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Lesson # Matt. 6:5-8
Study Material - Matt. 6:5-8
You must be in fellowship prior to your Bible study, so that the spiritual information you receive can become a source, of blessing to your soul and produce spiritual growth.
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. 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. 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. 8 'Therefore do not be like them; for your Father knows what you need, before you ask Him.
Prayer can be offered in hypocrisy, or in humility. In either case there is a contrast in the concepts of the many words offered by spiritually negative people verse positive people with respect to Bible study.
The attitude of wrong prayer is for the worship of self, as opposed to the worship of God. Hypocrites worship in public in order to advance themselves in the eyes of men. Their worship in private would do nothing to help themselves out because no person could see them and therefore be in awe of them.
The places of prayer for hypocrites are the public places - Synagogues, political settings, social settings, public events. Here they are seen by many peoples, and have their opportunity to impress people. In contrast, private prayer is designed for the believer to communicate with God on a personal level. The spiritual life is a private matter for the positive believer and therefore prayer should be a private matter and event in the believers life.
Posture is something of a visual matter, standing verses kneeling, however hypocrites stand before their audience and pray great words in a loud voice such that they seek to impress ignorant people (people without doctrine in their soul). A person with doctrine would normally kneel in order to demonstrate humility and submission to God as he approaches God in prayer. However, external posture is not relevant. It is the internal posture, the attitude in the soul that is important here. The hypocrite demonstrates their lack of humility in their soul by their actions and motives, etc. The positive person, the believer who is advancing toward spiritual maturity demonstrates their real humility by means of their fellowship status with God (confession, etc.).
The object of prayer for the hypocrite can be God, or god in a generic sense (just some higher being), it can be offered to saints, to Jesus, to Mary Mother of God, to idols, to some astronomical object (sun, moon, stars), to some inanimate object, trees, rocks, maybe fish or a bear or a wolf. Prayers have been offered to the weather, in rain dances, or to gods of folklore, or to ancestors, the spirits of old. When hypocrites offer prayers and they do it in a public setting, then what impresses peoples of ignorance is almost anything that sounds like it might be authoritative, with power, and more then anything, is emotional in nature. Loud booming voices impress some folks while soft and sincere voices impress others. But the sum total of any and all of these prayers is zero. They add up to nothing. They go no higher than the ceiling.
The object of prayer to a positive believer is God the Father. All prayer is offered to the Father only and to no other member of the trinity. We do not pray to the Son, nor to the Holy Spirit, nor to any created person, place, or thing. All prayer must be offered while the believer is in fellowship - in the presence of God the Father. To do anything else then God will not receive you or your prayer. The prayers of out of fellowship believers and certainly to the prayers of unbelievers are never heard, but are rejected. Only prayers offered to the Father by believers in fellowship are heard and acted upon.
The result of prayers offered by hypocrites is the approbation of man, to impress people so as to advance ones own social status in some fashion. The prayer offeror seeks to advance themselves in the public eye. The positive believer in fellowship seeks to gain Gods acceptance and the resultant blessing.
The objectives of prayer from the hypocrites view are to imply that the offeror has power to bring results before mankind. They pray for the defeat of enemies, for the cures of mans ills, things that sound good, but exclude God in the matters. They seek results by which man gains these results by mans own efforts. To win a game, to find a cure, to be victorious in some contest or competition. They seeks their results in total disregard of Gods will or plan for the human race.
The objective of a positive believers prayers, are to gain Gods acceptance of their petition offered in accordance with Gods will and consistent with Gods plan for life either personally or in general. We can pray for world peace, but will it happen? No. 'There will be wars and rumors of wars until I come.' To pray for peace across the globe would be a contradiction to what God has already prophesied. To ask God to coerce everyone to believe in His Son would be a violation of every ones right to free choice. On the other hand to pray that everyone will have the opportunity to hear the gospel and understand it clearly is in accordance with Gods policy, and is a valid prayer. To pray for the defeat of enemies may or may not be consistent with Gods plan. Throughout history, many wars have been fought wherein both sides had believers, but only one side won. God has a historical plan for the human race. We know from prophecy that there will be a time when believers will be removed from this world (the rapture), but we do not know when that time will be. We could pray for it to come sooner or even later, but this would be a violation of Gods will. It is not something for us to decide or have as we please. What we can expect from God is the following - the availability of Bible doctrine for our personal study (if we desire it, He will provide it). We can expect prosperity if we advance in our spiritual life. We can expect blessings if we apply doctrine to our daily lives. We can expect protection if we remain in fellowship. We can expect spiritual growth to maturity if we remain in fellowship and study daily.
God provides you with riches in private for the benefit of His glory, because it is His plan which has brought you prosperity, not your own efforts. God has known all that you need since before time began. God has made provision for you since way back before you even came into existence. Your prayers are a product of your spiritual growth and demonstrate your understanding of Gods will for your life as well as Gods will for history. To pray to God for some other result would be out of order.
Prayer then is a private conversation between the believer and God the Father. All prayer must be offered while in fellowship. Prayer must be consistent with Gods plan for the individual believer and consistent with Gods plan for history in general. Prayer must be consistent with Gods Word. The result of prayer can come in two parts, first from the actual petition and second from the motive behind the petition. You may pray for money because you want the security you think it provides. You may not get the money, but if you continue in your Bible study, then you will get the security as well as peace of mind that you wanted.
The bottom line is your attitude. Fellowship means sinless perfection, a status which God authorizes and recognizes. In fellowship your soul in under the control of the Holy Spirit, and therein lies the basis of your spiritual life. To be out of fellowship means that your soul in under the control of your sin nature and therefore all your prayers are worthless wasted thoughts.
The place of your prayer is best done in the privacy of your own thoughts. Not in public, certainly not in churches for the viewing of others alone. The purpose of churches, Synagogues, etc., is to have a place for the teaching of Gods Word, not to be an exclusive location for a conversation with God, nor to go through an intermediary in order to gain a hearing with God.
You posture is in the soul. Your object of prayer is God the Father. Your objectives and results desired should be consistent with your spiritual growth and of course with Gods will.
Now is the time to post a prayer.
End Of Lesson
Study to show thyself approved (mature) unto God, a workman that needs not to be ashamed, rightly dividing (studying/discerning), the Word of truth.
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