Calling on King Daddy | Matthew 6:5-15,7:7-11 (Mville)
Topic: New Testament Passage: Matthew 6:5–6:15
Good Morning! We are continuing our series in the Book of Matthew looking at Jesus the promised Savior-King of God’s people. Jesus has begun His public ministry and has now drawn a large crowd to hear his preaching of the gospel of turning from sin to the kingdom of God and his teaching about what that actually looks like. So we are in the middle of this Message of the King. We spent several weeks looking at how the law to love God and love people, while appearing simple, has deep implications over all aspects of our lives. Last week we saw even seemingly pure acts of kindness, devotion, and service can be corrupted when our motives are to receive glory from others rather than directing glory to God. It was, and is, a heavy burden to bear, so we are going to need help to make sure our hearts and our actions are in line with the radical obedience being a citizen of the kingdom of God requires. So Jesus teaching to the crowd and his disciples shifts to clear instructions on prayer, how, what, and why we call out to the King.
Matt 6:5-15 5 “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. 6 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. 7 “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. 8 Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him. 9 Pray then like this:
“Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. 10 Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. 11 Give us this day our daily bread, 12 and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. 13 And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
14 For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, 15 but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.
Matthew 7:7-11 7 “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. 8 For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened.9 Or which one of you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone? 10 Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a serpent? 11 If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him!
What Prayer is and is not v5-9
Prayer is both incredibly natural for us because we were made to commune with God, and yet it is incredibly difficult because sin has distorted our relationship with him. There is a right way and a wrong way to pray. Jesus talks about two wrong ways before laying out the right way. The first wrong way has to do with who the pray is it is focused on, the one who is praying or the one who is being prayed too. When we are overly demonstrative in our prayers we have to ask ourselves who are we actually speaking too, God or those around us. The hypocrites acted like they were so eager to get to pray they were kneeling on the street on their way to the synagogue so everyone else on the way to the gathering would think they were extra holy. When these people prayed they didn’t love getting to talk to God they loved the idea of an audience of people thinking they like talking to God, they were thinking about themselves.
Their reward is praise from others which is meaningless compared to favor from and communion with God. He isn’t condemning public prayer, but He is saying even when we’re together Christians are to pray to an audience of one. Jesus says make sure you are blocking out thoughts of other people and how they might be hearing you and focus on talking to God. This is increasingly difficult to do when you’re with other people. You may need to actually retreat to a quiet time and place. There is another challenge with alone prayer time, just like fasting or acts of service you can still make it about you if you’re trying to impress others with the frequency and amount of time you spend alone talking to the Lord. Even if you’re “in secret” if you’re telling everyone it is the same thing as broadcasting from the street corner.
We can pray sinfully. That is how infectious sin is. Gentiles would focus on what and how often things were said in their prayers. They were still focusing on themselves. Don’t assume the effectiveness of your prayer is dependent on your performance in prayer (in amount or form).We don’t like our circumstances we don’t like how someone else is responding or not responding to us and we want it all to change. So we go to pray assuming it is about directing God to change what we feel is out of our control. Say it just right, say it often, believe your words will change things supernaturally. That’s not prayer, that’s magic. It is us trying to have control over that which we don’t currently control. This is prayer assuming we can control, or shape God’s will based our own. We are not God who speaks things into existence by the power of what we say and we do not control God and ask him to serve us. Christians don’t “believe in the power of prayer” we pray to the one who is powerful! Praying just too pray is simply foolishness because we aren’t placing our hope in God we are placing our hope in our words, and our words are powerless and ineffective to change anything we haven’t already been given authority over.
