We begin our next section as we work through the Sermon on the Mount, warning us not to be like the hypocrites. Our reminder in this next section is still for us not to do our righteous deeds to be seen by men, and this includes our prayer life.
5 “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. 6 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.
7 “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. 8 Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him. 9 Pray then like this:
“Our Father 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 lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.
14 For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, 15 but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.
Our verses start with the word “when” you pray and not “if” you pray, so it is assumed that prayer is part of our relationship with the Lord as those in Christ. It’s not the position we find ourselves in when praying, whether kneeling or standing, but we’re addressing the heart attitude of the one who is praying.
As believers, we have access to God through the shed blood of Jesus to come to Him anytime and as often as we desire to. Prayer is simply coming before the Lord to worship Him, adore Him, seek His face, and ask Him for help, guidance, and wisdom. To seek His forgiveness and to give Him thanks.As believers, we have access to God through the shed blood of Jesus to come to Him anytime and as often as we desire to.
The Lord’s prayer is a pattern for prayer that is beneficial for all those in Christ to use. The first three requests have to do with God’s glory, and the last three requests are for our good. Our eyes are on God first, and then our eyes are on us. It is the perfect pattern to use in our private and public prayer lives.
Martyn Lloyd Jones stated:
“This is our Lord’s instruction to Christian people, not to the non-Christian. It is His warning to those who have been born again; even they have to be careful lest in their prayers and devotions they become guilty of this hypocrisy of the Pharisees.”
Listen to the Podcast Below:
Studies in the Sermon on the Mount by Martyn Lloyd Jones
The Lord’s Prayer: Learning from Jesus on What, Why, and How to Pray by Kevin DeYoung
Unpacking Forgiveness: Biblical Answers for Complex Questions and Deep Wounds by Chris Brauns
Resisting the Roaring Lion (1 Peter 5:8) – Sermon by Doug Ferrell
EP 13: Choosing Forgiveness
10 Great Books on Prayer
Show Notes:One way for us to grow in our public prayer lives is to start with growing in our private prayer lives.
“Nothing is quite so fallacious as to think of sin only in terms of actions, and as long as we think of sin only in terms of things actually done, we fail to understand it. The essence of the biblical teaching on sin is that it is essentially a disposition. It is a state of the heart.
We tend to think of sin as we see it in its rags and in the gutters of life. We look at a drunkard, poor fellow, and we say: There is sin; that is sin. But that is not the essence of sin.
To have a real picture and a true understanding of it, you must look at some great saint, some unusually devout and devoted man. Look at him there upon his knees in the very presence of God. Even there is self intruding itself, and the temptation is for him to think about himself, to think pleasantly and pleasurable about himself, and really to be worshipping himself rather than God. This, not the other, is the true picture of sin.
The other is sin of course, but there you do not see it at its acme; you do not see it in its essence. Or, to put it in another form, if you really want to understand something about the nature of Satan and his activities, the thing to do is not to go to the dregs or the gutters of life; if you really want to know something about Satan, go away to that wilderness where our Lord spent forty days and forty nights. That is the true picture of Satan where you see him tempting the very Son of God.
Sin is something that follows us even into the very presence of God.
This is our Lord’s instruction to Christian people, not to the non-Christian. It is His warning to those who have been born again; even they have to be careful lest in their prayers and devotions they become guilty of this hypocrisy of the Pharisees.
~ Martyn Lloyd Jones, Studies in the Sermon on the Mount
Albert Barnes states on the verse, “pray to your Father who is in secret, and your Father who sees in secret will reward you”:
The meaning of the Savior is that there should be someplace where we may be in secret—where we may be alone with God. There should be some ‘place’ to which we may resort where no ear will hear us but His ear, and no eye can see us but His eye. Unless there is such a place, secret prayer will not be long or strictly maintained.
God is in secret, and He sees us from the secret place—He does not see us as other people do, or as we see ourselves. When we live in a secret place, it becomes impossible for us to doubt God. We become more sure of Him than of anyone or anything else. Enter in the secret place and you will find God was right in the middle of your everyday circumstances all the time.
~ Oswald Chambers
Authentic prayer in public will come out of our authentic prayer life in private.
One commentator stated on Luke 18:
Does this mean we must never engage in persistent prayer, fervently beseeching God? Not at all. The teaching of the parable is that we must continue in our prayers, even when there seems to be no answer, because God, unlike the unjust judge is loving, good and gracious. We persist in prayer not because we have not yet gotten God’s attention, but because we know he cares and will hear us.
“Why pray if He already knows our needs?” – Because prayer is the God-appointed way to have these needs met (see James 4:1–3). Prayer prepares us for the proper use of the answer. If we know our need, and if we voice it to God, trusting Him for His provision, then we will make better use of the answer than if God forced it on us without our asking.
~ Warren Wiersbe
If you want to judge how well a person understands Christianity, find out how much he makes of the thought of being God’s child, and having God as his Father. If this is not the thought that prompts and controls his worship and prayers and his whole outlook on life, it means that he does not understand Christianity very well at all. For everything that Christ taught, everything that makes the New Testament new, and better than the Old, everything that is distinctively Christian as opposed to merely Jewish, is summed up in the knowledge of the Fatherhood of God. “Father” is the Christian name for God.
