Sermons

Summary: A look at one of the major teachings on prayer that Jesus gave his disciples, so we can learn how to “use” prayer to communicate more effectively with God.

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BIG IDEA:

All believers can pray effectively by following the instructions Jesus gave us in Matthew 6:5-13.

1. Pray secretly. (v. 5-6)

2. Pray concisely. (v. 7-8)

3. Give God honor. (v. 9)

4. Submit to God’s will. (v. 10)

5. Recognize your dependence upon God. (v. 11)

6. Ask for and extend forgiveness. (v. 12)

7. Ask for protection from temptation and evil. (v. 13)

INTRODUCTION: Last week The Advertisement taught us that God wants to bless us with

• Intimacy with Him.

• Wisdom and understanding

• Power for the miraculous

• Peace and joy for the ups and downs of life

All these are possible through developing our mode of communication with him – prayer. We ended the service with a chance to “sign up” like we would for a cell phone plan, by letting God know we were willing to pay the price. If you missed last week – I encourage you to use the “commitment card” in the program if you would like to, and check out last week’s message online or get a CD.

Now, moving ahead, I want you to remember the time you received your latest cell phone. It came with all sorts of bells and whistles, but you didn’t know exactly how to use it. That’s what the manual is for. The same is true of prayer – God not only allows us to use it to communicate with him, he gave us a manual for to use it! Today we’re going to look at one of the major teachings on prayer that Jesus gave his disciples, so we can learn how to “use” prayer to communicate more effectively with God.

1. Pray secretly. (v. 5-6)

Matt. 6:5 “And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full.

Matt. 6:6 But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.

Luke 5:16 But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.

Jesus made it a practice to get alone with God, and he encourages his disciples to do the same.

Don’t brag about it. Don’t try to look good. Just get alone with God and pray.

Jesus says God will reward those who pray secretly to him. What is the reward? Time with God itself is the reward. As Hank Hannegraff writes in The Prayer of Jesus, “The tragedy of contemporary Christianity is that we measure the success of our prayer life by the size and scope of our accomplishments, rather than the strength of our relationships with God.” (ch. 2, p. 10)

Again – the reward for those who pray secretly is not so much in gaining answers to requests, but in a deeper relationship with their Creator.

2. Pray concisely. (v. 7-8)

Matt. 6:7 And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words.

Matt. 6:8 Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.

This principle needs to be heard – for it is freedom! I’ve known so many people who think that in order to pray they have to use fancy words, or long sentences, or in-depth paragraphs. But Jesus says – you don’t need to use lots of words. Your Father knows your heart and he knows what you need before you say it. So just ask Him, simply and in faith.


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