Jesus here teaches to be very careful to avoid trumpeting our charitable works. This does not mean that we cannot acknowledge what we do, but is about those who take great PRIDE and trumpet abroad their charities trying to impress others. It is about measuring a person’s righteousness by his charitable deeds instead of by his whole conduct. In today’s world many hide great evil behind public charity.
Matthew 6:1 Take heed that ye do not your alms before men, to be seen of them: otherwise ye have no reward of your Father which is in heaven. 6:2 Therefore when thou doest thine alms, do not sound a trumpet before thee, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward. 6:3 But when thou doest alms, let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth: 6:4 That thine alms may be in secret: and thy Father which seeth in secret himself shall reward thee openly.
This is primarily talking about the attitude with which you help others; are you doing it out of a true love and generosity of spirit? Or are you doing it out of a desire to be seen and exalted by others, or to be considered as some good person by others; or to feel righteous and good about yourself?
Are you doing this to make some political points within an organization, about how righteous you are? Or so that you can feel powerful and in control, because you have funds to disperse and others are dependent on you? Are you doing this out of a genuine love for God and man?
It is good and godly to help others out of pure and righteous motives; but if our purpose is impure it will lead us into error. Therefore, it is always better to give in secret, to keep our heart and motives pure and avoid being lifted up with pride in our “good works.”
6:5 And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward. 6:6 But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.
Prayer is a petition to the King of the Universe, and when it is used for personal reasons it is a blasphemy and an offense to God our Father.
Those who pray to be seen and thought righteous by others, are using God for their own purposes and will NOT be heard by God. That includes all such prayer, including starting church services with a long and flowery prayer meant to impress the brethren. Such an insincere prayer is NOT heard by God. This kind of insincere prayer is a serious problem in the church.
While prayer should be made to God to open a Holy Convocation; it should be a sincere prayer to our Father with no thought of what the people will think of it.
It is also appropriate to give thanks for our blessings and food on occasion, but this should not be done to impress others nor should it become a vain repetition.
Some recommend family prayer, where the whole family gets together and prays together. It is good to teach our children to pray, but when they are ready, encourage them to pray on their own. This communal prayer can lead to sin, for persons will drift into speaking to influence or impress the others and so misuse prayer and lose contact with God the Father.
Most certainly, do NOT hold hands in a circle to pray as that is a witchcraft technique intended to focus the people and artificially psychologically unite them together with the leader, in opposition to each person independently uniting with God. Always watch for such manipulation techniques that replace unity with God; with a unity around any person or group!
Prayer is communication with God the Father the very ruler of the entire universe; to misuse that privilege for our own purposes is to try and use God. It is a horrible sin.
Therefore, it is far better to hide ones self away in secret and to pray in private where we can pour out our heart to God in honest sincerity without fear of embarrassment or offending others.
To use repetition and inventing things to pray about just to fill in time is a great evil. It is wasting God’s time, and it is making a mockery of prayer and communication with God the Father.
6:7 But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking. 6:8 Be not ye therefore like unto them: for your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask him.
Vain repetition refers to empty and meaningless repetition; it does not refer to a diligent seeking of an answer to a question or problem. Prayer beads are used by members of various religious traditions to count the repetitions of prayers, are not godly.
Prayer should be as short or as long as is needed, and it should be complete as to what is on our minds and needful to be said, not being some kind of made up excuse to feel righteous about how much or how long we pray. I am trying to say that it is our attitude and sincerity that are much more important than the length of our prayer. If we pray for a hour just putting in time, and rise thinking ourselves righteous, we have wasted our time.
We should not neglect contact with God and we should be evaluating our own behavior and repenting daily, asking for forgiveness and the gift of God’s Spirit of strength to empower us to overcome.
One more thing that is often overlooked in prayer is the attitude of GRATITUDE for all of our blessings. When we feel oppressed and feel down, sometimes we just need to count our blessings to stabilize our mood and get back to reality. In the face of trials and persecution we need to stop, take a deep breath and remember how very much God has done for us, we need to remember his promises for those who overcome, and we need to remember that he will deliver those who are faithful to him and who call upon him.
Also, in our good times we tend to forget our God and we need to remain focused on all that he has done for us.
Psalm 1:1 Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. 1:2 But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night.
James 5:13 Is any among you afflicted? let him pray. Is any merry? let him sing psalms.
Ephesians 5:18 And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit; 5:19 Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord; 5:20 Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ;
We should remember the admonitions of Paul.
1 Thessalonians 5:16 Rejoice evermore. 5:17 Pray without ceasing. 5:18 In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you. 5:19 Quench not the Spirit. 5:20 Despise not prophesyings. 5:21 Prove all things; hold fast that which is good. 5:22 Abstain from all appearance of evil.
If we have a continual prayerful attitude, and if we do not quench the Spirit through living contrary to any part of God’s Word; if are diligent to prove all things by God’s Word and we are filled with gratitude and joy in God: we do well.
Matthew 6:9 After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.
Acknowledge the Holiness and perfection of God.
6:10 Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.
This is a very big point and should not be read over. We are to ask and seek that the laws of that Kingdom be written in our minds and hearts NOW! This is not primarily about seeking that a kingdom come to the earth in future, although that is part of the meaning; the primary meaning is that we are to seek to internalize the complete nature of God NOW; to fully internalize and keep the whole Word of God which is the Constitution of the Kingdom!
When Jesus began his ministry, he said: “Repent, for the Kingdom of God is at hand.” He did not mean that he would establish a ruling kingdom of government over the world at that time.
He meant that the way into the Family, [the eternal spiritual kingdom] of God through his atoning sacrifice for sincerely repented past sin was at hand; Christ’s sacrifice making a way of salvation from sincerely repented sin and a commitment to “Go and sin NO more!”
