We have talked about: The Top Four Reasons we do not pray as we should...
#4- Angry at God
#3- God is displeased/Distant from God
#2- Not enough time/Too busy
#1- Prayer doesn't seem to work/Make a difference
We discussed how Prayer... Done Biblically...Absolutely makes all of the difference in the world! In helping us literally know God more intimately...
And in the fact that... According to Scriptures... AND experience: God WILL change the course of the world…On behalf of our prayers!
Many who truly even believe these statements about prayer...Still say... If they are honest...
"Yes I believe prayer works, but I don't know HOW to pray effectively!"
"I have trouble staying in prayer for 5 minutes... Much less 30!"
"I feel like I'm talking to the ceiling... And nothing ever happens...
I don't feel close to Him, and I don't seem to get answers!"
Many Christians don't even know where to begin…Changing and improving their prayer lives! Even Jesus' own disciples... Watched His Power and Intimacy in prayer...And realized they too fell short! But they responded in the same way WE SHOULD RESPOND...If we know our prayer life is far from adequate:
Luke 11:1 (ESV)
Now Jesus was praying in a certain place, and when he finished, one of his disciples said to him, “Lord, teach us to pray, as John taught his disciples.”
We would be very wise to do as the disciples...And turn to Jesus Himself...
For a better understanding of how to pray! Jesus... God Almighty...The One Who Came to Live Life in Human Form... To SHOW US how WE are to live... As men and women of God!
We will look at NOTHING EXCEPT...What Our JESUS TAUGHT... And EXEMPLIFIED...In His Life on earth... About prayer! Jesus DID give us very clear and powerful Teachings...About HOW to pray! When we are done... I promise... If you listen... It will be life altering!
Let's start from scratch… Because people have questions about prayer at all levels! So we’ll cover a few basic things people wonder about...Before diving into the question of exactly, Biblically… "HOW" to pray!
#1 TIME: Many people do not have a set time to pray...Often exclaiming, "Well, we are to walk in prayer at all times!"
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 (ESV)
16 Rejoice always, 17 pray without ceasing, 18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
They pray when they can make the time...They pray throughout the day as needs arise...And these things are true...Jesus Walked in Constant Fellowship with the Father as well!
Jesus also Made Ample, Often, Purposeful, Private Time...For He and the Father to be ALONE as ONE...Because the FATHER… Was the Most Important thing in His Life! These were His Most Intimate Moments...They were the MAIN DISH… THE MEAL FOR THE DAY…NOT the Supplemental Vitamin! Where He Drew His Strength, Wisdom, Direction and Power!Where He Maintained His Oneness with the Father's Will & Love!
Mark 1:35 (ESV)
35 And rising very early in the morning, while it was still dark, he departed and went out to a desolate place, and there he prayed.
Matthew 14:22-23 (ESV)
22 Immediately he made the disciples get into the boat and go before him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowds. 23 And after he had dismissed the crowds, he went up on the mountain by himself to pray. When evening came, he was there alone,
Luke 6:12-13 (ESV)
12 In these days he went out to the mountain to pray, and all night he continued in prayer to God. 13 And when day came, he called his disciples and chose from them twelve, whom he named apostles:
Luke 5:15-16 (ESV)
15 But now even more the report about him went abroad, and great crowds gathered to hear him and to be healed of their infirmities. 16 But he would withdraw to desolate places and pray.
Jesus Made regular time everyday...To get ALONE with the Father only...And spend much time in uninterrupted Communion!
You absolutely CANNOT become be Intimate with God... Cannot hear God Speak... Cannot focus on Who God truly Is and worship Him...In a 5 minute prayer that you fit in sometime through the day!In the "on-the-go" prayers given along the day!
You cannot have a relationship with your mate this way! There must be times of complete focus and attention...Complete intimacy between you and them!
Or there is no real growth in the relationship... No appreciation!There is no real bonding and learning one another!There is no real listening and understanding!
I’M SORRY, BUT… THE GOD OF THE UNIVERSE...WHO GAVE HIS OWN SON TO DIE FOR YOUR SOUL...TO HAVE FELLOWSHIP WITH YOU...WHO WANTS TO GUIDE AND DIRECT YOUR LIFE...NEEDS... AND ABSOLUTELY DESERVES...A BIT MORE THAN SPARE TIME!!
