Practice of Prayer

There are no shortcuts when it comes to revival. The church desperately needs revival, but it is not going to come by quick and easy methods. Evan Roberts prayed for eleven years before the Welsh Revival broke out, and his ministry during that remarkable time broke him physically … More

Prayer
Don’t be a show-off when you pray (v. 5) by being loud and in a special kind of voice to be recognized or look good to others. Jesus speaks here about the practice of prayer, which the Pharisees loved to perform publicly. It is better to go into a room alone and pray than to be a show-off in public (v. 6). Their prayers were not directed to God but to other men, and consisted of long repetitive phrases (v. 7).  It is still very easy for professing Christians to pray to be heard of men. The principal here is that a believer should not make a show of prayer or pray in such a way that it draws unnecessary attention to himself. God is not impressed with words but with the genuine outcry of a needy heart (v. 5-7). Your Father knows what you need before you ask Him (v. 8). Then Jesus presented a model prayer which is commonly called “the Lord’s prayer” that includes some important elements for us to include in our praying which are as follows (vv. 9-15). 
  1. Worship - “Our Father in Heaven”
  2. Reverence - “Hallowed be thy name”
  3. His will to be done - “Thy will be done”
  4. Daily provision - “daily bread”
  5. Forgiveness - “forgive us - as we forgive”
  6. Deliverance - from “temptation” to evil

The Pharisees also loved to fast so that others would see them and think that they were spiritual.  Fasting should emphasize the denial of the flesh and not drawing attention to themselves (vv. 16-18). Mark it down that fasting that requires spectators is mere acting.

Application

We have just looked in the last two days at three examples of Pharisaic “righteousness” -  giving - praying - fasting . I need to consider what the Lord is trying to teach me in these three areas.

Matthew 6:5-18 (English Standard Version)

"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. 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. "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. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him. Pray then like this: "Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses. "And when you fast, do not look gloomy like the hypocrites, for they disfigure their faces that their fasting may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, that your fasting may not be seen by others but by your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you."

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