How is it that the apostle Paul has such confidence that he can declare that he is a prisoner—not of Rome, but of Christ? "For this reason I, Paul, the prisoner of Christ Jesus for the sake of you Gentiles".
Why do we give thanks as believers? Why is it that as the world grows in its discontentment, anger, rage, and hatred, the Christian not only has great hope by contrast, but thanksgiving and praise from the heart?
After the Lord's Prayer (really, the model prayer or disciples' prayer), Jesus then addresses humble fasting. Fasting is the humbling of the soul before God through the deprivation of food for a time, to seek Him, to meditate on His Word, and to pray.
Jesus did not leave His disciples without cause to pray or without a way to pray. He wanted to be sure that His followers, then and now, would know how to come humbly before the Father, through Christ, indwelled by the Holy Spirit, with their every prayer and petition.
Jesus continues His warnings about practicing righteousness to be noticed. While last week's message focused on giving to be noticed by others, this week's focused on praying to be noticed by others, as well as praying with meaningless repetition.
Jesus calls His followers to a humble righteousness, not a pompous, arrogant, prideful religiosity. Though the scribes and Pharisees lived their good works in such a way as to declare them to the world, for Jesus' followers it was never to be this way.