Jesus stayed up late into night after an exhausting day... Rather than miss prayer with His Father! Jesus arose before everyone else... With a day packed full...Rather than miss prayer with His Father! Jesus went without sleep or food...before He went without Prayer! Jesus MADE the time for the Thing He Most Desired & Needed!
Make a time and place everyday...Where you will meet with your God... No matter the inconvenience or cost... THIS ALONE... Is a true act of worship...
And a show of your desire and need for Him in your life!
If you do not... The God of the Universe…Will end up getting your scraps for the day... If anything at all!...And your Intimacy with Him... Your Power in prayer...
Will reflect your urgency to be with Him! "A day without prayer... is a boast that you do not need Him in your life that day!"
When we say, "Let's pray!"...What does everyone do immediately? Head down and eyes closed! There's nothing wrong with that! Listen closely:
John 17:1 (ESV)
When Jesus had spoken these words, he lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said, “Father..."
Luke 22:41-42 (ESV)
41 And he withdrew from them about a stone’s throw, and knelt down and prayed, 42 saying, “Father..."
Matthew 26:39 (ESV)
39 And going a little farther he fell on his face and prayed, saying, “My Father..."
There are scores of examples from devout & sincere people in Scriptures...Praying with eyes closed, eyes open, eyes towards Heaven...Praying standing up, kneeling, on their face, sitting (2 Sam 7:18)...There is no necessary posture or rule for the eyes!
I often pray with eyes open to see God's Creation as I pray...And to stay alert and hungry! I sometimes pray with eyes shut...To truly close out the world in fervency!
I pray standing up in obedience, servitude and honor...Keeping myself sharp and available...I pray kneeling...To show my subjection and worship and adoration!
ALL ARE ACCEPTABLE FORMS OF PRAYER!
True, deep prayer...Will probably consist of ALL... It did with Jesus!Use your whole body to worship as well!Depending upon your heart and reasons at the time! Just be real... Sincere!
#3 To Whom do we pray? The Father, the Son, or the Holy Spirit?
All Three are ONE in the Godhead...And it is not wrong to speak to and pray to Any! Jesus Christ gave us a very specific Answer...When He was asked to teach the disciples how to pray...
Matthew 6:9 (ESV)
9 Pray then like this: “Our Father in heaven...
When Jesus is telling them of His Plans to soon leave them...He gives them these instructions for prayer...
John 16:23 (ESV)
23 In that day you will ask nothing of me. Truly, truly, I say to you, whatever you ask of the Father in my name, he will give it to you.
So Jesus prayed to the Father...And Instructed His disciples to do the same when He Left...And While on earth... Jesus Prayed to... And Worked for... The Father...In... The Power of the Spirit...
Luke 4:17-18 (ESV)
17 And the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was given to him. He unrolled the scroll and found the place where it was written, 18 “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed,
Acts 10:38 (ESV)
38 how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power. He went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with him.
Did you ever see Him Speak to or Pray to the Spirit? Jesus Made the Way for us in His Sacrifice...So that through His Own Name... Given to US in His Death...We might do the same!
The way in which we can Honor, Worship and Acknowledge...ALL THREE of the GODHEAD at once... Recognizing the Way in which…THEY ALL Work Together as ONE...For our Intimacy and Salvation is this...Praying to Our Father God...In the Name and Power of the Son...Who Died to make you worthy...Whose Name and Work you are praying to elevate...In the Power of the Spirit...Who forever Intimately Indwells you...Leading you in Will and Desire to know God more...Empowering you with His Presence here on earth! ALL THREE... Working Together as ONE in our Prayers...Loved, Worshiped, Followed, Needed! THAT... Is the Trinity... The Godhead... In Prayer!
#4- The Final... Biggest question is "HOW... DO WE PRAY?"
So many Christians have developed a set routine of prayer...Based upon their circumstances, needs and ministries...Which they pretty much repeat as a necessary legality each day!
