MATTHEW 6:8_for your Father knoweth what things ye have need of…
God knows our needs. That is not a reason to bail out on prayer. We decided prayer was primarily about building relationships. Getting to know each other.
If we’ve learned anything the past 150 plus days it’s Jesus’ teachings are right, holy, and true. Jesus’ teachings lead us to be salt and light.
We can learn a lot about prayer from the prophet Nehemiah. He prayed well and often. Nehemiah 1:11 (KJV), “O Lord, I beseech thee, let now thine ear be attentive to the prayer of thy servant, and to the prayer of thy servants, who desire to fear thy name: and prosper, I pray thee, thy servant this day, and grant him [Nehemiah] mercy in the sight of this man [King Artaxerxes].”
Nehemiah had a large request to ask King Artaxerxes. He wanted some time off. Not just a few days – years! Nehemiah wanted to leave Persia, return to his home town, Jerusalem, build a wall, and renew Israel’s faith in the LORD. He prayed before he asked the king. Nehemiah just prayed a lot. Notice he asked God to be attentive to the prayer of His servant (King Solomon also prayed that). I learned from them. I ask God to let His ears be attentive to the prayers of His servant (me).
Prayer is not about coming to God because you feel obligated. Neither is it only about asking God to do something for you, or give something to you.
Prayer is a form of worship.
Jesus Friend, Thank You that I am Your friend. I want to be a loving friend who enjoys communicating with You. In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.
Christ is my friend—I am His friend!
MATTHEW 6:7_as the heathen do…
Jesus goes from reproaching hypocrites to reproaching heathens. The word heathen in this verse can be translated as Gentile. Remember, Gentiles are not Jews. They were not under the covenant God made with Abraham. Nor were they under the laws God gave to Moses.
The Jews considered the prayers of Gentiles to be great babblings. Since Gentiles did not serve or have a relationship with the One True God, their prayers were not directed to Him. Therefore, to whatever god or idol they prayed, all they could offer was empty babbles.
After Jesus conquered death and was about to ascend into heaven, He gave His disciples a commission. Mark 16:15 (KJV), “And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.”
Jesus gave Peter and Paul a specific commission – to share the gospel of the resurrected Jesus with the Gentiles. Praise God Peter and Paul obeyed the call!
We are no longer heathen just because we are Gentiles. Those of us who answer the call to become salty-lit-up disciples can enter our closet, shut the door, and commune with the Holy God of Heaven!
Lord Jesus, Praise You for being the God of all mankind. Praise You for making a way for Gentiles to enter Your presence . In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.
Christ loves Gentiles—He made a way for me!
MATTHEW 6:6_and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward them openly.
More rewards. Open rewards. Have you noticed how often God has plans to reward you? It is a definite part of His plan.
The world is cruel, hard, and evil. Praise God that while you live in it He blesses with rewards. Praise God He works supernaturally on your behalf.
What a mighty God!
Along with awaking with God’s likeness, I also desire to receive wisdom, understanding, and knowledge. Proverbs 24:3-4 (KJV),”Through wisdom is an house builded; and by understanding it is established: 4 And by knowledge shall the chambers be filled with all precious and pleasant riches.”
I want to build my life on wisdom. I want to establish my life in understanding. I want to furnish my life with knowledge. Want to know how to live in the world, but not of it? The Big Three! That means during my lifetime I can grow into a salty-lit-up disciple and not be bound by the world’s sins. By now you know what that means – I can live free. It does not mean I will never sin again. It means I will no longer be controlled by sin. No bondages.
Freedom means I’m not captive to anything but the love of Jesus!
God of Wisdom, Please teach me to build my life on wisdom; establish it with understanding and furnish it with knowledge. In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.
Christ is freedom—I want to live free!
MATTHEW 6:6_and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret…
Jesus says the Father is in the closet with you. When He says the Father seeth in secret He means more than vision. God reads your soul. He sees everything in your mind and thoughts. God sees deeply – into the very depths of your heart. He knows if there is room for Him in that depth, or if it is consumed with you.
God also knows if your desire is to replace self with the Savior. He can help you with that.
God’s desire is for you to bring all your emotions of pain, heartbreak, fear, anger, and unforgiveness to Him in prayer. If you can trust God is with you in the closet, you will begin to trust He is with you anywhere. The more you trust in God’s presence, the more confident you will grow in your relationship with Him.
Listening is every bit as important to prayer time as talking. Remember that falling in love sequence? If you do all the talking, and never any listening, then you will not know your loved one at all. It’s difficult to truly love someone you don’t know.
The more you hear God, the more you become salt and light.
God Who Speaks, Please speak to my heart, and help me trust You are always with me. In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.
Christ is with me—I want to be with Him!
MATTHEW 6:5_thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are for they love to pray in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men…
Oh my goodness! Here we go with the hypocrites again! And, they are back in the synagogues and the streets! Jesus doesn’t want the praying there any more than He wanted the alms giving there.
Don’t get confused about this – the devil would love to deceive you into believing that you should not pray out loud. If you are a part of a youth group that prays together – stay with it and pray together..
Praying out loud is a part of the salt and light process. Prayer encourages seekers who may be a part of your group. Helping the seekers find their way is what salt and light are meant to do.
When Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead He prayed out loud. John 11:41-42 (KJV), “And Jesus lifted up his eyes, and said, Father, I thank thee that thou hast heard me. And I knew that thou hearest me always: but because of the people which stand by I said it, that they may believe that thou hast sent me.”
There was a large crowd gathered to comfort the sisters of Lazarus. Jesus purposely prayed out loud. Any unbelievers in the group would know first, that Jesus was sent by God, and second, that God always hears prayer.
The result was the greatest miracle Jesus performed in His earthly life!
God of Heaven, Please let my prayers give attention to You, not me! In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.
Christ’s prayers were salt and light—mine should be too!