|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
6:5-8 It is taken for granted that all who are disciples of Christ pray. You may as soon find a living man that does not breathe, as a living Christian that does not pray. If prayerless, then graceless. The Scribes and Pharisees were guilty of two great faults in prayer, vain-glory and vain repetitions. Verily they have their reward; if in so great a matter as is between us and God, when we are at prayer, we can look to so poor a thing as the praise of men, it is just that it should be all our reward. Yet there is not a secret, sudden breathing after God, but he observes it. It is called a reward, but it is of grace, not of debt; what merit can there be in begging? If he does not give his people what they ask, it is because he knows they do not need it, and that it is not for their good. So far is God from being wrought upon by the length or words of our prayers, that the most powerful intercessions are those which are made with groanings that cannot be uttered. Let us well study what is shown of the frame of mind in which our prayers should be offered, and learn daily from Christ how to pray.
Verse 8. - Be not ye therefore like. Revised Version omits "ye," as the emphatic personal pronoun is not expressed. The connexion of thought is - Seeing you are expected to shun heathen error (Meyer), do not allow yourselves to reproduce heathen practices. By observing these you would be taking a definite way of becoming like (passive, or rather middle, ὁμοιωθῆτε) those who ordinarily practise them. For; i.e. you stand on a different footing altogether from the heathen; you are intimately related to One above, who knows your wants, even before you express them to him. Your Father; Revised Version margin, "some ancient authorities read God your Father." So אָ, B, sah. (ὁ Θεός is bracketed by Westcott and Hort). The insertion is at first sight suspicious, but as there is no trace of such an addition in vers. 1, 4, 6, 14. 18 (in ver. 32 only אָ), it is hard to see why it should have been interpolated here. Its omission, on the other hand, is easily accounted for by its absence in those passages. The internal evidence, therefore, corroborates the strong external evidence of אָ, B. Our Lord here said "God" to emphasize the majesty and power of "your Father." Knoweth; i.e. intuitively (οϊδεν); el. ver. 32.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
Be not ye therefore like unto them,..... Do not be imitators of them, and follow their ways, who have only the dim light of nature to guide them; it would be shameful in you to do as they do, when you have a divine revelation for your direction; and especially, because
your Father knoweth what things ye have need of before ye ask him; and therefore have no need to make use of many words, or much speaking, or long prayers. The omniscience of God is a considerable argument, and a great encouragement to prayer; he knows our persons and our wants before hand; and as he is able to help us, we have reason to believe he will; especially since he stands in the relation of a Father to us.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
8. Be not ye therefore like unto them: for your Father knoweth what things ye have need of before ye ask him—and so needs not to be informed of our wants, any more than to be roused to attend to them by our incessant speaking. What a view of God is here given, in sharp contrast with the gods of the heathen! But let it be carefully noted that it is not as the general Father of mankind that our Lord says, "Your Father" knoweth what ye need before ye ask it; for it is not men, as such, that He is addressing in this discourse, but His own disciples—the poor in spirit, the mourners, the meek, hungry and thirsty souls, the merciful, the pure in heart, the peacemakers, who allow themselves to have all manner of evil said against them for the Son of man's sake—in short, the new-born children of God, who, making their Father's interests their own, are here assured that their Father, in return, makes their interests His, and needs neither to be told nor to be reminded of their wants. Yet He will have His children pray to Him, and links all His promised supplies to their petitions for them; thus encouraging us to draw near and keep near to Him, to talk and walk with Him, to open our every case to Him, and assure ourselves that thus asking we shall receive—thus seeking we shall find—thus knocking it shall be opened to us.
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