No wonder your prayer life…Is dull, boring, distant and ineffective! Try that with your spouse! Just set them down for 5 minutes a day...And tell them verbatim- They are beautiful, loved and wanted...Then tell them you're sorry if you did anything to offend them...Then tell them what they need to accomplish today!
For good measure... Skip a few days altogether here and there...When you're busy... Or mad they didn't do all you asked! And make sure to fall asleep on them occasionally...When you do give them 5 minutes!
When the disciples asked Jesus to teach them to pray...Jesus gave very good, detailed and powerful instructions on prayer! But the format He gave them...
Was NOT meant to be used as a perfect, repeated line in a play! It wasn't made to be followed rigidly or legalistically...
Jesus' Pattern for Prayer...Was to teach us the Focus... The Purpose... The Heart and Soul of Prayer! Simply as a Pattern of Thought!! So that we would enter into The Father's Presence...With the right mindset, goals and passion!
Let's look at this Model from Jesus... "The Lord's Prayer..."Which in actuality is the "Disciples' Prayer!" Because there are parts of this Prayer which Jesus...Was never in need of Praying Himself.
Let's begin with Jesus' short PRELUDE to the Prayer Itself...Which sets the tone for our Meeting with God!
Matthew 6:6-8 (NKJV)
6 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. 7 And when you pray, do not use vain repetitions as the heathen do. For they think that they will be heard for their many words. 8 Therefore do not be like them. For your Father knows the things you have need of before you ask Him.
The point is not to physically be in a room or closet...Or Jesus Himself would not have been Faithful to these Principles...But Jesus Did this very thing again and again...As He Went away to a remote area... At inopportune times...ALONE! INTIMATELY!
Jesus is Saying... Go to a private place with GOD ALONE...NOT… JUST PRAYERS ALONG THE WAY!Make it a SECRET meeting... Intimate... For Him Alone! So nothing you say is for anyone or any purpose other than HIM! Honor Him with a private time set apart for Him...Away from the world! Realize... God Almighty... The King of the Universe...Is Coming to Meet with ONLY YOU!
He Loves you THAT MUCH!
Secondly... Jesus is Saying...
DO NOT simply come into God's Presence...And Insult Him with a mindless repetition of words! There is nothing wrong with bringing the same requests to Him on repeated occasions! (It is even desired) But Jesus is Warning against reciting your prayers as a mindless habit... A ritual...A task...Simply to get the desired results from God...
We are coming to meet with Our King, Our God, Our Savior...Jesus Explains why in these Verses...
Matthew 6:8 (NKJV)
"For your Father knows the things you have need of before you ask Him."
In other words..."You are not coming primarily to even give God your requests and needs... Because He already Knows them!" If that is your Primary reason… Your prayer life is DEAD ALREADY! You are coming for much deeper, more powerful reasons...Than to perform a mindless ritual... In order to be Granted your personal needs!
HOW TO PRAY! (Jesus Style)
Now let's read the this short "Model Prayer" in entirety...Then break it down a bit today and next week!
Matthew 6:9-13 (NKJV)
9 In this manner, therefore, pray:
Our Father in heaven, Hallowed be Your name.
10 Your kingdom come. Your will be done On earth as it is in heaven.
11 Give us this day our daily bread.
12 And forgive us our debts, As we forgive our debtors.
13 And do not lead us into temptation, But deliver us from the evil one.
For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.
Again... Rigidity and pattern are not important... But the HEART behind the prayer! So... I do want you to acknowledge the flow/order of the Prayer...
Because it IS important!...And it DOES completely effect the potential content and outcome!
The first line is the KEY TO THE WHOLE PRAYER!"Our Father in heaven, Hallowed be Your name." We are coming to OUR FATHER… Not Employer… NOT GENIE! He WANTS to be there… WANTS to hear you… WANTS to Provide… WANTS to Be Close!
The Greek word for "Hallowed"… Is HAGIAZO (hag-ee-ad'-zo)... Meaning to:
Make Holy, pure, set apart from all, regard with great respect!
