Eyewitness: p. 146
Eyewitness Stories: Matthew 6:5-8; Luke 11:1,2
The Message: Matthew 6:1-6
In Your Bible: Matthew 6:5-8; Luke 11:1,2
Jesus’ disciples heard that John the Baptist taught his disciples how to pray. Jesus guided them, “When you pray, say something like this. . . ” (Luke 11:9a Eyewitness Stories). The disciples learn how to pray.
Not a Public Performance
Jesus said, “Be careful not to do your good deeds publicly so others will admire you” (Matthew 6:1a Eyewitness Stories). He taught the Twelve not to act as the hypocrites did in the streets and synagogues specifically to be seen.
Where to Pray
A bit of misunderstanding may be found here. Some Scripture states Jesus said . . . “when you pray, go into your inner room [or closet some versions state], 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” (Matthew 6:6 NASB).
I feel better wording here better comes from Eugene Peterson. Jesus says, “Here’s what I want you to do: Find a quiet, secluded place so you won’t be tempted to role-play before God. Just be there as simply and honestly as you can manage. The focus will shift from you to God, and you will begin to sense his grace” (Matthew 6:6 The Message).
Purpose of Quiet Prayer with God
Jesus often went alone and away from the disciples to pray. So today’s versions that mention a closet or inner room for prayer doesn’t seem comparable. The point is:
- Be alone and quiet with the Father
- Acknowledging his grace to forgive, his power and majesty
- Come into his presence and let him into your entire life
Yes, there are differences between the Matthew and Luke versions here. However, it appears that it was not the design of Christ that we should be tied to these specific words in prayer – this was a model! * Yes, the disciples learn how to pray.
Prayer: Father, thank you for this scaffold of prayer. It helps me focus on how awesome you are and my position in you.
Questions: As part of the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus talked about “how not to pray.” How does this affect how you pray? How important is the time of day you pray?
* Matthew Henry Commentary, Christianity.com.