March 10, 2015

The Station of Prayer (Jesus in Gethsemane)

Mathew 6:5-15

Jesus gave four instructions to guide us in our prayer life.

1. We must pray in secret before we pray in public. While nothing is wrong with praying in public, Jesus commanded his followers to strive to have a rich private prayer life. Those who only pray publically are hypocrites.
2. We must pray sincerely. A request becomes a “meaningless repetition” if it is only a babbling of words without a sincere heart’s desire to seek and do God’s will.
3. We must pray in God’s will. Jesus never wanted what we call The Lord’s Prayer in 6:9-13 to be used as a memorized prayer. It is unfortunate that it has become, for many, one of those “meaningless repetitions” he warned against in 6:7. Jesus intended his disciples to use his prayer as a pattern, not as a substitute. The purpose of prayer is to glorify God’s name and to ask for help to accomplish his will on earth.
4. We must pray with a forgiving spirit toward others. Jesus’ words in 6:14-15 are illustrated in Jesus’ parable of the unmerciful servant in 18:21-35. Jesus was not implying those who do not forgive others will lose their salvation, for this would be contrary to God’s free grace and mercy. He was saying, however, if we have truly experienced God’s forgiveness, then we should readily forgive those who have wronged us.