Matthew 6:7-13 Prayers that please God
“And when you are praying, do not use meaningless repetition as the Gentiles do, for they suppose that they will be heard for their many words. 8 So do not be like them; for your Father knows what you need before you ask Him.
9 “ Pray, then, in this way:
‘Our Father who is 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 do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
Jesus taught His disciples to pray like He did and not to follow the mentality of non-believers who were ignorant of God’s nature and plans. A child focuses his attention on his own needs and wants. A mature son focuses on the needs of his father’s business. Today’s passage teaches us to grow in maturity and pray in a way that pleases God. In doing so, we will experience growth of the kingdom in our midst and obtain our eternal reward.
And when you are praying, do not use meaningless repetition as the Gentiles do, for they suppose that they will be heard for their many words.
Jesus was not taking issue at the frequency of prayer but at the focus of one’s prayer. While a child often prays for his own needs, a mature son focuses on establishing his Father’s business. The Gentiles refers to people who do not have an intimate knowledge of God, and neither do they have a personal relationship with Him. Hence, when gentiles come before their gods with their needs, they repeat their requests continually: meaningless repetition. The reason for their incessant repetition was due to their ignorance of God and His love. Hence they supposed by repeating their requests and by appeasing their gods with gifts, they could move them into action. Jesus assured His disciples that God did not need anyone to remind Him for your Father knows what you need before you ask Him. Jesus taught the disciples to pray like a mature son of God.
Pray, then, in this way: ‘Our Father who is in heaven, hallowed be Your name…
The first element is to recognize who God is and acknowledge His supremacy over creation. To “hallow” is to acknowledge God’s sanctity, and to proclaim His supremacy and protection over our lives. In the process of hallowing God, we put aside self rule and submit ourselves to His lordship in wholehearted worship. By virtue of the fact that He is Father of all creation, who resides in heaven speaks of His transcendence and preeminence. Meditating on His name brings to mind the virtue of God’s perfect love – the giving of His Son to ensure salvation for the world. Among many of God’s names, El Shaddai signifies the God who blesses, nourishes, supplies and satisfies. Genesis 49:25 says,
From the God [El] of your father who helps you, and by the Almighty [Shaddai] who blesses you with blessings of the heavens above, blessings of the deep that lies beneath, blessings of the breasts and of the womb.”
The blessings of El Shaddai include a fertile land fed by beneficent water from the heavens and earth below and fertility of the body. El Shaddai depicts God’s natural instinct to bless with overflowing measure.
Your kingdom come. Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven…
The kingdom of God is obviously one that is ruled by God Himself. The final form of God’s kingdom is described in Isaiah’s prophecy – Isaiah 65:17-25, “For behold, I create new heavens and a new earth…” God’s kingdom is unshakable where no injustice exists and the people live in rejoicing, longevity and prosperity. Jesus urged the people to put the establishing of God’s kingdom ahead of their personal concerns. Unless the kingdom is established, there can be no enduring peace, health and prosperity. Therefore, God’s people must above all build God’s kingdom and not to worry about their future. By inculcating God’s values system in the family, community and work place, we establish God’s kingdom in our midst. God’s kingdom does not consist of material wealth that is acquired by greed. It contains eternal riches that must be acquired by the heart of light and righteousness. A person who is devoted to money may acquire earthly wealth that is temporal. But a person who is devoted to God will serve others and obtain eternal riches. Jesus said,
Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal; for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. Matthew 6:19-21
Give us this day our daily bread…
The Greek translation: Give us today our bread for the coming day. This element expresses a heart of faithful dependence on the God who provides. Before the need arrives, we have full assurance that God has already provided for. This expresses our faith in the God who always anticipates our needs and provide for us in a timely manner. Hence, we do not have to worry about tomorrow. Jesus explicitly said,
Do not worry then, saying, ‘What will we eat? ’ or ‘What will we drink? ’ or ‘What will we wear for clothing? ’ For the Gentiles eagerly seek all these things; for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. Matthew 6:31-33
And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors…
This element depicts unity and peace as a necessary setting for growth. Forgiveness of sins and forgiveness of debts is the centrality in God’s kingdom; in God’s kingdom, no grudges and strife are allowed. However, unforgiven sins and debts can be self-inflicted. They rob us of our blessings and glory in heaven; they steal our peace and stall our progress. Not only must we repent of our sins and sanctify our attitudes on a daily basis, we must forgive and release the debts of those who has wronged us. Jesus taught concerning the importance of peace and reconciliation in His kingdom,
Therefore if you are presenting your offering at the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your offering there before the altar and go; first be reconciled to your brother, and then come and present your offering. Matthew 5:23-24
And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
Temptation refers to enticement to sin. This last element expresses a heart that is always open to God’s prompting to detect deception and to avoid the snare of the devil. As God is ever ready to warn and to direct, the onus is on the believer to humble himself and seek God for guidance. Without God’s guidance, a person will walk into situations that will tempt him and deceive him into doing evil.