By asking that the kingdom come, we indicate our sincere repentance from seeking our own ways, and our longing that God’s Word and Spirit should dwell within us; and ultimately fill the whole earth when Christ comes!
We are told to seek that God the Father’s will be done on earth as in heaven; and that means that we are agreeing to live by every Word of God without compromise in our own lives, while we are on the earth.
God’s Word is an expression, an explanation, of God’s will which we are to follow. We are to love and rejoice in the will of God, the wonderful wisdom of his Word and the gift of salvation from sincerely repented sins! It is also an explanation of God’s plan for humanity! We are to live by every Word of God and to rejoice in God’s will and seek it in our own lives and in all things!
The Word of God is the constitution of his government in heaven and in the lives of the faithful; and it will be the constitution of the whole earth in future: God’s will is defined by his Word.
Anyone who says that Christ will tolerate or overlook willful sin and that we must not rebuke sin to maintain organizational unity should think about this; and anyone who prays as Christ has instructed and then is willing to tolerate sin out of a phony love; is a hypocrite for he prays God’s will be done, and then he tolerates the breaking of God’s will within the assemblies!
6:11 Give us this day our daily bread.
Ask for our genuine physical needs and do not ask amiss for physical selfish desires.
This instruction for prayer is FAR greater than mere physical needs! It is about asking for spiritual daily unleavened spiritual Bread of Life and Truth. We are to ask that God enable us to fully internalize and properly understand God’s Word, and to give us daily spiritual growth and nourishment from the whole Word of God,
6:12 And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.
We shall be forgiven, ONLY as we forgive others. See verses 14-15 below.
6:13 And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.
Ask to be delivered from all temptations, and seek deliverance from evil by Almighty God! We are to back that up by avoiding those things that tempt us to compromise with the ways of God.
Do NOT try and overcome by our own strength, do NOT try and avoid trials by hiding our light, do NOT try and avoid persecution by compromising with God’s Word: Do NOT tolerate sin; rather RUN to our Fortress of Refuge and seek HIS Defense and Deliverance. We can no more overcome than Israel could overcome in Egypt.
We CAN be delivered by the Almighty Father who possesses the Kingdom and all Power and Glory forever and ever!
6:14 For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you: 6:15 But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.
6:16 Moreover when ye fast, be not, as the hypocrites, of a sad countenance: for they disfigure their faces, that they may appear unto men to fast. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.
6:17 But thou, when thou fastest, anoint thine head, and wash thy face; 6:18 That thou appear not unto men to fast, but unto thy Father which is in secret: and thy Father, which seeth in secret, shall reward thee openly.
Make spiritual gain our priority above setting our hearts on worldly gain. This does not discourage working hard physically; it does encourage working hard spiritually and faithfulness to the Word of God as the first priority. Those who make physical gain their top priority will often be led to make compromises in spiritual things.
6:19 Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: 6:20 But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: 6:21 For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.
We are to spend our time seeking the things of God; In study, deep thought and reflection and in the practical application of the Word of God. We are not to seek the things of this world, including its mammon. We are NOT to seek the adulation of men, or personal power, or advantage for ourselves; Rather we are to seek the mercy and love of God through our diligence for him and his ways. This is a question of focus and priority.
If our eye focuses on worldly things, we have become distracted from spiritual things and we will compromise the spiritual for physical gain; which is wickedness.
We should not turn from the spiritual because of a lust for physical gain; if we loved God, we would turn from the lust for worldliness to focus on spiritual things.
If we are single minded in love and faithfulness to God, we would never be diverted to lust after physical things and compromise with any part of the whole Word of God.
6:22 The light of the body is the eye: if therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light. 6:23 But if thine eye be evil, thy whole body shall be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness! 6:24 No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.
We are to be focused on and always we are to be totally unshakably dedicated to God, to single mindedly and wholeheartedly seek out the things of God all of our lives; we are NOT to compromise with godliness to focus on and seek the things of this world. Don’t worry about physical things to the point where you would be willing to compromise with God’s Word to attain them. Rather do the best you can while being totally dedicated and faithful to God and trust in God.
6:25 Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment? 6:26 Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they? 6:27 Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature? 6:28 And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin: 6:29 And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.
This is about so much more that mouthing the words “your Kingdom come” at some distant time. It is about seeking to internalize the ways of God and the ways and laws of his Kingdom NOW, seeking to become a part of that Kingdom and to have a place in the bride of Christ. This is about internalizing Jesus Christ and God the Father is become ready and qualified to have a place in the Kingdom of God.
Therefore focus on internalizing the full nature of God and achieving a place in God’s Kingdom, as that “Pearl of Great Price” which is worth all the things this world can give and much much more.
6:30 Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is, and to morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith? 6:31 Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? 6:32 (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things.
Let us focus on becoming like God our Father in heaven and internalizing the nature of God, which is the Word of God, the very constitution of the Kingdom of God; instead of being willing to compromise with any part of God’s Word to gain some physical thing.
If we are dedicated to the things of God and we refuse to compromise with them for the sake of some physical thing; the Eternal will give the precious incomparable gift of eternal life in peace and harmony with God and with other faithful persons.
6:33 But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. 6:34 Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.
Seek the righteousness of God the Father above all else! Seek that the Father’s will and law be written on your very heart and in your mind, seek to overcome all sin so that you may be among the chosen and have a place in the bride and in God’s Kingdom!
Dedicate yourself to a passionate love and zeal for the will, ways and Word of God the Father and his Kingdom! Let him take care of the rest; for if you please him, he WILL take care of you! And if you suffer in this life, you will have your reward in the Kingdom of God!
This is a request that God’s Kingdom come NOW; with the writing of God’s Word in our minds and on our hearts (Jer 31234) so that we may have a place in that eternal Kingdom of spiritual life!