to give you what you work to gain.
“Father God, just for today …” Strength, joy, etc.
5. Contrition
“And forgive us our debts …”
Obligations resulting from our misdeeds.
We hear: “Prisoner paid his debt to society.”
Sin costs. We owe. We confess. God pardons.
Dismiss, let go, send away, remit. Ac 2:38
“I beg You, cancel the valid charges against me.”
6. Condition
“… as we also have forgiven our debtors.”
“As” = in like manner, to the same extent.
If you have not forgiven, God will not forgive you.
You and I cannot afford not to forgive!
The unforgiver is unforgiven. Mt 18:21-35
“Father, I have forgiven ______ for _________.”
7. Dependence
“And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from evil.”
Parallel phrases. The second interprets the first.
“Do not take us where we would be tempted.”
“That is, keep us away, protect us from evil.”
“Father, steer me clear of ________.”
8. Security
“For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.” (Not in all Gk. manuscripts.)
Yours is the kingdom. Reign in me!
Yours is the power. Work in me!
Yours is the glory. Shine in me!
In His Own Words
Lk 22:40 When He arrived at the place, He said to them, “Pray that you may not enter into temptation.” 41 And He withdrew from them about a stone’s throw, and He knelt down and began to pray, 42 saying, “Father, if You are willing, remove this cup from Me; yet not My will, but Yours be done.”
Intimacy. Submission. Petition. Dependence.
Possible hymns:
Hear Me When I Call
Purer in Heart, O God
Listen to Our Hearts
Did You Think to Pray?
Father, Hear Thy Children’s Call
Sweet Hour of Prayer

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