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The Prayer That God Takes Note of (Matthew 6:5-15) Gordon Rae
Sermon Notes
Sunday, 18 November 2012 00:00

We know that on the stage of public life, there are many venues where we
can make a name for ourselves. For believers in Jesus Christ, we are
called to let our light shine in in order to have the impact that God
intends. Yet public life can seduce us into settling for lesser
ambitions that rob us of real significance and enduring rewards.

In equipping his followers for living a significant life, Jesus was
compelled to address the issues of public life. In first century
Palestine seasons of fasting were announced with trumpets and prayers
for rain were offered in the streets. And it was felt that giving to
those in need enhanced the effectiveness of the fasting and prayers.
These public spiritual pursuits provided a highly visible stage for
people to make a name for themselves.

In contrast to those who sought to be seen by men, Jesus highlighted
that what matters most is what kind of life our Father in heaven takes
note of. Jesus' teaching provides us with an invitation to choose the
best ambition for our life. We will look at Jesus' teaching about prayer
and ask, "What kind of prayer does the Father take note of?"

In Matthew 6:9 Jesus directs us to approach God in prayer with the
language and outlook of a weaned child, "Our Father in heaven." So the
kind of prayer that the Father takes note of is the prayer of a child.

Having explained how we are to approach God in prayer, Jesus then shifts
to the language of command. His instruction is not asking us to worship
God but directs us to ask God to do things (six requests). There is
urgency expressed here, something akin to a 9-1-1 call.

So, further, we note that the kind of prayer the Father takes note of is
the prayer of a child who is zealous.

We see the direction of this zeal from what is request. As we would
anticipate from the heart of a child, the child is burdened for the
reputation of the Father, that the Father's name be respected, that the
Kingdom of Messiah which will magnify the Father's reputation like never
before, would come to earth, that then the will of the Father will be
done as swiftly and fully on earth as it is in heaven.

From all that we see, then, the kind of prayer the Father takes note of
is the prayer of a child who is zealous for his Father's reputation.

I would offer that even the final three requests which relate to the
needs of the child, are linked to the reputation of the Father who's
name is bound up in the life of his children.

Jesus instructs us to pray like Moses (Exodus 32) and Daniel (Daniel 9)
who appealed to the reputation of God for the sake of the Father's
people. And Jesus instructs us to pray as Jesus would eventually pray in
the Garden of Gethsemane (Mark 14).

When we consider the instruction to pray as a child zealous for our
Father's reputation, we may feel like Peter, James and John at the
Garden of Gethsemane, the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak. At
times we may even feel that the flesh is weak and so is our spirit. We
can take heart, though, accepting this instruction as an invitation to
lay hold of the greatest ambition for living and as a result, anticipate
the most enduring reward. We have been gifted with the Holy Spirit who
is leading us to cry out with the heart of a child (Romans 8) and can
enable us to grow in greater pursuit of such praying for the Father's
reputation, even when we are only conspicuous to Father.


 

 

 

 

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