Semi-Devo 2: Matthew 6:5-15

This section of Scripture is part of a bigger context (the Sermon on the Mount, which covers Matthew 5:1-7:29). It reads as follows (NASB):

“When you pray, you are not to be like the hypocrites; for they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and on the street corners so that they may be seen by 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.

“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. So do not be like them; for your Father knows what you need before you ask Him.

“Pray, then, in this way:

‘Our Father who is in heaven,
Hallowed be Your name.
10 ‘Your kingdom come.
Your will be done,
On earth as it is in heaven.
11 ‘Give us this day our daily bread.
12 ‘And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.
13 ‘And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from evil. [For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.’]

14 For if you forgive others for their transgressions, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15 But if you do not forgive others, then your Father will not forgive your transgressions.

This particular section has a focus on prayer. Jesus is speaking here in this passage. The motive of praying just to be seen by men gets no further reward than being seen by men (v. 5). Notice the term “Father” is used in verse 6. Only children of God can really call Him “Father” (John 1:12; 3:3). The term “meaningless repetition” in verse 7, according to, comes from the Greek word “battalogeo“, which means to stammer, repeat the same things over and over, babble, use many idle words, prate, etc.. It is the only time in Scripture that this word is used. This does not necessarily mean it is bad to pray for the same things over a long period of time (see Luke 11:1-8). Instead, it means that using meaningless verbiage or (as John MacArthur puts it) repeating words as if they were some kind of automatic formula are not to be employed when praying. After all, He, being omniscient, knows what we need before we ask Him (verse 8; Jeremiah 17:10; Hebrews 4:13)

Verses 9-13 give us a model for praying (see also Luke 11:2-4). Six petitions are in these verses; three are directed to God (hallowed be His name, His Kingdom come, His will be done; verses 9-10) and three are toward human needs (daily bread, forgiveness, and deliverance; verses 11-13; see also Matthew 18:21-22, James 1:13 and 1 Corinthians 10:13). We are to forgive others as Christ forgave us (verse 14; see also Ephesians 4:32). Choosing to not forgive others has its consequences (verse 15; see also Matthew 18:23-35).

Jesus gives His children (those born again) both an excellent model for prayer and stuff to avoid when praying. Furthermore, children of God are to forgive and show mercy to others. Are you a child of God, friend? Have you called upon His name for salvation (Romans 10:1-13)? If you have, understand that Jesus has taught us how to pray. Furthermore, understand that you should forgive others as Christ has forgiven you.

If you have not called upon His name for salvation, please understand that salvation is found in nobody else but Jesus Christ (Acts 4:12). God is not wishing for anyone to perish, though; He wants all to come to repentance, for we have all sinned and thus cannot save ourselves (2 Peter 3:9; Romans 3:23; Matthew 5:48). If you repent of your sin and call upon His name for salvation, you can be His child and inherit the free gift of eternal life that comes through a trusting saving faith in Christ alone, not via a mere head knowledge of Jesus or meritorious works (Romans 10:1-13; 6:23; Ephesians 2:8-9; James 2:19; Acts 16:31). You can bear fruit in keeping with repentance, forgiving others as Christ has forgiven you (Matthew 3:8; Ephesians 4;32). Finally, you can see the importance of forgiveness and how awesome Jesus’ model for prayer really is.




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