Private Victory Before Public Victory - Prayer
Read Matthew 6:5-8
As Jesus starts his teaching on prayer he immediately calls out what not to do. Prayer is so dynamic there is a tremendous freedom in how we can approach the the great creator and talk with our Father who is in Heaven. Jesus immediately calls out those who are hypocrites ( hypokritēs in greek meaning stage actor ) because they loved to pray in places where they would be seen and their audience was those in front of them with adoration as their reward. We are in a community that we can not avoid while on earth. We all live a public life that includes those we want to leave a positive impression on for good reasons.
- Who are the people in our life that we want to leave a positive impression on? Why?
- How does that desire to make a good impression change what we say or do?
- What are some situations where we tempted to try and impress others when we are praying? (most of us are not praying in the synagogues and on the street corners)
For many prayer does not come natural and we can be uncertain about how we talk to God. Jesus provides an insight into an approach to prayer that gives us a place to start.
The prayer is communal in nature and not from a first person perspective. He guides us in a way to pray that touches on key areas of our lives and everyone can apply to their life.
- Recognizing who we are really talking to, who he is, and a desire for him to be honored.
- Expressing His Will and Rule to be followed in his world. - What situations in the world we are living in are examples of his will being fulfilled or not being lived out?
- Reminding us of God's manna, helping us not to have a spirit of scarcity, reminding ourselves that God is the source of all our needs even if we cant 'see' it.
- Forgiveness, talking about the things in our lives that we know are not in step with God's spirit.
- Lastly, and the only part Jesus added a follow up to, what do we need to forgive others for. It's hard to stay mad at someone when you pray for them. Pray for yourself to forgive and pray for their spiritual well-being. Not only did Jesus re-inforce praying for forgiveness for others but declared the lack of this aspect of prayer will mean a lack of forgiveness for you. The only part of prayer that has a consequence if not included.
- Who do you need to forgive? Why is it so hard? God wants to know those pains and hurts, talk to him about that.
- Jesus prayed in public and lived out the lords prayer in his actions. What were some examples of how Jesus lived that expressed the lords prayer?
Let's do the same.