Matthew 6:1-15 Read the New Testament in a Year: Acts 8:26-40 Jesus also explains how you can express this mercy practically in what you do. He highlights the importance of prayer. He tells you to ‘pray for those who persecute you’ (5:44). Praying for your enemies helps you to see them as God sees them. In prayer you stand side by side with them, take their guilt and distress on yourself, and plead to God for them. Prayer is the acid-test of love. Coming into the light of God’s presence reveals the true feelings in the depths of our hearts. The theme of mercy is also at the heart of the Lord’s Prayer: ‘Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors’ (6:12). (Of course, there is much besides mercy in this prayer, which we will look at later when we encounter it in the other Gospels.) When we pray, Jesus teaches us to: Keep it quiet ‘Find a quiet, secluded place so you won’t be tempted to role-play before God’ (v.6a, MSG). Keep it honest ‘Just be there as simply and honestly as you can manage’ (v.6b, MSG). Keep it simple ‘With a God like this loving you, you can pray very simply’ (v.9a, MSG). Finally, mercy should also be at the heart of our giving. Generosity is a form of having mercy on others. ‘When you help someone out, don’t think about how it looks. Just do it – quietly and unobtrusively. That is the way your God, who conceived you in love, working behind the scenes, helps you out’ (vv.3–4, MSG).]]>

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