~ J.I. Packer
By the “name of God, we mean all those attributes through which He is revealed to us—His power, wisdom, holiness, justice, mercy, and truth. By asking that they may be “hallowed,” we mean that they may be made known and glorified. The glory of God is the first thing that God’s children should desire. It is the object of one of our Lord’s own prayers: John 12:28 states – “Father, glorify (aorist imperative) your name!”
~ J. C. Ryle
Martin Luther asked
“How is God’s name hallowed amongst us?”
Answer “When our life and doctrine are truly Christian”
First, we pray for the final and ultimate establishment of God’s kingdom. We pray for the day when all creation will freely call Him “Dearest Father” – “Abba.” There is an almost martial, triumphant ring to “your kingdom come.” Come, O Lord!
Second, we pray “your kingdom come” so we will be conformed to His will in this world. As we pray this, we hand ourselves over to the grace of God so He may do with us as He pleases. Your kingdom come in my life. Use me for Your kingdom.
Third, “your kingdom come” is a prayer that God’s rule will come to others through us. It is a prayer for Christ to work His revolutionary power in a fallen world. Your kingdom come in my family, my job, my city, my nation.
This is a big prayer that depends on a big God. And when truly prayed, it makes for a big life. Is your life, is my life, big enough to pray, “your kingdom come”?
~R. Kent Hughes, The Sermon on the Mount
So why does Jesus teach us to pray, “Forgive us our debts,” and not just once but frequently, if not daily? Well, for starters, we still sin. We ask for forgiveness for our debts because we never stop being debtors. But more than that, it’s because Jesus wants us to relate to God not just as a judge but as a father. This is such an important point and one that sincere Christians often miss. If you think of God only as judge, then you are either innocent or guilty. You are justified or not justified. You don’t think in terms of pleasing or displeasing God. You think only in terms of the legal declaration of righteous or not righteous. As important as it is to recognize that God is judge, if that’s the only way you relate to him, your Christianity will become stilted and stale.
God is also our Father, and that is explicitly how Jesus wants us to address him in the Lord’s prayer. A good father always loves his children, but he can be pleased or displeased with them. You wouldn’t go back to the judge to admit another mistake, but you would go to your father to say you’re sorry. When my kids do what they shouldn’t do or fail to do what I asked of them, I don’t want them fearing that they are going to be disowned and booted out of the family. But neither do I want them to think that their disobedience is no big deal. If they are good children—and if they know I am a good father—they will come to me and acknowledge their sins, and I will be eager to forgive them.
~ Kevin DeYoung, The Lord’s Prayer: Learning from Jesus on What, Why, and How to Pray
Thomas Watson said forgiveness means:
“we strive against all thoughts of revenge; when we will not do our enemies mischief, but wish well to them, grieve at their calamities, pray for them, seek reconciliation with them and show ourselves ready on all occasions to relieve them.”
“What would it look like if God treated you and your sins in the same way you treated those who sin against you? No doubt, some people have hurt you deeply. God never says it’s no big deal what happened to you. Forgiveness is not saying that sin doesn’t matter. You’re not saying it’s no big deal. You’re saying God is bigger, the cross is bigger, and hell is bigger. Do not focus on what they owe. Focus on what God has already forgiven you.”
~ Kevin DeYoung, The Lord’s Prayer: Learning from Jesus on What, Why, and How to Pray
“Genuine believers forgive; hypocrites do not.”
Susan Heck, A Ladies Bible Study on the Sermon on the Mount
If we only realize that we are approaching God everything else would be all right. ~ Martyn Lloyd Jones
- Matthew 6:5-15
- Matthew 6:1-4
- Luke 18:1
- 1 John 5:14
- Ephesians 6:18
- Romans 12:12
- Luke 11:1
- Galatians 4:6
- Romans 8:15-16
- John 12:28
- 1 Peter 4:11
- Philippians 3:20
- James 1:17
- Matthew 7:7-11
- Matthew 6:34
- James 1:13
- James 1:2-3
- James 4:7
- 1 Peter 5:8
- Psalm 66:18
- Mark 11:26
- Ephesians 4:32
- Studies in the Sermon on the Mount by Martyn Lloyd Jones
- Sermon on the Mount The: Matthew 5-7 Expositional Commentary by James Montgomery Boice
- Matthew 1-7 MacArthur New Testament Commentary by John MacArthur
- Expository Thoughts on the Gospel of Matthew by J.C. Ryle
- The Sermon on the Mount: The Message of the Kingdom (ESV Edition) by R. Kent Hughes
- Sermon on the Mount by Sinclair Ferguson
- The Beatitudes: An Exposition of Matthew 5:1-12 by Thomas Watson
- The Message of the Sermon on the Mount by John Stott
- Sermon on the Mount Teaching Series by Sinclair Ferguson at Ligonier Connect
- Logos Bible Software
- Bible Memory App
- Study Guide for Sermon on the Mount
You mentioned a quote by Jerry Bridges, I think? Can’t find or remember it. Would love to know what book it is from.
Marci Ferrell says
Sandi – I’ve scanned my notes and can’t find a quote from Jerry Bridges in them. I did quote Martyn Lloyd Jones & Kevin DeYoung a bit heavily. If you can remember the context of it, maybe I can find it for you. Thanks so much!