When Jesus gave us a prayer- 1st Week of Lent- Tuesday- Matthew 6: 7-15

The Lord’s Prayer is to be found in all the three synoptic gospels, namely Matthew, Mark and Luke. In Matthew’s Gospel it consists of six verses, in Luke’s gospel; three verses and in Mark’s Gospel it is all of two verses. (Matthew 6: 9-15, Luke 11:2-4, Mark 11: 25-26). The context of the Lord’s Prayer differs in the three Gospels.

What is the context of the Lord’s Prayer as seen in Matthew’s Gospel? Jesus gives us this prayer in the context of ‘how not to pray’. He uses the ‘hypocrites’ as an example who love to pray standing up in the house of worship and in the street corners so that everyone may see them. So Jesus suggests that we go to our private room, close the door and pray to the Father in secret. That is, Jesus is telling us to pray privately, by ourselves, to God. He is giving us an instruction on ‘private prayer’ and in continuation of this instruction He gives us the Lord’s Prayer.

Even more, in verse 7, Jesus says, ‘do not babble like the pagans when you pray’. Why does he say babble?  The pagans would say the name of their gods again and again, mindlessly. Jesus did not want his disciples to be babblers but disciples who prayed. Disciples who meant what they said, to their Abba.

The Lord’s Prayer is part of the great Sermon on the Mount (Matthew chapters 5-7). This sermon is given primarily to his disciples (5:1). So from all of the above, we can conclude that the Lord’s Prayer as seen in Matthew’s gospel, is a disciple’s prayer to be prayed in private. Then why do we say the Lord’s Prayer in public?

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