Because we are told to pray, and because we can pray wrongly, Jesus knows we need to be taught how to pray, and what to pray for. Jesus gives us this prayer as model/outline of what our prayers are to be. “Don’t pray like them, pray like this.” It is both incredibly simple and yet incredibly comprehensive. Nothing is missing and nothing can be taken from it. Augustine and Martin Luther both said there was nothing so beautiful in scripture. This wasn’t supposed to be mechanical or the only things we are to pray, but when we pray we should always be considering what/how we pray in light of the Lord’s Prayer. All of our prayers should be modeled after this because Jesus said so. That may sound terrible simplistic, and to be clear we’re not graded on how well we follow this model but we are given instructions and should consider following them. The first half is about God and who He is, second part is about us and our needs. No matter what challenges, troubles, emergencies, or pain we are coming to God. We need to stop for a moment to consider who we are talking to. We start with worship of God, before petitions to God.
Our Father in Heaven
Jesus is helping us fame a conversation with God. You are coming to the throne of the King what right do you have? I come in the name of Jesus your Son, I am adopted into your family, you are my father. God is a loving father and He has adopted us as His sons and daughters through the work of Jesus Christ.
Rom 8:15 15 For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!”
Being adopted means God loves us no less than He loves Jesus His son “with whom he is well pleased.” God looks at us he doesn’t see us, he sees Jesus in our place. He know all about us, he knows our needs, he anticipates them. He desires to bless us even more than we desire to be blessed. Though he knows what we need, like a good father he delights that his kids come to him. This should give us confidence as we ask, seek, and knock, that our petitions will not be rejected because we are praying not to an impersonally deity but to a God we have a familiar relationship with. He is our Dad, we’re not defined by the faith and prayers of our parents we are defined by the faithfulness of God in Jesus Christ. For Jesus disciples there is peace and comfort just knowing the Creator of the universe is our father. Let’s get rid of any idea that God is standing between us and our desires and what is best for us. We have no idea what is good for us. God as a good father is always concerned with the welfare of His children. But who are His children?
God is the creator of all, but not the father of all. We have all rejected His Kingdom and family. God is a universalist, everyone has sinned and is a sinner, everyone is out, no one is in the family. We are not all God’s children, but we can all be invited into the family. The Bible doesn’t teach a universal brotherhood of man. We are born by nature children of wrath, but God loves us and offers us adoption through Jesus John 1:12 But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, Only Christians, those who have placed their faith in Jesus, can pray to God as “Our father.”
But we should also approach God with exceeding reverence. He is our father yes, but our father in Heaven. That means he is infinitely, great, eternal, glorious beyond comprehension. Draw close yes, but don’t forget you’re in the throne room of the King. He is the Lord of the worlds and yet has time for us, desires to meet with us, is able to give us more attention than we could ever need or imagine.
Hallowed be Your Name
Yes, I am your father, what do you want? Your name to be hallowed. Praising God’s name is entirely distinct from praising our own. If we were left on our own we would start our prayers about us, continue about us, and end about us. We are not made to promote ourselves, we are made to reflect who God is. That is our purpose. When we pray and don’t give God the honor He rightly deserves we really aren’t hallowing His name, we’re attempting to raise up our name at the expense of bringing His down, as if that was possible. God is dishonored when we have a lack of gratitude. Hallowed be your name shows we desire all to see God for all His greatness. Psalm 115:1 Not to us, O Lord, not to us, but to your name give glory, for the sake of your steadfast love and your faithfulness! We display our gratefulness that God is an unchanging rock we can firmly set our feet down on when all we see is shifting ground. We are to have a healthy fear and reverence of God. The things of God are weighty and deserve some level of seriousness. Giving God glory is not a painful or unpleasant duty. The chief end of humanity is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever. Giving glory to God is enjoyable. Duty and delight is what a relationship with God looks like. We want His name to be great and to enjoy him forever we want His Kingdom to come.
Your Kingdom Come
Verse 10 begins as a pledge of allegiance to Our Father in Heaven and His Kingdom. This looks to the day of Jesus return when all things are set right under His rule and reign. It is the already and not yet. Yes there are servants of the King on earth, yes Jesus is on the throne but all the effects of our sin have not yet been vanquished. So we pray the Lord’s prayer as statement of our repentance from the kingdoms of the world and ourselves, we pray it as a call for the Holy Spirit to wage revolution on the hearts of humanity.
