Matthew chapter 6, verses 5 – 15
And when you pray, you should not be like the hypocrites, because they love to pray standing in the synagogues and at the corners of the streets so that they may be seen by men. Verily I say to you, they have their reward there.
But when you pray, go into your chamber, and after closing your door, pray to your Father who is in secret! And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.
But when you pray, do not babble as those of the nations; for they think that they will be heard because of their many words.
Be not like them now! For your Father knows what you need before you ask him.
Do you now pray in this way: Our Father, who is in heaven, hallowed be thy name;
thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread;
and forgive us our trespasses, as we have forgiven our debtors;
and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil!
For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you;
But if you do not forgive men, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.
Verse 5 begins with: “And when you pray, you shall not be like the hypocrites
Be honest, I mean what you say, don’t promise things you don’t want to keep anyway and don’t pretend to be something you are not.
… because they love to pray standing in the synagogues and at the corners of the streets so that they can be seen by the people. Verily I say to you, they have their reward already there.
The scripture begins with the little word when … or and when … This means that in life we not only have to pray, but we can pray – if we want to. This is a free choice. It does not mean you have to pray. But if we decide to pray among all the other things, we should follow the instructions of Jesus!
What does the term “pray” or “prayer” actually mean?
In the original Greek text it is called proseuchomai (the emphasis is on the syllable eu) which means praying, vowing.
The prefix pros refers to the one we pray to, the direction of the prayer, i.e. God.
This word proseuchomai includes everything: Thanksgiving, request, intercession, praise and the request of God for special things.
When we have decided to get in touch with God, Scripture first tells us how we should not be, not like hypocrites. A hypocrite pretends to be something he is not, an actor in search of recognition, someone who wants to represent a certain person through a mask or better behind a mask. His talking and acting is only pretence and pretence, hypocrites will get a reward, but never from God but only from humans.
That is why the scripture continues to say that when we pray, ask, give thanks etc., we should go into our own chamber and close the door – only then… pray to your Father who is in secret, and through this our Father who sees in secret will reward you.
The Scriptures further say, … we should not babble, which means to say a lot of things thoughtlessly and without any use, like those of the nations, those who have no connection to the Father through Jesus Christ.
And why do the unbelievers do this? It is further said, … because they think (think, believe, are convinced) that they will be heard for the sake of their many words – that is, they believe, the more they say, the more words they use (their own achievement), the more it brings about.
But we are not to be so! And why? Because our Father knows what we need before we ask him. Just now the thought comes to my mind that it is often the case that we ask for things that we don’t need. For example, we ask the Father for money for this or that… but in fact God knows what we really need… namely, more wisdom in managing the finances that He now entrusts to us, properly according to His orders. You see, God really knows what we need.
And now comes the instruction on how we should pray properly, we start with:
So we all have a Father, our actual creator or producer – without his divine counsel we would not have been born into this world.
What a revelation that we may and should call him Father. So you are not an accident or chance, even if you or your earthly parents want to accept this. No, you have a God-father, and by calling Him that, too, you testify that you are His child. What a wonderful, intimate but also respectful relationship the almighty God, the creator of heaven and earth, offers us here. You shall come to his father as a child.
who are in the heavens,
Note the words the heavens, so there are several heavens (the Bible speaks of three) and only the first of them is our universe, which we can explore scientifically to some extent. Our Father has a dwelling place or a residence a supernatural place invisible to us. He is exalted – because in order to look up to heaven, you have to look up, so He is above, for us earthly living beings purely physically inaccessible.
… and the Scripture continues:
hallowed be thy name;
If you want to sanctify God in your life, then this means a conscious withdrawal from dealing with the world and into the community and connection with God. You cannot have community with God and with the world (the system of the world) at the same time, because
James 4 verse 4 says:
Ye adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity against God? Whoever now wants to be a friend of the world proves to be an enemy of God!
So choose… be a friend of God or his enemy but as they say, you can’t dance at two weddings at once. You have to withdraw from worldly things to enter into communion with the Father.
So there is a sacrifice involved here – the sacrifice of spending time for the Father and with the Father. We can’t offer much to God because He owns the whole earth… but we can give Him of our time.
One day while I was thinking about the word “prayer” the Holy Spirit suddenly made me understand a different meaning and emphasis of the word prayer. If you put the emphasis on the 1st syllable of the word, it says “pray or better give”! This means that you give the Father your time to ask, praise, thank, etc. and this pleases the Father.
