Saturday, November 19, 2011

Valuing the Inner and Outer Actions

The context of this week's Sunday school lesson from Matthew 6:5-15 is prayer. Jesus continues to provide instructions on living a life of righteousness. He says when we pray, do not be like the hypocrites. Vain- glory and vain-repetitions were faults in prayer of the Scribes and Pharisee. They loved to pray standing in public places near large assembles and on the street corners for the purpose of being seen. It was a way for them to show proof of their personal status. God opposes those who are proud (James 4:6). Jesus was not condemning prayer; He condemned praying for the wrong reasons; Prayer for showmanship. Prayers are to be sincere. "A proper idea of prayer is, a pouring out of the soul unto God, as a free-will offering, solemnly and eternally dedicated to him, accompanied with the most earnest desire that it may know, love, and serve him alone. Prayer is the language of dependence (A Commentary and Critical Note)."

When Christians pray they should find that secret place to convene with God, away from others and outside distractions - shut out the surroundings. God knows the secrets (the real desires) of our hearts. The Father will answer according to the real desires, not the words of prayers. There was no specific time given, allowing freedom for individuals with desire to communicate at various times or as needed. We should pray when the Spirit prompts us to pray; when we feel like praying; when nothing can satisfy the soul but prayer.

As we pray we should remember that God our Father knows everything, so there is no need to beg Him with repetitious words. He already knows what we need before we can ask Him (Matthew 6:8). Verses 9-13 is a model prayer. It expresses the manner in which we should pray, not the exact words or petitions, but the substance of our petitions. When we study the model prayer, we find God is addressed as "Our Father." God is our Father; He is the Creator and Great Parent of all; the Preserver of human family and Provider of their wants; the Father of those He has adopted into His family, the true followers of Christ and became heirs of eternal life (Romans 8:14-17). "Hallowed be thy name" expresses that all men, especially worshiper should give Him respect and proper honor. "Thy will be done" shares that it is God's desire for men to obey his law and be holy - live in righteousness on earth. We should notice from these two verses that God's glory and kingdom is more significant than our wants and these thoughts should be in our hearts and voiced first, when we pray.

"Give us this day our daily bread" indicates our dependence on God to supply everything
necessary to sustain life, day after day. "Debts" refer to sins or offenses against God and only God can forgive. However, the measure by which we may be forgiven is dependent on our willingness to forgive others.

"Thine is the kingdom" speaks to the fact that God reigns in heaven and earth; He has control of all things; He can order them to move as He desires. God has the power to accomplish what we ask. In all His actions, His goodness, honor and glory will be displayed, and given praise. Give God the glory!

Prayer is the soul's sincere desire,
Unuttered or expressed,
The motion of a hidden fire
That trembles in the breast:
Prayer is the burden of a sigh,
The falling of a tear,
The upward gleaming of an eye,
When none but God is near
Prayer is the simplest form of speech
That infant lips can try;
Prayer, the sublimest strains that reach
The Majesty on high:
Prayer is the Christian's vital breath,
The Christian's native air,
His watch-word at the gates of death,
He enters heaven by prayer
Prayer is the contrite sinner's voice,
Returning from his ways,
While angels in their songs rejoice,
And say, Behold he prays!
The saints in prayer appear as one,
In word, in deed, in mind,
When with the Father and the Son
Their fellowship they find
Nor prayer is made on earth alone:
The Holy Spirit pleads;
And Jesus, on th' eternal throne,
For sinners intercedes
"O Thou, by whom we come to God!
The Life, the Truth, the Way,
The path of prayer thyself hast trod,
Lord, teach us how to pray!"


Beverly Ellis said...

The word of God just blessed my soul. I look forward to these readings and explanations of the scriptures. When you are down, there is a word from the Lord that lifts you up. Thank God for the Word.
Beverly Ellis

Anonymous said...

Thank you for the Word. This has blessed my soul. When I need encouragement, I can go to the site and there is always something said that helps me.

Myrtle said...

You blessed me. Just knowing that someone has read the lesson summary and was inspired by God's word. Now, I am twice blessed.