Don’t Be A Religious Mechanic
By Ross Freeman
“Then the disciples of John came to Him (Jesus), saying, why do we and the Pharisees fast often, but your disciples do not fast? And Jesus said to them, ‘can the friends of the bridegroom mourn as long as the bridegroom is with them? But the days will come when the bridegroom will be taken away from them, and then they will fast. No one puts a piece of un-shrunken cloth on an old garment; for the patch pulls away from the garment, and the tear is made worse. Nor do they put new wine into old wineskins, or else the wineskins break, the wine is spilled, and the wineskins are ruined. But they put new wine into new wineskins, and both are preserved.” (Matthew 9:14-17)
Fasting by the Pharisees was done out of religious observances. It was mechanical and failed to ask God for any specific observances.
While Jesus was on earth there was no need to fast and He was not impressed by the religious observances of the Pharisees. The time was coming when He would no longer be with His disciples. After His death the true fast that was acceptable to God would come into being. Jesus’ disciples just needed to trust in Christ who was with them.
The old form of Judaism could not compete with the new gospel. It could not be patched into, included or inserted into the spiritual freshness. It was outdated, worn out, brittle and obsolete. The new had come, the old had to go.
Do Not Pray To Impress
“And when you pray you shall not be like the hypocrite. For they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the corners of the streets, that they may be seen by men. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward. But you, when you pray, go into your room, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly. And when you pray do not use vain repetitions as the heathen do. For they think that they will be heard for their many words. Therefore do not be like them. For your Father knows the things you have need of before you ask Him.” ( Matthew 6:5-8)
When we pray we are not to make a show of it, draw attention to ourselves or offer up pretentious prayers. We do not want people to say, “Oh, look at him. Look at how good he is, how good he prays. What a man of God. I wish I could pray like that.” If we pray in such a manner, that is all the recognition and reward we are going to get. We will get nothing from God for that kind of praying does not impress Him.
Heartfelt prayer in secret pleases God. Even in pubic we can pray in secret by not drawing attention to ourselves. The only time we should be seen praying publicly is when requested by the leadership or a brother or sister in need, even then we are not to be grandstanding show ponies.
I believe that most people realize that the “Lord’s Prayer”, as we know it, is not a prayer but instruction from God on how to pray. Follow God’s instructions and please Him in your prayer time.
A good time to forgive others is in your prayer time, because it is then that your heart is right. Remember you can’t pray a lie.