Sermons on Prayer
In Hebrews 4:14-16 the author, summarizing his exhortations to this point, calls up on Christians to hold fast to their confession of faith and to approach the throne of grace with confidence. All of this in light of the glory of our great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus Christ, who is able to sympathize with us in our weaknesses.
In Matthew 7:7-11 Christ commands his disciples to pray. Why? Because God hears the prayers of His people and answers them. This ought to encourage Christians to pray to God for all of their needs. If a sinful father knows to give good things to his children, so God gives good things to his children.
Fasting is something that is typically not practiced much today, but Christ assumes that Christians will be fasting in Matthew 6:16-18; however, this does not mean that all fasting is acceptable to God. Christ explains that those who fast so as to gain a reputation for godliness before men will receive nothing from God, but those who fast for the sake of God’s glory will be honored by Him.
Having looked at the first three petitions of the Lord’s Prayer last week, which all deal with praying for the good of God (his name, kingdom, and will), we look this week at the last three petitions, which deal with the way in which we bring our needs before God. Here both physical and spiritual needs are addressed by Christ, that is, the needs of both body and soul.
In Matthew 6:9-15 Jesus teaches his disciples how to pray with the famous “Lord’s Prayer”. Often when Christians come to God there is a tendency to pray first and exclusively for pressing things in our own lives. Christ, however, without neglecting the need to bring our requests for personal needs to him, emphasizes that we ought to pray first for God’s name, kingdom and will to be done.
In Matthew 6:5-15 Jesus addresses prayer and specifically what kind of prayer is pleasing to God. As with his discussion on giving, he assumes people pray, but he also points out that some people pray and receive nothing from God. It is not those who pray to be seen by others but rather those who pray out of love for God who are heard by him. It is not those who repeat themselves but those who seek the sanctification of…