Note: This series is written as a first-person narrative in order to present Jesus in the context he walked with the unknown disciple that narrates presenting my thoughts and sparking more thoughts with his questions.
“And when you pray…” Jesus paused. We shifted a little as he continued speaking, “do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.”
Jesus is driving the point home about doing things for God’s approval rather than man’s.
“And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.”
It’s true, I’ve heard the Gentiles in the port cities just adding names to their gods, and reminding them what they owed them for their services. Jesus counters that with God knows what we need.
“How should we pray,” Peter whispers.
“This, then, is how you should pray:
“‘Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come,
you will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
And forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from the evil one.’”
This prayer is similar to the Kaddish, just a little different. God’s our Heavenly Father who provides food for us like He did in the desert with Moses for 40 years. Daily, there was new bread, just enough for the day. God taught us to depend on Him back then.
This first part recognizes God’s sovereignty and His coming kingdom. Debts though, in the 7th and 50th years, God commanded us to forgive all financial debts. Bondservants went free and the land was returned to the original owners. What debts did we owe God?
I keep racking up those…no matter how much I sacrifice. It would be best if I avoided temptation and the evil one.
Jesus wasn’t done, he continues.
“For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.”
I have to forgive others if I want to be forgiven? It’s in another Jewish text, the Sirach, but why? Does it show a hardness of heart on my part? I have some thinking to do.