What the passage say about the relationship with God
The questions that the passage may address in the community for which it was originally written.
Prayer has been a fundamental tool to the life of a believer. For us Christians, it is a priority that we communicate to God several times in a day. This being said, it is evident that the inconsistency of praying that characterizes Christians in the current generation is what exposes them to failure. In fact, the secret of all failures is the extent of a believer’s failure to pray. Further, it is not just the failure to pray but how Christians pray. In a deeper analysis, it is noticeable that the failure in prayer is the beginning of all troubles. Jesus Christ identified the failure in prayer among his disciples. This is the reason why He opted to gather and teach the disciples on the God’s prayer. This paper presents an exegetical analysis of the God’s prayer according to the gospel of Mathew. It attempts to convey a comprehensive understanding of the passage Mathew 6: 9-13 through employing interpretation perspectives including the literary and theological analyses.
Mathew 6: 9-13 details out the Lord’s Prayer as Jesus teaches his disciples on the basics of a complete prayer. In the passage, Jesus saw the need to explain how a Christian has to chose the words of prayer effectively so as to avoid meaningless words for God already knows what man needs. According to Mathew 6:8, a prayer needs to be brief since what you need to ask the Lord already knows about it. Therefore, Jesus guided the Disciples to include every specific need in the prayer. This shows that God’s understands human beings entirely. He already knows everything including all the needs. As a Christian student, the passage’s teaching on the Lord’s Prayer is fundamental both for academic as well as for the life a saved individual. Also, it is vital to note that when Jesus was teaching the disciples on the Lord’s Prayer, He did so in the mountain – a place that shows that a prayer should be a secret way of communicating with the Lord. In fact, Jesus mentioned that when praying, do not do it like the hypocrites that will shout so that everyone hears but do it secretly (Mathew 6:5).
What precedes the passage is the story of the beatitudes. This is the particular time when Jesus went to the mountain with his disciples while the crowds also followed Him. He then sat down while surrounded and then began teaching about the kingdom of heaven (Mathew 5:1-16). Thereafter, Jesus left the crowds to go further to the mountain while accompanied by His disciples that is when he asked guided them through the Lord’s Prayer. After the prayer, Jesus also saw the need to teach His disciples about fasting (Mathew 6:16). Jesus specifically touched on few fundamental issues that Christians have to demonstrate when fasting. For example, He said that the Disciples should not put on a sad face just like the hypocrites do but be normal so that nobody can notice (Mathew 6:17). Also, Jesus asked the disciples not to store their riches on earth as rust will destroy it. Instead, they should store their riches in heaven (Mathew 6:19-20).
In terms of structure, it is evident that there is a pattern within the passage. This is because; there was always something that would be revealed when Jesus took his disciples to pray. In the passage, Jesus began revealing the will of God through the Beatitudes when he taught that believers have to put their faith in God. Then after leaving the multitudes, Jesus went ahead with only the disciples and while looking at them, he revealed that they should stay cool and not to be like the hypocrites when praying. Jesus revealed that God already knows what man needs, therefore is a matter of asking and it shall be provided. Evidently, throughout the gospel of Mathew, there is a pattern of revelation that Jesus led to Christians. I believe that such a pattern is an effective way of Jesus trying to show Christians about the importance of God’s presence.
When going through the passage, I realize that there Jesus knew about the weakness of the life of a Christian. Jesus saw a prayer as the weakness where all troubles originates. After teaching the multitudes, Jesus realized that hypocrisy and lack of disciple is what denies a Christian a chance to be hard by God’s when praying. This is because people pray loudly for the intention of being heard by other people. Further, people use a lot of meaningless words when praying while failing to understand that God already knows everything about the needs of a Christian. Therefore, the passage shows Jesus’ concern about how a Christian should communicate with God. He then uses simple words to guide the Disciples through the Prayer that is common today in a Christian way of life.
Evidently, there are several key words from the passage that Christians have to take note on every time they pray. First, Jesus said:
“Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name” (Mathew 6:9) as the beginning of the prayer. These words/phrase mean that God is the overall father to all humankind and his name should be honored. It serves as a reminder to humankind that God is in-charge of everything, either good or bad.
“You Kingdom me, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven” (Mathew 6:10) In these words/phrase, Jesus shows attempts to show that will of God is accepted by mankind. Therefore, it is upon all believers that they accept the intentions of the Lord whatever the circumstance.
“Give us today our daily bread” (Mathew 6:11) in these words, they form another part of the prayer where the Christian is beginning to identify his/her needs. Evidently, the first part as stated above was meant to praise the Lord. Now, the Christian prayer should go on with the identification of the primary needs and ask God to provide.
“Forgive our Sin, as we also have forgiven those who have sinned against us” (Mathew 6:12) In this phrase, Jesus entails mean that the Christian prayer should have the vital element of forgiveness. Specifically, before even asking for forgiveness from God, the individual should already have forgiven all his/her sinners as that is the path to receive God’s forgiveness.
“Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one” (Mathew 6:13) Here, Jesus meant to tell the disciples that they should ask for God’s guidance. It is fundamental the life of a Christian is guided by the will of the Lord.
What the passage says about the relationship with God.
As mentioned earlier, a prayer is the most vital pillar that connects a believer with the Almighty God. In essence, this passage not only provides a fundamental guideline on how to pray but also equips a believer with the essentials that creates a better relationship with God. This is because; it is seen from the passage that there is a certain way of communicating with God. It involves two essential parts; the first part is to praise the Lord of He is the Almighty (Breck 21). Here, an individual Christian is reminded to keep the faith in the Almighty God and retain that relationship. The second part involves the presentation of what the one needs from the prayer. In doing this, the individual Christian will say it briefly since God the Almighty already knows what the individual requires. In going by this guideline, a believer creates a successful relationship with God.
Question that the passage might address
Evidently, the passage addresses several concerns especially in the community in which the passage was originally written. First, it addresses the question “what does it meant to pray?” In this case, the passage explains that a prayer should be a secret way of communication with God. The second question is “when should a Christian pray” in this case; Jesus said that a prayer should be a way of life for a believer. It means that praying should be done in a frequent basis not only during the time of trouble but also the good time of a Christian life (Zuck 17). These two questions address the concern not only to the Jews but also to all the Christian community of the time when the passage was written as well as the current and future generation.
As discussed above, Mathew 6:9-13 provides all Christian with the basic guideline of praying when Christians communicates with God. Fundamentally, the passage is good news to all believers as it provides the essential aspects on what to ask when a believer communicates with God. Basically, a prayer should always entail two parts; the first one to acknowledge and Honor the Almighty and then followed by the second part where an individual present their needs to God. Throughout generations, the Gospel of Mathew, as well as Mark, Luke and John have effectively guided a believer through the will of God as well as preaching the good news to humankind. The paper has covered an exegetic analysis of the passage in the effort to explain both the literal and theological significance of the passage.
Breck, John. Scripture in Tradition: The Bible and Its Interpretation in the Orthodox Church. Cresswood: St. Vladimir's Seminary Press, 2001. Print.
The Holy Bible: Containing the Old and New Testaments with the Apocryphal/deuterocanonical Books : New International Version. New York: Oxford UP, 1989. Print.
Zuck, Roy B. Basic Bible Interpretation. Wheaton: Victor Books, 1991. Print.