Prayer review, Part 5: introduction; John 15:16.

Class Outline:

Title: Prayer review, Part 5: introduction; John 15:16.


j. What legitimate and illegitimate prayer?


Matt 5:44

"But I say to you, love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you


Matt 6:5 "And when you pray, you are not to be as the hypocrites; for they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and on the street corners, in order to be seen by men. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full.


Matt 6:6 "But you, when you pray, go into your inner room, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who is in secret, and your Father who sees in secret will repay you.


Matt 6:7 "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.


Matt 6:8 "Therefore do not be like them; for your Father knows what you need, before you ask Him.


Matt 6:9a "Pray, then, in this way [not word for word, but in following this example]:


 “in this way:” - ou[twj[houtos] = in this manner. This doesn’t mean to use these exact words, but rather after this pattern.


Matt 6:9b 'Our Father who art in heaven, Hallowed be Thy name.


 “Hallowed” - aorist passive imperative of a`gia,zw[hagiazo] = to be sanctified or set apart as holy. Aorist points to the time that you pray and you set God apart in fellowship and concentration.


Matt 6:10 'Thy kingdom come.

Thy will be done,

On earth as it is in heaven.


Verse 10 is the only part that we cannot pray for, and by means of the completion of the NT, we determine that.


This is an eschatological petition, meaning a request for the kingdom of Christ to be established. If Israel accepts her King then after the cross the Millennium will begin.


We cannot pray for the kingdom to come today since it cannot. Because of the rejection of Israel the Rapture must complete the church and then the Tribulation must complete and only then will Christ return to establish His kingdom.


There are three petitions:


Matt 6:11 'Give us this day our daily[this word is found nowhere else in Greek literature - most scholars believe it to mean “for tomorrow” instead of daily] bread.


Matt 6:11 Give [aorist active imperative] us today for tomorrow’s bread. [corrected translation]


This is a petition for God to reinforce that He will take care of all of tomorrow’s needs, so live one day at a time and have no concern about tomorrow. As an imperative this is a command of God showing the confidence we are to have in prayer.


Now He’s going to take care of tomorrow’s needs whether you ask Him or not, but this is a prayer to Him for Him to help you see it; for Him to help you understand how to live one day at a time. This is backed up by the context:


Matt 6:30 But if God so arrays the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace, will He not much more do so for you, O men of little faith? [the issue]


Matt 6:31"Do not be anxious then, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'With what shall we clothe ourselves?'


Matt 6:32"For all these things the Gentiles eagerly seek; for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things.


Matt 6:33"But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added to you.


Matt 6:34 "Therefore do not be anxious for tomorrow [command]; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.


There is a drastic difference between a life spent pursuing God’s plan while leaving the details to Him and pursuing the details of life and leaving the plan of God to ______?  


That does not mean do nothing or let go and let God. What it means is that when a detail of life conflicts with the commands of God for my life then I leave the detail in the hands of God.


Examples: I get worried about my kids so I over protect them, wrapping them in bubble paper. Worry is a sin. Do your job as a parent and leave the wall of fire to God. I have the opposite kid who has no fear and wants to try everything and I don’t discipline him to teach self control. I nag my spouse about a minor detail (men and women do this) they have not accomplished. Nagging is a sin. Respect your husband and love your wife and forgive each other and leave the details to God for the moment. There will be time to get to them. I elevate my spouse to the point of worship and demand heshe make me happy. A detail that needs doing is thrown into my lap, but its execution occurs at the time that I take in doctrine. Take in doctrine and leave the task until later (obviously emergencies are exceptions). I have plenty of time and yet procrastinate my doctrinal intake. To every detail there is a Martha and a sluggard and both are wrong. Use common sense, which all maturing believer’s develop and stick to your priorities. Doctrine comes first. In God we trust, all others pay cash!


2 Tim 2:4

 No soldier in active service entangles himself in the affairs of everyday life, so that he may please the one who enlisted him as a soldier.


The details of life fall under the umbrella of logistical grace support.


Any desire that we pursue that is not God’s desire will eventually end up in grave disappointment.


This is why such a petition is a part of this prayer outline, since all of us have a tendency, some more than others, to focus on the details of life too much with the result that we lose sight of the plan of God for our lives. We are not instructed to ignore the details, but not to be worried, bothered, stressed, or overwhelmed by them.


