Matthew 6:7-18 NASB
⁷And when you are praying, do not use meaningless repetition as the Gentiles do, for they suppose that they will be heard for their many words. ⁸So do not be like them; for your Father knows what you need before you ask Him.
⁹Pray, then, in this way: ‘Our Father who is in heaven, Hallowed be Your name.
¹⁰Your kingdom come. Your will be done, On earth as it is in heaven.
¹¹Give us this day our daily bread.
¹²And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.
¹³And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from evil. [For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.’]
¹⁴For if you forgive others for their transgressions, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. ¹⁵But if you do not forgive others, then your Father will not forgive your transgressions.
¹⁶Whenever you fast, do not put on a gloomy face as the hypocrites do, for they neglect their appearance so that they will be noticed by men when they are fasting. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full. ¹⁷But you, when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face ¹⁸so that your fasting will not be noticed by men, but by your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you.
Pray and fast in the service of the Kingdom of God!
It is a misconception that we must persuade God to listen to us. It is a mistake to think that we must persuade God to pay attention to ourselves. That’s a pagan idea.
Matthew 6:5 was about impressing people through our prayers. Instead, we must consciously focus on the LORD. But then by no means to want to impress Him (Matthew 6:7).
We don’t need to get His attention.
He’s had that attention all along!
He has a heart for us and therefore knows what we need (Matthew 6:8).
Again and again Jesus mentions the Lord as our Father (In the Sermon on the Mount, Matthew 5-7, in: 5:16,45,48; 6:1,4,6,8,9,14,15,18,26,32; 7:11). That is how we can also address Him.
And the first thing we ask is, ‘Hallowed be Thy name’.
That is, we properly value what God has made known of Himself. We honor God by giving Him as our Heavenly Father all the confidence of our hearts.
In the prayer Jesus taught, notice the thrice-repeated “your” in Matthew 6:9 and 10 and the words “us” and “our” in Matthew 6:11-13. God’s interests come first.
If that is the case in our lives, then our interests will certainly be in order (Matthew 6:33).
Prayer was sometimes accompanied by fasting (cf. Acts 13:1-3).
He who is not full of all kinds of other things, is more receptive to what God wants to give in his dealings with Him.
This fasting completely overshot its mark, when it had to serve to impress people. If we give up something for God and His service, no one needs think of us as pitiful. No one has to feel sorry for us.
For it is in our association with the LORD that we find our joy (Matthew 6:16-18).
We Christians do not need to stand out, because we are very serious.
Let’s just be simple. For fortunately, we do not have to open the way to God through our earnestness or piety.
It’s the other way around.
In Jesus Christ, the LORD comes to us as a Father seeking His child. We may allow ourselves to be embraced in His arms (cf. John 1:14,18; 14:6).
▪︎What things stand in the way of a pure prayer life? (Compare James 4:1-10.)
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