Read Matthew 5 and 6.
Mark these phrases.
~ your Father
~ You have heard that it was said
~ But I say to you
~ It was also said
~ your neighbor
~ your brothers
Mark if-then and purpose statements.
Examples: so if-but if, but-so that
Read chapters 5 and 6 again looking to feel the personal relationships emphasized and the instructions given.
If we are a true Christians then he is our Father. Jesus emphasizes this personal relationship as he gives us completed meaning to the teaching of the Law and the Prophets. If we allow this to sink in it gives us the sense of our Father's authority and our personal and communal responsibility.
Read Lamentations 3:19.
I said, How I would set you among my sons,
and give you a pleasant land,
a heritage most beautiful of all nations.
And I thought you would call me, My Father,
and would not turn from following me.
Do you hear the heart of God and his desire for personal relationship with his people? In this passage God is not speaking to an individual, but through an individual to that individual's community. In Matthew 5 and 6 Jesus is also speaking to a community, his disciples and a crowd (curious yet many still likely uncommitted), when he says your Father.
Set a timer for 10 minutes. Meditate on these Scriptures and the specific phrases "your Father" and "My Father". Try to think with a communal mindset. Try to pray with a communal mindset.
Read Matthew 6:9-13.
Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name.
Your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread,
and forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.
Read Daniel chapter 9.
Note that both prayers are in first person plural. Look at the pronouns: our, us, we.
How do we, in the United States, pray? In my experience, we most often pray in the first person, singular.
What should learn from these examples? We are not first individuals, we are first a community, a body with one head, a people chosen.
Matthew chapters 5 and 6 do not apply to us as individuals, primarily. We must learn to walk in God's ways which are clearly communal.
I am personally still coming to understand the depth of this truth. I see it throughout Scripture. I know that I must gain God's heart and walk in Christ's ways.
Set a timer for 10 minutes. Meditate on Daniel's prayer.
Matthew 5 and 6 are so rich and should be studied for a lifetime. Consider giving some more time to personal study of some portion. Personal study must be practiced. Don't expect to be good at it. But begin to practice.
For a short comprehensive brief on personal Bible study read Jen Wilkin's book: Women of the Word: How to Study the Bible with Both Our Hearts and Our Minds