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Your Father Sees What Is Done in Secret.

In our daily meditations, we continue looking at what Jesus taught His disciples in what’s commonly called the Sermon on the Mount. The Lord goes on to speak about how to live free from hypocrisy and maximize their rewards in the eternal kingdom:

5“And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. 6But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. 7And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. 8Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him. (Matthew 6:5-8, Emphasis added).

In this passage above, Jesus is not decrying public prayer, but again, it is the motivation to be seen by man—the Lord uses a strong word—they love to pray to be seen by others. They will receive their reward, but their full reward is not the reward of God but the seeking to influence men. The man rewarded by God hides his prayer life from men. Prayer can be done by rote, and the heart can be removed from the sincerity and transparency in prayer that influences God. There are those today in every culture who believe that God answers prayer according to how many times it is repeated, but how often is your spouse influenced by requests mindlessly repeated? Can you imagine trying to influence people with multitudes of requests—why do we think the Holy God, who knows all things, hears and sees all things, can be influenced by rote, heartless prayer? The Lord reminds us that He knows what you need before you even take the time to ask Him (v. 8). Brothers and sisters in the Lord, we are almost certainly praying to ourselves when we pray without having our hearts in it.

In my ministry of teaching small group leaders, I have often taught people to pray publicly by modeling one-sentence prayers because prayers can degrade into focusing on words to sound fancy to the hearers in the room. This desire to look good to others and to impress people with our vocabulary doesn't impress God. I well remember the time when we invited a young, newly converted couple to dinner at our house. They were so thankful that we asked them to dinner that they wanted to return the favor. When we got to their home, they had taken lots of time to clean and prepare a beautiful meal. Just as we had modeled to them, they waited until the food was in front of us before asking me to pray and bless the food. I replied that it is the custom in England for the host of the home to be the one to thank God and bless the food. The young man gulped and went for it, saying, "Thank you, God, for our friends and this food," and with another gulp, he said, "And…See you Sunday." I really believe that God was blessed with that prayer. Heartfelt, sincere prayer touches God's heart more than eloquent prayer.

The Lord qualifies His words on prayer by giving us an example of prayer:

9“This, then, is how you should pray: “‘Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, 10your kingdom come, your will be done, on Earth as it is in heaven. 11Give us today our daily bread. 12And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. 13And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.’ 14For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins (Matthew 6:9-15).

What is commonly called the “Lord’s Prayer” is not a prayer that Jesus would pray. After all, He never had to pray for God to forgive His sins (John 8:46). It should be called the “Disciples Prayer,” and even then, I believe it was not a rote prayer to pray over and again but a model prayer. It certainly is not wrong to pray with the exact words, but we should understand that any prayer we speak to God should be based on the principles of this model prayer. Jesus started the model prayer by directing our hearts heavenward by calling God with the very intimate term "Father." This approach to God was not common at the time. God was referred to as the Father of the nation of Israel, but He was never referred to with this name by a singular person. Many Christians have become so used to it that we do not understand how shocking this is to people of a different culture who had always viewed God as far-off. It is a good time to stop what you are doing and reflect on the thought that, if you are a believer in the Lord Jesus, God is your Loving Father. Keith Thomas.


This meditation is from the complete study found at the following link:


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