The Lord's prayer is subversive. It is a statement of allegiance and therefore a challenge to all other kingdoms of the world. – Mark Moore
It’s not enough to want his Kingdom to grow you have to want yours to end because you recognize your kingdom isn’t good enough. When we are asking for His kingdom to come we are saying our kingdoms need to go. In praying for the kingdom to come we should be quick to add “START with ME!
Your Will be Done on Earth as it is in Heaven
Verse 10 goes from a pledge of allegiance, to act of submission, and call to mission. Jesus tells us to pray this way because he knows we are predisposed to asking God to do our will rather than to have our heart turned to desire His will. This means we have to be ready to set aside our agenda for his. God’s concerns now become our concerns. It means we have to be ok with the answer to our prayers being “no” if that is His will. That is incredibly difficult to say and even more difficult to actually do, this changes our prayers.
Before we can ask God for His Kingdom to come, his will be done, on earth as it is in heaven we have to acknowledge that this is not currently the state of the world we live in or the orientation of our hearts. This does not appear to be His kingdom, we don’t seek to do His will, and earth is NOT as it is in Heaven. There is hope in this prayer as Jesus reminds us God’s will is already perfectly laid out in Heaven. The bible paints a picture of Heaven as a great city, with a banquet, and gathered congregation worshiping God. There is real togetherness in this prayer. We’re asking, and seeking greater connection and community centered on our God. We are praying to end to all that is wrong with our kingdoms. This is God’s will
You want my will to be done and my kingdom to come, what does that look like right here and now? Everything that is asked the rest of the prayer, our provision, our forgiveness, our sanctification, and our protection, is all asked for in light these things being part of God’s will. It is amazing to think that it is God’s will for all of these things in our lives. Verse 11, 12, 13 are provision, pardon, and protection.
Give Us This Day or Daily Bread
This is big shift from God’s glory and His Kingdom to bread. But this is not the letdown it may seem. The first three petitions have been about God, His name, His glory, His will and our lives being completely directed to him. This one is asking us to be equipped for this new life. We need energy and resources to participate in the life he’s called us too. This isn’t a trivial matter, God cares about the details of our lives. When we ask him for them we are displaying both our complete reliance on Him and acknowledging His complete ability to provide for us. God is honored when we admit we need Him for our very survival. Every breath you or I have is an absolute gift from the creator. Jesus cares about every meal we have or don’t have. Don’t forget He’s preaching to big crowds and more than once miraculously feeds thousands of people. God cares about our physical needs as well as our spiritual needs, he made in such a way as we would need him for our very sustenance. God wants us to be satisfied with Him in our hearts and he also provides sustenance in our stomachs. There is nothing wrong in enjoying all the ways God provides for us, or the times of good health, or good weather, or joy in our marriages and relationships, or seasons of personal or corporate success, if we are recognizing they are gracious gifts from our Father in Heaven. When you are enjoying any aspect of the life God has given you praise Him!
1 Cor 10:31 So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.
CS Lewis in the Screwtape letters says “He is a hedonist at heart”. God makes part of our lives enjoyable because it brings Him joy to see us enjoying what He has provided. He is a father who loves his children, provides for their survival and graciously gives good gifts for their satisfaction, not in the gifts, but in the gift giver. This is also an incredibly comprehensive prayer. Rain needs to fall, sun needs to shine, farmers need to plant and reap, grain needs to be turned to flour and baked into bread. This is a prayer for the economy to function properly. It is a prayer against famine, unemployment, disease, homelessness. It is for our daily needs. It is not encouraging greed or gluttony. We are asking for our personal needs to be met, and we’re asking God as our Father because we have already acknowledged His character and glory.
Forgive us or debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors
Sin is debt. We owe God everything! He is the giver of all life and we are to respond with worship and loyalty all day, every day. But this is not how we live, because of sin we have turned our back on God, resist His will, build our own kingdoms, and fail to honor him for all he has provided us. We are told to love God and love people with zeal and we fail. We are in His debt and we need forgiveness regardless of if we think we do or not. He sets the terms. He says “You owe me your life.” Someone has to pay.