When dealing with a problem, always assume that God already had a solution. Instead of asking God to solve your problems, open your heart to God and receive wisdom and confidence to solve them. Many people keep praying to God asking Him to solve their problems, but yet they shut off their ears from His instructions. And they would not surrender their lives and allow Him to deal with their root issues. God is always ready to come to our help if only we will humble ourselves in full submission to His instructions. Jesus said, “… your Father knows what you need before you ask Him.” God knows and is ready to dispatch His angels to our aid if only we are ready.
God always act without prejudice in accordance with His attributes. When in doubt, praise God for His unchanging love, wisdom and power towards us. In praising God, our mind achieves clarity to understand God’s restorative plans for our circumstance. Many people pray earnestly asking for divine intervention yet they are not fully convinced of God’s sovereign control over their circumstances. They seek to get His attention by repeating their prayers without first being reminded of His nature. Before we pray, we must first secure our understanding concerning God’s attributes through worship. Jesus said, “Our Father who is in heaven, hallowed be Your name.” In doing so, we can pray with faith having full assurance of His love and power.
When we put God’s kingdom first, He will not put us second. God’s kingdom’s work involves preaching the gospel and helping those who are poor. The purpose of our existence is to help establish righteousness, justice and prosperity in the world. Many people possess a problem solving mentality. Their focus is on solving their personal problems and not to advance God’s kingdom. They exist primarily to make life more comfortable for themselves and for their family. Jesus did not promise us a comfortable life, nor a problem free life, but a glorious life. When if we put God’s kingdom first, our lives may not always be smooth, but it will certainly be exciting and miraculous. The powers of heaven and earth are granted to us to establish His kingdom’s work. Through us, people are delivered from condemnation, sickness and curses by the gospel.
God guides believers actively through their intuition. If you are reading the Word daily, you will be able to move in God’s direction intuitively. The Spirit’s guidance is embedded into the believer’s instincts. Here, the Spirit’s thoughts become your thoughts, His emotions become your emotions, and His acts become your acts; it is hearing and obeying God on the fly. In the days of the Old Testament, the people hear and obey God. But in the last days, the people move intuitively by the Spirit as they yield themselves to God. Jesus taught the disciples to pray, “… do not lead us into temptation” depicting the inner guidance and instincts of the Spirit that becomes second nature to the believer.
- Your vision will determine the focus of your prayer. What do you usually pray about? Jesus said that if believers would focus on building His kingdom in their family, at the workplace and in their community, God will provide everything they need.
- When you pray, do you first seek to understand what is in God’s mind before you present your requests to Him? Jesus said before we pray, God already knew what we need and have made plans to fulfill them. Therefore, it would make more sense to spend much time in prayer listening to what God has to say concerning your situation.
Dear Lord, open my heart to understand what is in your mind. I understand that you have ordained for me a role in your kingdom. As I seek to fulfill that role, provide my every need. Guide me and steer me away from path that leads to destruction. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.