Good Morning Everyone!
If you're like me, you’ve probably run out of gas at least once, and maybe even on several occasions.
I have learned the value of driving on a full tank of gas!
Can I get a witness!?
In case you haven’t noticed, you won’t get very far driving around on fumes..
Isn't that true?
Well, there is a lot of people to operate their spiritual lives, go along spiritually, on fumes.
If you haven't noticed, it’s an extremely powerless, frustrating way to walk with God!
They're trying to get somewhere without the fuel that provides that extra spark, that energizes their walk with the power of God in us through the Holy Spirit!
You can’t get far in your walk with God without a “prayer life”, yet many are trying to do just that because they think they can get away with it.
But if you ignore your need to pray it won’t be long until you’ll wind up on the side of the road, stranded and looking for help!
But we can be honest with one another, right?
There are many of us who struggle with prayer!
Well I'm happy to tell you, that we’re not the only ones – even Jesus' disciples watched Him pray one day and said, “Lord, teach us to pray." Read Luke chapter 11
Isn't that good news?
What's interesting to me, is when they heard Him preach, they didn’t ask Him how to preach, but when they saw Him pray they said to themselves, “Hey guys! We need to get in on this”!
Jesus responded to their request by giving them a MODEL PRAYER we call “The Lord’s Prayer” – actually it’s our prayer! It's often referred to as The Disciples Prayer.
Today, we begin a new sermon series, I'm really excited about!
I pray that you'll not only enjoy it, but that I'll be able to bring
some new perspective to how you view Our Lord's Prayer...
The Lord’s Prayer – Part One
Jesus didn’t give us this “prayer” to read it verbatim as our prayer, but as an “outline” or as a“guide” by which we can learn to pray!
Before I “detail” this pattern of prayer, I want to give you a basic definition of prayer means..
Is a believer’s basic communication with God who is our Father, through the authority of Jesus Christ and is assisted by the Holy Spirit.
Sounds simple enough, right?
But communication isn’t just talking!
God is a person to be communicated with, not just someone we talk to!
A BIG part of communication is to also listen to the other person, am I right?
Now, why do we pray in the name of Jesus?
We pray in the name of Jesus because He’s our access to the Father!
The only way we can get to God is by the door that was opened through the blood of Jesus Christ.
Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me."
Jesus is our means of access to God, and because of what He did on the cross we can “draw near with assurance” and come “boldly before the throne!
How awesome is THAT!?
Our prayer is also assisted by the Holy Spirit.
"Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered."
When all we can do is moan and groan struggling to find the right words, the Spirit interprets those expressions and turns them into intelligible requests before God. The Holy Spirit knows exactly what we mean to say, even when we don’t!
So the Holy Spirit’s ministry in prayer is to take what cannot be clarified and clarify it!
That’s why you’re NOT wasting your time when you don’t know what to say because the Holy Spirit is at work, deciphering and organizing your confusion.
It's like having our own personal heavenly interpreter!
The Lord’s prayer is set in what I like to call a “precautionary context”.
That’s because before Jesus gave them this model prayer He taught several important principles about prayer that we need first to consider...
He didn't say "if" but "when".
Our need to pray is the unstated assumption behind Jesus’ statement! Believers are expected to pray.
Prayer is God’s appointed medium through which He blesses and moves among us, and acts on our behalf!
James said "Yet you do not have because you do not ask." - James 4:2
Some people view prayer like the national anthem at a ball game , it gets the game started but it’s not seen as having anything to do with the action that takes place on the field!
I'm just going to lay it right out for you, plain and simple like....
If we want the blessing of God on our lives and ministries; the work of God to go forth in power, we MUST pray and intercede in prayer!
All throughout the scripture we’re admonished to pray:
1 Thessalonians 5:17
And I could on and on...verse after verse!
The problem isn’t so much in knowing that we need to pray & make it a part of our daily lives as it is developing the spiritual discipline of prayer.
To pray regularly we’ve got to establish the habit.
Prayer has to be something we not only do everyday BUT it must be a regular part of our lives because it’s crucial in so many ways.
Prayer is an expression of our “faith” and the Bible says,
“Without faith it’s impossible to please Him” Hebrews 11:6
If we know we NEED to pray but we don’t, we should search the genuineness of our heart and profession.
That brings me to the next principal...
Principal 2.) The second principal is to pray sincerely.
"And when you pray, you shall not be like the hypocrites." Matthew 6:5
Praying sincerely requires praying with the “right motive”!
Jesus said it’s possible to pray amiss with the wrong motives and in the wrong way; to pray and never be heard by God; to pray and only be speaking to ourselves; have our prayers go no higher than our own ears.
That’s the reason Jesus sets out to teach us the “right” and “wrong” motives:
Wrong motive – to be seen of men!
Right motive – to be heard by God!
Praying, even loving to pray is not a sign that a person really knows God!
If a person really knows God he'll pray – in fact, there’s nothing that will keep him from his appointment with God.
Most Jews prayed 3 times a day, but he hypocrites prayed on the streets and in crowded places to be seen.