Col 2:13-14 13 And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, 14 by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross.
Jesus paid it all so our debts could be forgiven and we could come into the family. Yes we are adopted as sons and daughters, yes our sins are forgiven, yet we still sin, daily. We should be examining ourselves regularly to see if our identity as sons and daughters is matching up with the values of our family and our kingdom. We come to our father and confess we have failed to love and live as we ought. In our confession we are humbling ourselves, because He already knows. We don’t come to him with any surprises. He sees our sin and wants us to recognize it too, not to shame us, but rather to correct us. We confess humbly, but also confidently knowing we will not be rejected because our debts are paid in Christ.
Because we have been forgiven much by God, we forgive other of much. We are His children and we mimic our father. This is apparently a big deal, because Jesus repeats the instructions in verses 14 and 15. Jesus is telling us being a hypocrite is not a simple doing things we know or say are wrong, its accepting divine and eternal forgiveness from God, and yet denying human finite forgiveness to our neighbor or our brother. Our only hope as Christians is God mercifully to forgiving our sins in Christ and graciously adopting us into His family, how can we turn around and withhold forgiveness from others? When we fail to forgive others it shows we fundamental misunderstand the depth we have been forgiven by God.
Lead us not into Temptation, but deliver us from Evil.
The kingdom has not come yet, His will is not being perfectly done on earth as it is in heaven, so we dwell in a place of constant temptation to turn from God and pursue sin. We live in a dangerous world. We don’t pray to be removed from it, because that is not His will, and does not further His kingdom. We are praying for protection in the world as we are led by Him through a minefield of temptation. In this path there are test and trials, God allows us to be sent through not setting us up to fail but for our own growth. God wants to strengthen us. When we are in a trial God’s purposes are constructive.
1 Cor 10:13 13 No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.
This does not mean we should desire temptations or trial or not seek to be delivered from them. The same weight used to strengthen us can be used to crush us. Even Jesus in His great prayer in the garden asks the Father to remove the cup of wrath he was to drink on the cross. We are not to desire pain, but we can endure it. Jesus goes on to say “yet not my will but yours be done.” Because Jesus perfectly submitted to the Fathers will even to death on the Cross we are delivered from slavery to evil and have the punishment for our evil removed. There is an enemy, satan, who desires to take what God means for our good and pervert it for our destruction. We ask to be delivered from him. In 7:11, Jesus says “you who are evil”. We are our own worst enemy, in praying for protection we are asking God to deliver us from ourselves.
For yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen!
This is actually how this is traditionally ended. It may not be from Jesus own lips but it is a doxology. (glory saying) God is on the throne, He is might and powerful to do all that we have asked and we want Him to have all the glory. His power is not terrifying or seemingly random like a dictator or a mudslide, it is directed power used to show us mercy and give us grace. It is a power that brings us out of our kingdoms and into His, it is the same power that raised Jesus from the dead and makes us new creations. We give Him glory for both making us and redeeming us.
Do you identify with Jesus as your savior and your lord and recognize that enters you in to a new family where Christians are your brothers and sisters and God is not a righteous judge but your loving father?
Do you deeply desire to see God be seen by others as glorious as he is? Do you want to see His kingdom come and all that is not of his kingdom end?
Will you actively pray and labor to live out the kingdom here and now before it come to fruition?
Do you recognize that God’s will for you is supremely better than your will for you?
Do you acknowledge that without God’s active and consistent participation in your life you will not have provision, pardon from your sin, and protection from evil of the enemy, the world, and your own heart?
Eph 3:20-21 20 Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, 21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.
More in The King Has Come | Matthew
May 11, 2014Jesus the Rock | Matthew 7:24-29 (Mville)
May 11, 2014Jesus is (Scary) Gracious | Matthew 7.15-23 (Snoh)
May 4, 2014Kingdom Admission | Matthew 7:13-23 (Mville)