The Model Prayer

* The following was taught at our recent Friday Night Youth Meeting

The Model Prayer  (Matthew  6:5-15)

And when you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites. For they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, that they may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.

And when you pray, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do, for they think that they will be heard for their many words.    Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.  Pray then like this:

Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name
Your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread,
and forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.

 For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses

Jesus begins teaching us how NOT to pray.

  1. DO NOT PRAY LIKE A HYPOCRITE

What is a hypocrite?

A hypocrite in this text is referring to Greek actors who wore different masks to play various roles. Who pretends to be a certain way, but really acts and believes the total opposite. Doing the right things for the wrong reason.

Jesus was criticizing mostly the Pharisees. How they prayed.

That’s good that they are praying but they are praying for the wrong reasons.

They pray at the synagogues and on street corners because they can be seen by others.

They did it so they can boast, their pride and self righteousness is pumped up.

Jesus tells us to go into any private room and to pray to God the Father. That way you are not motivated to pray for the wrong reasons.

  1. DO NOT PRAY LIKE A GENTILE, WHO PRAYS WITH EMPTY REPITITION OF WORDS AND PHRASES

Jesus tells us to not pray like the Gentiles  because they repeat the names of their gods or the same words over and over without thinking. For example, “Zeus Zeus”.  The members of my mom’s family are Buddhists and they repeat “Good luck” over 99 times to a Buddha in order to be  blessed. The gentiles think God hears them because of the many words they speak. God does not act where meaningless chatter is used.  DO NOT BE LIKE THEM.   God is omniscient and knows what you need before you ask him. Since He is omniscient he is able to know what you will pray about before you even do.

Jesus says “Pray like this.”  so that Matthew  6:5-15 is a model for prayer.

Let’s begin with Our Father in heaven,

This is a relationship prayer. It is an intimate relationship with Him. It is for those who have been redeemed by the precious blood of Jesus.” Our Father,”  Father in Aramaic is “Abba”. It is not “Abba daddy” like you’re a baby sucking his thumb” No it is OUR FATHER, the one who sent His Son Jesus Christ to die on the cross for our sins and punishment. When you pray, you are in His presence. You are speaking to Your Father. THE GOD who saved you. Come into His presence with reverence and highest respect because of who He is. You must know who God is in order to come into His presence with reverence.

“In heaven.” Our father is in heaven. This means our father rules everything.

Our first petition as believer to God is that God’s name would be hallowed. That God would be treated with the highest honor and set apart as holy. Paul Washer says “hallow” means that God’s name will be put in a separate category. This category must be regarded as the highest name ever and to be treated with highest respect. Holy Holy Holy is the LORD.

2nd petition is that God’s kingdom will come. This kingdom is the reign of Christ in the hearts and lives of believers, that we may increasingly reflect his love, obey his laws, honor him, do good to all people, and proclaim the good news of the kingdom. It is also a petition for God to save souls.

3rd petition: “Your will be done on earth as it in heaven”.

God`s Will is manifested in two ways: God’s hidden will and God’s revealed will. God’s hidden will is his providence. God’s revealed will is what we learn from the whole of Scripture itself.   In an article,  R.C Sproul says “When Jesus prays for God’s will to be done on earth as it is in heaven, He is asking for men to follow God’s perceptive will, by the Spirit’s grace, like the angels and saints in heaven. Praying for God’s will to be done is to ask for people everywhere to love His law.”

4th petition is “Give us our daily bread”. God will provide his people`s physical needs meaning food for instance.

5th petition: “Forgive us our sins, as we also forgive our debtors”

Jesus says that if you forgive others their sins, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.

Now asking God to forgive us our sin is not asking for salvation.   This involves our communion with God the Father. When you have sinned against God and you want to repent and confess your sins to restore that communion, you must make sure you have extended forgiveness to others. Keep in mind that God has forgiven all of your past present and future sins so when someone has sinned against you and repents and seeks your forgiveness and you do not grant it, you’re being a hypocrite.

God takes it serious when you are not willing to forgive those who have sinned against you.  In which case GOD WILL NOT FORGIVE YOU.   Your bitterness and hypocrisy will hinder your relationship and communion with God. This can have serious consequences such as was seen with Ananias and Sapphira.   Be careful when you partake of the Lords’ supper since personal bitterness and hypocrisy can lead to divine chastisement. You do not lose your salvation but not forgiving people can result in a break of communion with God and make matters worse with the person you are not willing to forgive.  You can’t pray the Lord`s prayer with any sense of conviction if you won’t forgive others since this prayer assumes that you have already or are prepared to forgive those who have sinned against you.

6th petition: “And lead us not into temptation. but deliver us from evil.”

This does mean that God entices us to sin because we know from what James  1:13 – 15 teaches that is not possible  “Let no one say when he is tempted, I am being tempted by God, for God cannot be tempted with evil, for he himself tempts no one. This temptation occurs when we are lured and enticed by our own desire.   Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin and sin when its fully grown forth death.”   This temptation happens when believers find themselves in circumstances that can lead us to sin. For example Adam and Eve were tempted by Satan to take the fruit from the forbidden tree, Job was tempted by Satan to curse God.   We are asking God to spare us from difficult circumstances that may result in sin.   May we pray that God will deliver us from Satan and our own wicked fallen nature.

Do you know how to pray?

Are you praying for the right reasons?

This prayer is a model for us.

Are you praying this prayer?

Is your prayer hypocritical?

Have you not forgiven those who have sinned against you?

This is a prayer for those who have been redeemed by the blood of Jesus

Are you born again?

Do you believe in the Gospel?

Is God your Father?

Are you in a relationship with God?   To be in a relationship with God you must be born again.