This takes us back to first verse where Jesus said,
“Take heed that you do not do your charitable deeds before men, to be seen by them."
Here is two important points:
A person who only prays in public but not in private is only fooling himself!
A person who only prays in public prays for ONE reason, to receive recognition and be seen of men!
Notice the posture of this hypocrite in verse five... he "stood praying..."
Now standing is an acceptable posture but the picture is that of pride, arrogance, and self-confidence.
Kneeling is a picture of humility, reverence, and dependence upon God.
Principal 3.) The third principal is pray in secret!
"But you, when you pray, go into your room, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly."
Jesus wasn’t equating “praying alone” to the only “effective praying” but expressing the need to “shut out” anything that would keep us from concentrating on God.
If you’re gong to connect with Him you must connect spiritually but when God sees you’re serious enough to remove all distractions He’ll show up!
To put it simply, Jesus was saying, “Get alone, enter your closet, shut the door, be unobserved, undisturbed, unheard”!
I've heard many people exclaim, they don't pray regularly, because they just don't have the time to pray!
The fact is they just refuse to MAKE time to pray!
People find the time to do the things that are important to them... PERIOD!
Here a hard truth:
If it's important to you, you'll make time, if it's not, you'll make an excuse not to do it!
Most guys wouldn't miss out on watching Sunday football, yet we’ll miss out on spending with the God, the Creator of the universe!
And ladies, I know most of you will move heaven and earth to keep that hair appointment,
yet you'll miss one with Almighty God!
It all comes down to re-arranging our schedules, to prioritize what's most important to us!
The reward of praying in secret is two/fold:
1. The strength and presence of God will be on our lives!
2. Our needs, both material and spiritual, will be met!
The answer is seen in:
1. Renewed strength Ephesians 3:20.
2. Provision of a necessity Matthew 6:33
3. Victory over a temptation 1 Corinthians 10:13
4. Peace that passes all human understanding Philippians 4:6-7
5. Soundness of mind 2 Timothy 1:7
Principal 4.) Pray thoughtfully!
Don’t use vain repetitions! Matthew 6:7
“Vain repetition” is to start babbling.. Often times when we allow the awareness of His presence to fade and we just go through the motions of prayer and begin repeating ourselves with no thought.
Pro Tip: Several things that lend themselves to “vain repetition”...
Written and well-worded prayers – thinking that how we say it is bound to carry weight with God.
Ritual prayer – saying the same prayer at the same time on the same occasion!
Thoughtless prayer – saying words that sound like prayer when our mind is somewhere else!
Sometimes, our prayers consist just words we throw out there to salute God so we can cut to the chase, get on to the real deal.
A “Let's hurry up and pray so we can have church” attitude!
There have been times, when I, myself have prayed and had my mind on something else, I just had to get past “prayer” to get it!
So why do some people pray long?
Some people, feel long prayers are more convincing to God!
Like He has to be moved, nudged, stirred to hear and answer; the longer they pray the more He’ll listen. WRONG!
Some feel they need to pray long. They feel God needs to be more informed and made to understand their situation, so He'll act!
Some feel long praying makes them more spiritual but that has nothing to do with how spiritual we are!
Some feel long prayers are what’s demanded of believers; that it’s our duty and it’s the religions thing to do!
Some feel that it’s needed to show their sincerity, to secure God’s approval!
Some feel it impresses people and you very well may impress some but not all!
And you certainly won't impress God!
God doesn’t hear our prayer because it’s long & repetitious but He hears because we genuinely pour our heart out to Him!
Sincere prayer is a matter of the “heart” and not a matter of “words” and “length”!
"For You do not desire sacrifice, or else I would give it;
You do not delight in burnt offering.
The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit,
A broken and a contrite heart—
These, O God, You will not despise."
There are times when extended prayer may be necessary:
We feel a tug at our heart!
A special need arises!
We’re facing a great trial or temptation!
We’re about to make a major life changing decision!
Several things that will keep us from “vain repetition”:
A genuine heart – a desire to have real fellowship with God!
Thought and concentration – really focusing on what we say!
Preparation – prepare ourselves by meditating on His Word!
In closing, there are also several dangers we must avoid surrounding our prayer..
Our prayer can become hypocritical, we can pray for the wrong reasons and with the wrong motives!
When prayer becomes connected only with certain places, we can limit God’s presence to only those places!
When our prayer begins to become self-glorifying, we can feel we have to inform and convince God of our great need and then glory in our spirituality when the need is met!
When prayer becomes self-deceptive – we can begin to think we’re heard because we pray a lot and are more spiritual!
Prayer can become habit-forming – we can love the act of praying and pray amiss!
All of this renders prayer ineffective! But if we can pray regularly, sincerely, secretly, and thoughtfully, we can pray effectively!
It's not how long we pray, how well worded our prayers are... it's the sincerity of our prayers and the genuineness of our hearts that count!
When we have met God's conditions, He hears and He answers..
Brian Monzon Ministries