So we go to the detail oriented poster child:

John 11:39

 Jesus said, "Remove the stone." Martha, the sister of the deceased, said to Him, "Lord, by this time there will be a stench, for he has been dead four days."


Martha is correct in that they shouldn’t go opening tombs all the time, but this is an incredibly unique time as the Lord had given a command.


There is the other end of the spectrum.


Prov 6:9

How long will you lie down, O sluggard?

When will you arise from your sleep


Prov 6:11

And your poverty will come in like a vagabond,

And your need like an armed man.


So how can we avoid entanglement in the details when our tendency is not to do that? We apply faith to God’s continual work in our lives as well as His concern for our details so that as our General, Leader, and Father we believe what He has promised. He has promised providence in the form of logistical grace to His own so that they can be free in their soul to pursue the intense and wonderful plan for the Church.


The same application is to the sluggard. Get up and get moving and stop making excuses for why you can’t do something and know that God will take care of any needs.


Prov 26:13-14

The sluggard says, "There is a lion in the road!

A lion is in the open square!"

As the door turns on its hinges,

So does the sluggard on his bed.


We are not praying for an increase in faith or for actual bread. We are relating what we know about tomorrow’s needs in secrecy to our Father so that it may be affirmed and reinforced.


When Christ fed the 5000 He praised God for delivering people from their needs. A very similar application, as we have received from this petition, is given through the disciples.


Matt 14:13 Now when Jesus heard it, He withdrew from there in a boat, to a lonely place by Himself; and when the multitudes heard of this, they followed Him on foot from the cities.


Matt 14:14 And when He went ashore, He saw a great multitude, and felt compassion for them, and healed their sick.


Matt 14:15 And when it was evening, the disciples came to Him, saying, "The place is desolate, and the time is already past; so send the multitudes away, that they may go into the villages and buy food for themselves."


It seems from the flow of events that the disciples suggested (really commanded) Jesus to send them away and then Philip was asked the question.


He had already taught Matt 6. There is more going on here as John mentions:


John 6:5-7

said to Philip, "Where are we to buy bread, that these may eat?"  And this He was saying to test him; for He Himself knew what He was intending to do. Philip answered Him, "Two hundred denarii worth of bread is not sufficient for them, for everyone to receive a little."


Man sees impossibilities where God sees opportunities. The majority directly concluded that the crowd needed to be sent away. No one’s going to die by missing a meal. The disciples are in the rut of everyone has to go home for dinner (street lights are on). Philip is given a chance to stand free of the consensus, but he falls right in with it. This is not to say that we should be crazy risk takers all the time, but it is God’s way of showing us that at times there will be wonderful victory when we think outside of the majority box.


Matt 14:16 But Jesus said to them, "They do not need to go away; you give them something to eat!" 


John 6:8-9

One of His disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter's brother, said to Him, "There is a lad here who has five barley loaves and two fish, but what are these for so many people?" [is this stupidity or sarcasm?]


Then, as they often did, the rest of them join in.


Matt 14:17 And they said to Him, "We have here only five loaves and two fish." [impossible]


Matt 14:18 And He said, "Bring them here to Me." 


Matt 14:19 And ordering the multitudes to recline on the grass, He took the five loaves and the two fish, and looking up toward heaven, He blessed [eulogeo - praised God for] the food, and breaking the loaves He gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave to the multitudes,


Matt 14:20 and they all ate, and were satisfied. And they picked up what was left over of the broken pieces, twelve full baskets.


And so should we praise God for His deliverance from tomorrow’s needs and at the same time confirming our faith in His promises. A day’s needs don’t seem to be as spectacular as feeding more than 10,000 people with 5 loaves and two fishes, but it is from God none the less and we have such a deep seated tendency to get worried about that.


And, by the way, “Give us today tomorrow’s bread” is an imperative, i.e. it is a command. This reveals the believer’s confidence in prayer.


In this way prayer becomes a weapon for your own mental attitude as well as supplication and intercession.


Go back:

 Matt 6:12 'And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. [this refers specifically to monetary obligations, no one owes us debt on sin]


The word for debt originally meant that which is justly or legally due or that which is owed. This noun is only used here and in ROM 4:4.


ROM 4:4

Now to the one who works, his wage is not reckoned as a favor, but as what is due.


Yet as we investigate the true interpretation of this petition we look to Luke’s parallel record:


Luke 11:4

'And forgive us our sins [hamartias = sin, offence, violation],

For we ourselves also forgive everyone who is indebted to us.