Giving to the Poor and Prayer
1“Beware of practicing your righteousness before men to be noticed by them; otherwise you have no reward with your Father who is in heaven.
2“So when you give to the poor, do not sound a trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, so that they may be honored by men Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full.
3“But when you give to the poor, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing,
4so that your giving will be in secret; and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you.
5“When you pray, you are not to be like the hypocrites; for they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and on the street corners so that they may be seen by men Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full.
6“But you, when you pray, go into your inner room, close your door and pray to your Father who is in secret, and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you.
7“And when you are praying, do not use meaningless repetition as the Gentiles do, for they suppose that they will be heard for their many words.
8“So do not be like them; for your Father knows what you need before you ask Him.
9“Pray, then, in this way:
‘Our Father who is in heaven,
Hallowed be Your name.
10‘Your kingdom come
Your will be done,
On earth as it is in heaven.
11‘Give us this day our daily bread.
12‘And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.
13‘And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from evil. [For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.]’
14“For if you forgive others for their transgressions, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.
15“But if you do not forgive others, then your Father will not forgive your transgressions.
Fasting; The True Treasure; Wealth (Mammon)
16“Whenever you fast, do not put on a gloomy face as the hypocrites do, for they neglect their appearance so that they will be noticed by men when they are fasting Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full.
17“But you, when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face
18so that your fasting will not be noticed by men, but by your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you.
19“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal.
20“But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal;
21for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
22“The eye is the lamp of the body; so then if your eye is clear, your whole body will be full of light.
23“But if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light that is in you is darkness, how great is the darkness!
24“No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth.
The Cure for Anxiety
25“For this reason I say to you, do not be worried about your life, as to what you will eat or what you will drink; nor for your body, as to what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing?
26“Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they?
27“And who of you by being worried can add a single hour to his life?
28“And why are you worried about clothing? Observe how the lilies of the field grow; they do not toil nor do they spin,
29yet I say to you that not even Solomon in all his glory clothed himself like one of these.
30“But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace, will He not much more clothe you? You of little faith!
31“Do not worry then, saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear for clothing?’
32“For the Gentiles eagerly seek all these things; for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things.
33“But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.
34“So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.
When Christ taught His disciples to pray, He told them to address God as “Our Father.” They had previously heard Jesus say, “My Father,” but now they, too, shared in that privileged family relationship. All of us who has been born again into the household of God have this same right.
Since our concepts of God are shaped by our earthly fathers, we all have different perceptions of Him, but Jesus is the only one who has a completely accurate understanding of the heavenly Father. Consider some of the ways He cares for His children:
• Loves: God’s love is unconditional, since it’s based on His nature rather than our performance (1 John 4:16).
• Listens: When we pray, He gives us His full attention (Ps. 55:16-17).
• Provides: The Father assumes responsibility for meeting all our needs (Phil. 4:19).
• Guides: He is the one who directs our path when we trust in Him (Prov. 3:5-6).
• Protects: The Lord shields us spiritually, emotionally, and physically, sifting every experience through His sovereign fingers. (Ps. 121:1-8).
• Stays: He’s not an absentee parent, since He’ll never leave or forsake us (Deut. 31:8).
• Disciplines: The Lord disciplines us
for our good, so that we may share in His holiness (Heb. 12:5-11).
Though experiences with our earthly dads may have distorted our view of the heavenly Father, we can learn to see Him as He truly is. By viewing Him through the truth of Scripture instead of our preconceptions, we will see evidence of His loving care and discover a security we’ve never known before.