But first and foremost we should not do all this for selfish motives, but as Scripture continues to say:
Your kingdom come, your will be done,
So we don’t pray that we will rule and that our will will be done, but that He will determine, rule, protect, provide and so on in our lives…
Think also about the function of a father and the qualities of a good, loving father. You should really meditate on this name of God -FATHER- for some time. You will be overwhelmed by the revelations that the Spirit of God gives you.
So not our lordship and will but His own!
as in heaven so also on earth!
As He planned and established it in heaven, so it shall also happen here on earth in our lives. Through this attitude of the heart, which really requires humility and devotion and also puts God in the first place in your life, you are enabled to enter into dialogue with the Almighty and you draw the Father’s attention to you quasi automatically.
Only then do the personal petitions begin – in the provision of your daily bread. There is also a note here that indicates the time of day of the request. You should not pray this only in the evening, because asking for today’s provision indicates a morning prayer even before you are involved in your daily business… for it is written in verse 11:
Give us our daily bread today
Here it is a matter of both the natural, earthly supply and the bread, by which the Word of God is meant. Remember, you are not asking for the provision for tomorrow or the day after tomorrow, but for today. It would also be completely senseless, because bread spoils quickly; when Jesus made this statement, he was born from God into the land of Israel, there were no refrigerators at that time and it was quite hot there. Besides, be honest, most bread tastes best fresh.
Bread is something really vital and the only food I know of that you can’t get enough of – in the sense of getting sick of something or eating disgust. In the original Greek text you can see the word: artos… which means bread, loaf of bread but also merit or food. Note that the verse begins with … our … so please not only for yourself but also for others.
in verse 12 it continues:
and forgive us our debts,
aha, so we are aware that we need forgiveness… and at the same time we ask for forgiveness not only for our own guilt (which means transgressions or sin) but also for the guilt of others, if we know them.
Constant prayers without also asking for your neighbor, to give thanks, to implore are of selfish origin. God cannot bless us in the way He wants because of such an attitude of heart!
Don’t expect others to constantly intercede for you without you being willing to pray for your neighbor as well. God sees into the deepest corners of your heart and knows your true motives – so be honest with your heavenly Father, and if you feel convicted at this point, be forgiven and change your attitude of heart.
God is so good, He never condemns you – if you are really willing to let Him rebuke you, as a loving Father does. Do not be afraid of correction, it is simply necessary, get used to it, God does this with every son and daughter without exception.
Hebrews 12, 4-11
“You have not yet resisted to the blood in the fight against sin, and have forgotten the admonition which says to you as sons, ‘My son do not hold the Lord’s chastisement in low esteem, and do not wear out when you are punished by him. For whom the Lord loves, he chastises, but he strikes every son he takes in. What you endure is chastisement, and God treats you as sons. For is he a son whom the father does not chasten? But if you are without chastisement, of which all have been partakers, then you are bastards and not sons. Besides, we also had our bodily fathers as chasteners and shunned them. Should we not rather subordinate ourselves to the Father of spirits and live? For though they chastise us for a few days at their pleasure, he chastises us for his benefit, so that we may share in his holiness. All chastisement seems to us to be not joy but sadness for the present, but afterwards it gives the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who are exercised by it.
Verse 12 further contains the following condition for the forgiveness of our guilt:
as we also have forgiven our debtors;
… that is, God forgives us in the same measure that we are willing to forgive.
To put it in a nutshell, you do not forgive … God does not forgive you!
The word forgiving in this context can also be translated as forgiving. So here it is not only about forgiving a verbal or physical injury, but also about forgiving a financial debt or other claims. The forgiveness of a verbal apology is also meant here.
Conclusion is, do not expect anything from people, even if they have done you wrong or harm, but everything from your heavenly Father, because He knows that you are also guilty of many offences. If not towards men, then certainly towards God – even if you should not be aware of it.
God has forgiven his children everything through the obedience of his Son on the cross – be humble enough to carry this forgiveness further.
and lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil!
The word temptation in Greek also means test. So we ask God for protection from trials in which we might fall into sin. If these trials are sent by God, it is never intended to set a stumbling block so that the tested person should fall (see also Galatians 4:14 or Hebrews 3 verse 8). Rather, it is to be understood as a test, in that He wants to see how faithfully and persistently we stick to His instructions; how we behave when everything does not seem so simple.