Whenever we come to God in personal, private prayer...WORSHIP, REVERENCE, THANKFULNESS...UNDERSTANDING OF WHO HE IS IN OUR LIVES...Completely ALTERS everything about...WHAT we ask for... WHY we ask it... And HOW EXPECTANT we are in receiving it!
Remember this Prayer is simply a format... A pattern...Our MIND & PRAYER completely HINGE on this one thing!...AND IT SHOULD ALWAYS BE WHERE WE START!...It would be just fine... Even awesome...If our prayers never made it past this stage at times!
We open with our minds focusing on... And proclaiming in love...How AWESOME, HOLY, FAITHFUL, POWERFUL, AMAZING, HUMBLE,
FORGIVING, FAITHFUL AND WISE...Our God truly IS!
This is where you think about how God has Created so much for us...Put such love and honor upon us...And even when we destroyed it all...He refused to throw us away...But had to Make a Way... Even at the expense of all He had to give... As God... For us to still be with Him... How He Loves us through all of our rebellion and ignorance... How He is Patient to the end... How He WANTS to Provide for us as His Children... As His beloved... In ways He would NEVER forgive & provide for anyone else... This is where we have to focus on HIM... Until we truly see the Power... The Precious Love... The Overwhelming Desire... To be with us... Bless us... Be involved in everything about us... Joyfully... As a Holy, Perfect, Trustworthy King!
We should come to Him with...Excitement, Expectation, Thanksgiving and Awe! You have to see the Father's Love and Desire to Hear you...As JESUS did on earth...
John 11:41-42 (NKJV)
41 ...And Jesus lifted up His eyes and said, "Father, I thank You that You have heard Me. 42 And I know that You always hear Me, but because of the people who are standing by I said this..."
Since Jesus gave you His Righteousness Name...The Father DOES See you as He did Jesus!
If your daily prayer at times…Happens to leave time for nothing else on a given day...
THIS... IS MOST IMPORTANT AND ADVANTAGEOUS!
THIS WILL CHANGE YOUR HEART AND MIND FOR THE DAY!
THIS WILL BRING GOD'S FAVOR AND BLESSING ABOVE PETITIONS!
Hosea 6:6 (ESV)
6 For I desire steadfast love and not sacrifice, the knowledge of God rather than burnt offerings.
Matthew 22:37-38 (ESV)
37 And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. 38 This is the great and first commandment.
Psalm 100:1-5 (NKJV)
1 Make a joyful shout to the LORD, all you lands! 2 Serve the LORD with gladness; Come before His presence with singing. 3 Know that the LORD, He is God; It is He who has made us, and not we ourselves; We are His people and the sheep of His pasture. 4 Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, And into His courts with praise. Be thankful to Him, and bless His name. 5 For the LORD is good; His mercy is everlasting, And His truth endures to all generations.
Nothing in prayer... Is more important to God and you...Nothing in prayer... Is more powerful...Than stopping in the day...And recognizing His Love and Power...And freshly giving Him your...Thanks, Trust, Reverence and Love in return!
Sometimes you think,“Yes, but I’m so stressed & overwhelmed right now!” It’s difficult… Because you are coming to Him…In a troubled world... With worries on your mind...And sinfulness in your heart...This part of prayer is sometimes the hardest...And it requires that we stop...Forget everything else for a moment...
And realize What is Truly Important! Reflect on NOTHING ELSE for a time...
Than Our God... Whom we were Created to Love and Live with as ONE!
Even… Especially… In our worst of struggles...God Tells us this is most important...
Psalm 23:5 (ESV)
5 You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.
This Psalm says forget the enemy outside for a time...Come in and have Fellowship with Me Alone! You are My Desired and Honored guest... (Anointing Oil)! I Want you to be with Me always (Cup runs over)!
Revelation 3:20 (HCSB)
20 Listen! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and have dinner with him, and he with Me.
He's Inviting you and I to a wonderful time of Fellowship and Blessing with Him... We just have to open the door! Last week we said that PRAYER is the KEY to the Door...Praise, Reverence, Worship Recognition and Thanksgiving…Arewhat TURNS THE KEY of Prayer...And opens the Door!
There is so much more for us to learn and experience...THIS is just the start! But the most important start!!
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