do you have the name you do? As Jesus teaches you to pray in Matthew
6:9 he focuses on the name of God.
makes himself known to you through his name. The names of God are
important. This was true of people; Abram/Abraham (father of a
multitude), Sarai/Sarah (Princess), Jacob/Israel (prince of God),
Simon/Peter (rock). Phineas’ wife named their son Ichabod (the glory
is departed). God’s name is not merely a vocable, but stands for God
himself. “O, my God” may be appropriate as part of a prayer, but
used as an exclamation it opposes what Jesus is teaching you here.
“To honor Go’s name is to honor God himself. Thus, true prayer is
God-centered. Prayer can help us center; it helps us meditate on
spiritual matters. But prayer is not the same as centering or
meditating. Prayer brings us to God, the Creator, the Redeemer, and
the sovereign Lord.” (Daniel M. Doriani, Matthew,
Continue reading “Hallowed Be Your Name”
they seem almost exclusive, two elements merge beautifully in the
preface, or invocation, of the Lord’s prayer in the first part of
Matthew 6:9. They are the majesty of the King of heaven and the
loving concern of your Father. “We should not miss the balance in
this opening to the prayer. We address God intimately as Father, but
we immediately recognize his infinite greatness with the addition in
heaven.” (Leon Morris, The Gospel According to Matthew, p.
to your heavenly Father. This is how you should pray. Christ gave you
this prayer as a model. Jesus gave this prayer (in slightly different
language) in response to his disciples’ request that he teach them to
pray, Luke 11:1-4. The language Jesus uses in Luke 11:2 suggests that
these words be used, while the introduction in Matthew 6:9 implies a
model. Those are not contradictory. Use the prayer, but don’t let it
become an empty form. Remember the summary which the Lord’s Prayer
presents. The invocation is followed by six comprehensive petitions.
The first three deal with God’s name, reign, and will. The final
three deal with our bread, debts, and foe.
Continue reading “Our Father in Heaven”
live in a culture full of labor-saving devices. We expect our coffee
to be instant, we want fast food. But prayer can be hard work, and it
certainly does not provide instant gratification of our desires! In
Matthew 6:5–8 Jesus teaches you first things about the hard work of
secretly. Do not pray to be seen by men. Don’t be a hypocrite in your
prayer. Some pray to be seen of men, as did the Pharisee were in the
habit of doing. I have seen a Muslim’s formal, public prayer is an
example of that. The hypocrite prays to be seen by men, and as soon
as he prays, he has his reward. His prayer has accomplished all it
was intended to do! Don’t pray with an eye to an audience. This sin
can be subtle. Beware of the pride involved. Don’t ask, while you are
praying, “What are others thinking of me?” Beware of the
way that sin can affect your heart—even while you are speaking to
your Father in heaven! Sin can intrude even into your prayer, even as
you come to God’s throne of grace. Christ’s warning is needed because
you and I are self-centered by nature. We tend to take our eyes off
of God and focus on ourselves.
Continue reading “First Things about Prayer”
Do you want to know what a person is like, what his priorities are? We used to say, look at his checkbook, but now it would be his online banking statements! But the point is the same. Where you spend your money, and in particular, how you give money are important. In Matthew 6:1–4 Jesus tells you to seek, not your own honor, but the honor of your Father in heaven.
Give because you are children of your
Father in heaven. The God who redeemed Israel provided for the poor.
In Deuteronomy 15 God ordained sabbatical years in which debts were
canceled. God also provided for the poor through gleaning (Ruth
gleaned in the fields of Boaz), Deuteronomy 14:17–21. “Whenever
Jesus speaks of ‘your Father in heaven’ . . . he has in view the
exclusive relationship between the Lord and those who will share in
the bliss of the kingdom of heaven, and share in it now already.”
(Herman Ridderbos The Coming of the Kingdom.)
Continue reading “Whose Honor Are You Seeking?”