In the difficult times of your life you develop a new character, through the fruits of His Spirit you increase in wisdom when you seek Him and learn from Him. God has the sovereign right to test us, because His Spirit teaches us. He must know whether He can really trust us – for if you are not faithful in the small things, how can He put you above more? Nevertheless, we ask Him not to lead us into trials, since we know how weak we can be. You can sing beautiful songs in worship and make great promises by saying: “God I love you… Jesus you are my Lord… wherever you send me, I will obey you”. It’s all easy to say, especially when you feel His closeness and His Spirit touches you wonderfully and you feel like on the proverbial cloud 7 in the service. And then the Holy Spirit suddenly says to you: “Now turn off the TV and read my word …”. Oh dear – how bad that can be, I know what I am talking about, to break your dearly acquired habits, especially when you have made yourself comfortable with the world. A flood of thoughts breaks in and finally you have suppressed the gentle voice of the Holy Spirit.
Well great! … set … your teacher would have said to you in school: “Note 6”. But God our Father is patient, He leads you again and again to the same situation where you have to decide – in this case watching TV or doing His will. Is He not wonderfully gracious?!!!
Our God is soooo good to us we have not yet recognized it in many cases. Then comes the point where you realize – Father, I don’t have what it takes to lead a life that is pleasing to you – and you start to ask …. beg …. or cry out: “Do you save me or us from evil …”.
Basically, all evil that is outside the will of God is for your life. This is also very personal to understand, because God will treat you as your father very individually, because you are different from other people – and you should not be proud of that – it just is.
God has decided so. What is good for one person can be bad for another and vice versa. A very simple example, to a very underweight person God might say “eat more of this or that high calorie food… for a fat and very overweight person that would be absolutely wrong and bad. This is a very obvious example and also absolutely logical; but there are things that lie in the hidden essence of man and which sometimes only God alone knows, not even the person himself. There is nothing you can do with your human understanding.
Therefore, it is absolutely necessary to follow His plan for you personally and follow His instructions. As soon as you look long enough at others, you will either become jealous, jealous, haughty or depressed – because you do not yet have certain things or qualities that the Father in His divine wisdom might have provided for you in the future – or not at all, because they would harm you.
The term salvation in this context includes … pulling away, pulling out of, saving from, saving or liberating. It is an event of strong power from outside. You cannot save yourself, so you ask your father to do this.
We continue with verses 14 and 15
For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, but if you do not forgive men, your Father will also not forgive your trespasses. You have the choice, it is clearly up to you whether or not! So forgiveness is not a must either, but if you think about the consequences in verse 15, I would really recommend you to keep verse 14.
As I said, it is your choice. Willingness to forgive has nothing to do with the behavior of others or the person you should forgive, but only with yourself.
I think Jesus puts a lot of emphasis on the attitude of forgiveness, because the verses 14 and 15 are actually a repetition or clarification of the previous verse 12. In verse 12 the term debtor is used, whereas in verse 14 and 15 another word is used, namely forgiveness. In classical Greek, it is sometimes used to denote a sin or fault that is not of the worst kind or magnitude. An unconscious sin, just a mistake or a transgression that contains an action but is not necessarily intentional or deliberate.
How many times have you or I done or said things that hurt someone else physically or emotionally without planning for it. Out of stupid disputes, out of a conversation where you may have wanted to help, but had exactly the opposite effect on the other person. Many of our offences we do not even know. So, be ready to forgive quickly if someone else has done the same to you.
Forgiveness is a decision of the will over your feelings. Nobody feels to forgive, but decides to do it consciously.
For me it is always helpful to say it out loud. Simply say: I forgive this or that person.
To pass on the forgiveness that we have received through the act of redemption on the cross through our Lord JESUS CHRIST is an important sign of grace to others. Apart from that, you will never experience peace, joy and freedom if there is unforgiveness in your heart. It binds you to the unhappy past, so to speak, like a tormenting shackle – so let go and go ahead.
Here are some more Bible passages for your own Bible study on the subject of prayer:
1. kings 8, verse 28-29 ~~~ 2. kings 20, verse 5+6 ~~~ 2. chronicles 6, verse 19 ~~~ 2. Chronicles 7 verse 15 ~~~~ Psalm 69, verse 14 ~~~ Psalm 88 verse 14 ~~~ Psalm 90 ~~~ Isaiah 38, verse 5 ~~~~ Daniel 9 verse 3 ~~~~ Matthew 21 verse 22 ~~~ Mark 12 verse 40 ~~~ Luke 6 verse 12+13 ~~~ Ephesians 6 verse 18 ~~~ 1 Timothy 2 verse 1 ~~~ Revelation 5 verse 8 ~~~ Revelation 8 verse 3
Beloved of the Lord:
The Lord bless you and keep you!
The Lord let his face shine upon you and be gracious to you!
The Lord lift up His face upon you and give you peace!