Sunday, January 29, 2023

Posted on Jan 27 2023

Reflections on Matthew 6:7-21
Bible Background: This is at the center of Jesus “Sermon on the Mount” in Matthew. Note that Jesus is not condemning almsgiving, prayer, or fasting. He wants his followers to do those things from the heart and not for ‘show’. Praying “like this” is a good place to start! (Notice how short the prayer is. “For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory….” was added much later. It’s not word for word from scripture.)

Food for Thought: 1. A key feature of the Lord’s Prayer is it’s focus on two kinds of relationships: 1-with God, and 2-with each other. Notice how the prayer is all about “our” and “us”. There is no “I”, “me” or “my” in the prayer Jesus teaches.

2. The first part of the prayer names God; honors God; and cares that God’s kingdom takes shape and God’s will gets done. What portion of our prayers have to do with seeking to know God’s will? Do we take time for God to answer in some way? What portion of our prayers focus on doing God’s will? Which of those seems more challenging for you and why?

3. The remainder of the prayer asks for what we all need: Daily bread; forgiveness; and deliverance. Which of those do you most need today? Which of those do our neighbors and enemies most need?

4. Forgiveness seems pretty key to this prayer. (It’s also strongly underscored in v. 14-15). What do you hear Jesus saying? Do we have to forgive others in order to be forgiven ourselves? Are we not able to enjoy God’s forgiveness if we don’t pass it along? Are we praying for the strength to be like Jesus-who forgave those who hung him on the cross? How is forgiveness central to an understanding of how the kingdom of God works? What kind of encouragement do you need in order to learn forgiveness?

5. This reading ends on “treasure in heaven”. In our wealthy society, we tend to have quite a few material treasures stored up. How do we store up treasures in heaven?

Lord, listen to your children praying,
Lord, send your Spirit in this place.
Lord, listen to your children praying,
Send us love, send us power, send us grace.