Thursday, March 23, 2017

Personal of Small Group Study of Matthew 6:5-8 Why do you pray?


For the next few weeks (Monday and Thursday), I am going to present a small class Bible study looking over Jesus' Sermon on the Mount. 

Study

QUESTION: Why do you pray?

Do you think there is a wrong way to pray? Don’t answer that question. 

READ Matthew 6:5-8
“When you pray, don’t be like the hypocrites who love to pray publicly on street corners and in the synagogues where everyone can see them. I tell you the truth, that is all the reward they will ever get. But when you pray, go away by yourself, shut the door behind you, and pray to your Father in private. Then your Father, who sees everything, will reward you.
“When you pray, don’t babble on and on as people of other religions do. They think their prayers are answered merely by repeating their words again and again. Don’t be like them, for your Father knows exactly what you need even before you ask him! 

QUESTION: What are the two ways Jesus said not to pray?

The answer is first to be seen and the second is to think their actions are the reason they get their prayers answered. 

The first is directed to the people around them for self-glory. This is not saying praying out loud is wrong, we do it in this group, but it is saying doing it only to be heard by others (not God) is wrong.

The second looks at God as a video game, you do the right thing and you get the price you want. You could also say it makes God into a vending machine you push the right buttons and put in the right currency (certain number of prayers) and God has to give you what you want. Just like the previous verse, this does not say that repeating prayer is wrong, it is saying thinking you are going to get God to answer your prayer by using a Christian version of casting the right spell is wrong. 

Finally God is not an old man who forgets. He knows exactly what you need. Implied here is the idea you should trust him to take care of you. 

QUESTION: Did you ever think you needed something only to find out you didn’t or got something you wanted only to find out it wasn’t the right thing?


CHALLENGE: Trust God, he knows exactly what you need.

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