Only God can bring you into a saving relationship with Himself.  You must believe in the gospel. The Gospel means that God sent Jesus Christ to be born from a virgin, to live a perfect holy life without sin, He who knew no sin and who began his ministry after being baptized by John the Baptist.   His ministry lasted three years where at the end He was betrayed by Judas and delivered up to be crucified on the cross where He took all our sins and punishment upon Himself. He rose from death on the third day and later met with his disciples and 500 other witnesses, and ascended to heaven and now sits on the right hand of God.

May you believe this gospel that I have shared with you so that you may be granted eternal life and hallow His name for the remainder of your life.

 

 

A Reality Check

“This is monumental street theatre” Laflamme explained last week, adding that he wants to see people experience the spectacle through the eyes of a child. That was the idea behind the much publicized mechanical spider, Kumo and the horse dragon, affectionately known as Long Ma. Though, I never saw these mechanical beasts up close, I did expect something more, not too sure how much these theatrical beasts that stand over 60 feet tall be made to look real anyway. I guess I expected to see less hydraulic and mechanical machinery alongside of it propelling it forward, or maybe keeping it hidden underneath the contraption might help. Even so, it was a spectacle for the eyes. It was quite a production where the illusory invaded our senses for a few hours of entertainment and sparked all our imaginations.

But back in the real world we think much differently. Careful thought must be given to keep reality apart from illusion and when it is not ambiguity sets in with appalling consequences. Just ask a question where moral judgment is required, and the impression you receive is that no one has a right to judge other people’s actions, yet conjointly you are reassured you have a right to your own personal opinion (If you are unsure how to reconcile both you are not alone). Ask about God, and some find no reason to distinguish one belief from another since they think God makes no distinctions, no more than for instance, when you select a set of gloves, where one size fits all — meaning that God is not judicious but accepts all religions, regardless of creeds, practises, dogmas, convictions even were significant differences are obvious especially salvation doctrine — contemporary thinkers see no actual need to conform to divine standards. Man tells us to assume divine acceptance regardless of the myriad of belief systems. Yet, wanting to maintain an uncompromised position about Bible truths where sound judgment enables correct knowledge of life issues does leave you at risk of being castigated as a non-conformist and uncaring. Some would prefer for you to jump aboard a virtual merry-go-round of ideas and speculative thought where no one really knows for sure if anything is even objectionable or you even have a basis on which to decide. Relativism can only produce a maze of conjectures with the promise that nothing is certain. Recently, some adolescents were surveyed to see what they believed about incest, whether it was wrong. They could not form a clear opinion, since on one hand it meant that absolute standards do exist which they were unprepared to accept, yet, it also meant that something unlawful and morally reprehensible would leave them on the outs of mainstream thought. In which case, they said that if it is between two consenting adults and no offspring is produced that may lead to physical deformities than they could find no objections though they themselves would not participate. That is where the next generation is headed! Now is high time for some reality checks.

When God’s Word is our supreme authority and is operative in our lives, life can be enjoyed with a clear conscience. Jesus Christ is our Sovereign Ruler. He alone is capable to decide what is right and honourable since He was without sin and understood truth. The Bible teaches us HE is truth so anything He says can be counted on for clear direction on how we are to think and act in this life. In the Lord’s day, His Words were not always well received and at times ran contrary to popular opinion, even though He did warn about the deception and treachery found in this world. His warning is a precursor for our lives today. When money and power are involved where money can be made, hucksters abound and are always looking to profit from religion. Quick profit schemes are well reported and many have been victimized by them. The pitch goes something like this “send me X number of dollars and you will receive a blessing from God.” When, in fact, it is another false preacher who cares nothing about the true gospel and you. Jesus cautioned us that many false prophets will appear and deceive many people (Matt. 24:11) The vast majority of religious teachers on Christian television teach a false gospel. Joyce Meyers, Jesse Duplantis, Creflo Dollar who brazenly teaches that we are all little gods, Joel Osteen denies human depravity, Myles Munroe invalidates God’s power, Benny Hinn, Paula White who teaches that Jesus is not the only Begoten Son of God, and Kennneth Copeland teaches an unbiblical view of man, of God and of the atonement. These false teachers are mostly from Word of Faith Movement and largely heretical. Wolves in sheeps clothing describe them best. Sad as all this is, there is something even worse like the fact that audiences choose to have a false gospel preached to them rather than the true one (2 Tim. 4:3, 4).

The true Gospel does not promise what the faith hearers and prosperity preachers claim. Instead, the Gospel may cause you to experience trials and sufferings previously unknown to you. Recorded instances of tongues, healings prophecy (foretelling), apostolic gifts was not evidenced in Scripture after AD 62 and most probably had ceased. So what can we expect from the Gospel?

You can expect forgiveness of sin and the promise of eternal life. You can assume hardships along the way. God is glorified when His children suffer. Sometimes God makes people sick, poor, and health defects, Who gave man his mouth? Who gives makes him deaf or mute? Who gives him sight or makes him blind? Is it not I, the LORD? ( Exodus 4:11). A young teen had severe cerebral palsy. Matthew has a digital computer to communicate, trapped in a body that he cannot control, and will never improve or get better. At eleven years of age, God miraculously saved Him! Matt would accompany his Father to open air preach together. He is enrolled in Bible classes. Matt knows this life is short but has all eternity to live with Christ. He has a changed heart, regenerated, genuine faith. Many Christians across the world live under severe conditions, know the favor of God, not because of their improved or for that matter declined condition of health or wealth but because of the favor God has demonstrated when salvation has been granted to you. Being saved is by far the greatest gift. It is never about having the best life now, but about the gospel to authenticate His life in you and seal your fate for eternity. Trust Him today and repent from your sins that you may have eternal life and clear direction for what lies ahead.