Session 14 – Avoid Hypocrisy – Prayer

Jeremiah 29 13God wants heart, not detached religious activity.

“My son, give me thine heart, and let thine eyes observe my ways” (Proverbs 23:26).

The Word of God clearly states the outward actions that God expects — live lovingly, be kind, work, give, serve others, and such. However, robotic obedience to these commandments, without the inward heart directed toward God, is vain.

Others can see the outward actions, but the directing of the heart is done in the privacy of the mind. We may fool others and even ourselves but never God. He sees the heart, and His vision is not impaired by outward activities. To observe His ways without giving Him our heart is hypocrisy and thus is not acceptable to God.

Christians are constantly tempted with hypocrisy. Hypocrisy is feigning or pretending to be what one is not. A hypocrite is a person who puts on a false appearance of virtue or religion.

Genuine Service

1 Corinthians 13:1-3 – Righteous acts can be done without love which may impress others but not God.

James 1:22-27 – Loving intentions must be accompanied with loving actions. God wants both — heart and actions.

Matthew 6:1 – Some texts have “alms” in place of “righteousness.” Righteousness is acting in accordance with God’s Word.

We must guard our minds to avoid slipping into deeds done for the acceptance or recognition of man. If we serve for man’s reward, that is all we get. To serve the right way takes deliberate, disciplined action. We must continually ask ourselves, “Why am I doing this? Is this what God wants? Is this directed toward God? Does God get the glory or do I? Why am I doing what I am doing? Is this about me?”


Matthew 6:5 and 6 – The very first thing that Jesus taught about prayer was not to be a hypocrite.

Praying is an act of worship or devotion to God which must be presented with a genuine pure heart. Prayer is never to be used for the attention or adoration of men.

Matthew 6:7 and 8 – Prayers are not to be conducted in a mechanical, mindless fashion.

Repetition itself is not the concern, rather vain repetition which is much talking without concern or thought for that which is being said.

Matthew 6:9 – “Our Father” – Our prayers are not to some remote, uncaring, and untouchable deity, rather to the ever present, always loving, and approachable Father.

“Who is in heaven” – Directs our attention to the utter magnificence and might of the One Who is our Father. Our Father is the Creator of the heavens and earth and everything therein.

Deuteronomy 10:14 – Behold, the heaven and the heaven of heavens is the LORD’S [Yahweh’s] your God, the earth also, with all that therein is.

Isaiah 40:12 – Who has measured the waters in the hollow of His hand, And marked off the heavens by the span, And calculated the dust of the earth by the measure, And weighed the mountains in a balance.  And the hills in a pair of scales?

Ephesians 3:20 – Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us,

“Hallowed be thy name” – “Hallowed” means to sanctify, to render or acknowledge as holy.

Isaiah 57:15 – For thus says the high and exalted One Who lives forever, whose name is Holy, “I dwell on a high and holy place, And also with the contrite and lowly of spirit In order to revive the spirit of the lowly And to revive the heart of the contrite.

Revelation 4:8 – And the four living creatures, each one of them having six wings, are full of eyes around and within; and day and night they do not cease to say, “HOLY, HOLY, HOLY is THE LORD GOD, THE ALMIGHTY, WHO WAS AND WHO IS AND WHO IS TO COME.”

1 Peter 3:15 – He is to be sanctified in our hearts.

Psalms 46:10 – He will be sanctified in all the earth.

We must approach this Holy God with a pure, holy attitude, not vain repetitions or mindless words.

Matthew 6:10 – When the Kingdom comes, then His will only will be done on earth.

Matthew 6:11 – Each day, we are to pray this prayer. We are to live each day without being distracted by the past or future. The only day we have is today. We are not told to pray for tomorrow’s bread today (Matthew 6:34).

Daily bread includes the necessities in the physical realm and, more importantly, whatever is needed in the spiritual.

Matthew 6:12 – We are told to ask God for His forgiveness at least daily.

1 John 1:9 – God is willing to forgive; however, He insists that we also forgive others.

Matthew 6:14; Ephesians 4:32 – Forgiving others is not optional if we want God to forgive us. Matthew 6:13

Matthew 26:41 – Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.

2 Peter 2:9 – The Lord knows how to rescue the godly from temptation, and to keep the unrighteous under punishment for the Day of Judgment,

Luke 11:1-13 – This is a similar prayer and additional information on the subject.

Other prayers written after our Lord’s ascension that are significant to pray are recorded in Ephesians 1:17-ff; 3:14-21; Philippians 1:9-11; Colossians 1:9-12; and Ephesians 6:18-20.


Matthew 6:16 – Fasting is the abstaining or limiting of food or drink for a certain amount of time.

Psalm 35:13 – But as for me, when they were sick, my clothing was sackcloth: I humbled my soul with fasting; and my prayer returned into mine own bosom.

Fasting, at times, accompanied the heart’s desire of total humility before God and complete and utter focus upon God, His guidance, instruction, and deliverance for oneself and for others.

Joel 2:12-14; Isaiah 58:1-72

The right motivation in fasting is to seek help in living God’s Word and will.