Nepaug Bible Church - - Pastor's Prayer Meeting Lesson Notes -

Matthew: Jesus As Israel's Messiah And His Kingdom
Part XI: Christ As Israel's Messiah By His Surpassing Righteousness
L. The Biblically Consistent Righteousness Of Christ's Subjects Regarding The Content Of Prayer
(Matthew 6:9-13)
  1. Introduction
    1. When Jesus said that one's righteousness had to exceed that of the scribes and the Pharisees if he were to be a part of the Kingdom of heaven (Matthew 5:20), He had to clarify to His Hebrew listeners how that could be, for the Pharisees adhered to the principle of Halacha, "concern for every jot and tittle of performance" regarding the Mosaic Law, Zondervan Pictorial Ency. of the Bible, volume Four, p. 748.
    2. Matthew 5:21-7:6 provides many illustrations of Jesus' point, with Matthew 6:9-13 exampling how His kingdom righteousness on the subject of the content of prayer far surpassed that of the Pharisees:
  2. The Biblically Consistent Righteousness Of Christ's Subjects Regarding The Content Of Prayer.
    1. In our last lesson out of Matthew 6:5-8, 14-15, we learned that the artificial, externalistic righteousness of the Hebrew Scribes and Pharisees had produced prayers that sought to impress human onlookers or that tried to manipulate God or were ungracious toward other people.
    2. Consequently, the model prayer Jesus gave in Matthew 6:9-13 is obviously SIMPLE, HUMBLE and GRACIOUS, and we view these elements in that prayer as follows:
      1. The prayer opens to address God as "our" Father, a humble realization that the praying one is part of God's big household, that his concerns must fit within the welfare of all God's people, Matthew 6:9a.
      2. God is called "Father," another humble and simple term where one realizes his need for a heavenly "Parent" upon whom he is dependent for blessings rather than expressing pride before God, Matt. 6:9b.
      3. The phrase "which art in heaven" recalls the praying party's humble subjection to God Who dwells in the heavens far above the immense grandeur of the stellar universe, Matt. 6:9c; Gen esis 1:6-8, 14-19.
      4. When Jesus added, "Hallowed be Thy Name," He again showed the humility the praying party is to have as he realizes that he and the world are corrupted with sin unlike his holy God, Matthew 6:9d.
      5. Matthew 6:10 with its call for God's kingdom to come and His will to be done on earth as it is in heaven humbly and simply recounts the need for God's holy reign to replace the godless reign of sinful men on the earth. This focus stands in stark contrast to the Pharisees' self-righteousness.
      6. Jesus' call that the believer ask God for his daily bread in a brief, simple petition (Matthew 6:11) shows implicit trust in God's providential supply of one's livehood needs, and that far from a manipulative stance practiced by the Pharisees or by the pagan Gentile world!
      7. The Matthew 6:12 directive that believers ask God for forgiveness based on how they have a forgiving attitude toward those who wrong them reflects an understanding of God's grace, and is voiced in humble, simple terms without great fanfare.
      8. Matthew 6:13a NIV petitions the Father not to lead the praying believer into temptation, but to deliver him from the Evil One (tou ponerou, U. B. S. Greek N. T., 1966, p. 18). This does not mean God otherwise leads people to be tempted, but it expresses one's realization that he is very vulnerable to falling into temptation, and into the influence of the Evil One in the godless world system (1 John 5:19 NIV). It is thus a humble request voiced by one who is keenly aware of his need for God's grace, and its simplicity greatly contrasts with the self-righteousness of the Pharisees!
      9. The original Prayer ended at Matthew 6:13a, omitting the highly expressive ending, "For thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory, for ever. Amen" in all the "early and important representatives of the Alexandrian . . . Western . . . and the pre-Caesarean . . . types of text, as well as early patristic commentaries on the Lord's Prayer . . . This implies that an ascription . . . was composed (perhaps on the basis of 1 Chr. 29:11-13) . . . to adapt the Prayer for liturgical use in the early church." (Bruce M. Metzger, A Text. Com. on the Grk. N. T., 1971, p. 16-17). That being so, the simplicity, humility and graciousness of the prayer content in Matthew 6:9-13a stands in sharp contrast to that of the Pharisees!
Lesson: In the content of the Lord's Prayer, Jesus exampled simple, humble, gracious expressions.

Application: May we use simple, humble, gracious words in the content of the prayers that we pray.