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In this passage of Scripture we have the Lord Jesus giving us “guidelines” for prayer. Here we learn WHERE we should pray, WHO we should pray to, WHY we should pray, and WHAT we should pray.

Matthew 6:5-6 reads, “When you pray, you are not to be like the hypocrites; for they love to stand and pray in the synogogues and on the street corners so that they may be seen of men. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full. But you, when you pray, go into your inner room, close your door and pray to your Father who is in secret, and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you” (NASB). WHERE should we pray? Your inner room! In other words, you should find some “private” place where you can truly be ALONE, where you will not be tempted to make an outward show for others to hear. WHO should we pray to? Your Father! Pride would lead us to gain the ear of our fellow-men in order to receive their praise, but our desire should be to gain the ear of our heavenly Father. WHY should we pray? Your Father will reward you! He rewards us by ANSWERING OUR PRAYERS.

Matthew 6:7-13 says, “And in praying use not vain repetitions, as the Gentiles do: for they think they shall be heard for their much speaking. Be not therefore like unto them: for your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask Him. After this manner therefore pray ye. Our Father who art in heaven, Hallowed be Thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, as in heaven, so on earth. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And bring us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one” (ASV). WHAT should we pray? First of all, we learn, in verse 7, what we SHOULDN’T pray; we SHOULD NOT PRAY meaningless words over and over again, words that are simply memorized but do NOT come from the heart. The Lord then gives us, in verses 9-13, a SAMPLE of WHAT we should pray. I say “sample,” because it’s obvious the Lord never meant this prayer to be something we memorize and repeat time and time again, for He condemns “vain repetitions” in verse 7. Rather, He is teaching us WHAT our prayer should be like.

1) We should be addressing our prayers to “our Father in heaven.”

2) We should pray with worship to the Father for “His holiness” and for all of His divine attributes.

3) We should pray earnestly for “His kingdom” to come.

4) We should pray humbly for “His will” to be done in our lives.

5) We should pray, in dependence, for “our needs to be met.”

6) We should pray for “our Father’s forgiveness” when we have sinned in order to maintain our fellowship with Him.

7) We should pray, with a true desire, to be “delivered from the power of sin and Satan.” Notice how our prayers should begin with thoughts about God and His interests, and then thoughts about our own needs will flow from our meditations on God.

Matthew 6:14-15 declares, “For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you; But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.” In the “model prayer” the Lord gave to us He had said, “forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.” Here He emphasizes that our Father’s forgiveness is “conditional.” We must truly be forgiving others before our Father will extend His forgiveness to us. Let’s remember that this is speaking of “parental forgiveness”; the forgiveness of a Father towards His children. It’s not speaking of God’s forgiveness of the sinner who repents and believes on the Lord Jesus Christ as their Savior. We would call that “judicial forgiveness” because God, as a Judge, pardons the repentant and believing sinner. That happens once and never needs to be repeated, but “parental forgiveness” is needed every time we sin.  (151.4)  (DO)