Summary: Examine the aspects of prayer found in the Lord’s prayer.
Beginning today we are asking you to join us in 40 days of focused prayer. This prayer focus will lead up to our capital funds campaign. In preparation for this time of prayer I want to share a message entitled “A Journey in Prayer.” The material I share today could be taught over a period of weeks or even months. Volumes of books have been written from the passage we are about to read. I do not plan to be exhaustive. The purpose of this message is to encourage and challenge you in your prayer life. Also, I hope to challenge you to take the next step in your walk with God.
The passage we examine is Mt. 6:5-15. This passage falls within the context of the Sermon on the Mount, found in Mt. 5-7. In this sermon Jesus was training His disciples. He was equipping them for service as a disciple. I want to examine three aspects of prayer. I want to examine these in a quick moving sweeping fashion in order to help you strengthen your prayer life during these 40 days. Let’s look at the three aspects.
The first aspect of prayer is the preparation for prayer.
What if it came time for the annual Alabama/Auburn game and coach Saban or coach Tubberville decided not to practice for the game? I suspect the fans would be ready to hang them out to dry. Even so, a believer should prepare himself/herself for prayer. The purpose of the Sermon on the Mount was to prepare Jesus disciples for ministry. He desires to help us prepare our hearts for prayer.
Joke:We need to be prepared in what to pray and how to pray! Two men were walking through a field one day when they spotted an enraged bull. Instantly they darted toward the nearest fence. The storming bull followed in hot pursuit, and it was soon apparent they wouldn’t make it to the fence. Terrified, the one shouted to the other, "Put up a prayer, John. We’re in for it!" John answered, "I can’t. I’ve never made a public prayer in my life." "But you must!" implored his companion. "The bull is catching up to us." "All right," panted John, "I’ll say the only prayer I know, the one my father used to repeat at the table: ’O Lord, for what we are about to receive, make us truly thankful.’"
(Contributed to Sermon Central by Michael Belcher)
In preparing to pray there should be a relationship. The Sermon on the Mount was given by Jesus to His disciples. These were people who had a relationship with Him. They had chosen to follow Him by faith. They were in a position to pray and for it to mean something. Do you have a relationship with Jesus Christ?
In preparing to pray recognize that it is a learning process. The word disciple means a learner. There is nothing wrong with admitting you do not know how to pray. The tragedy occurs when we fail to learn.
In preparing to pray we should recognize its importance! If Jesus took the time to teach it He expected His disciples to take the time to practice it. Some of our spiritual leaders expressed the importance of prayer.
“Life is war. That’s not all it is. But it is always that. Our weakness in prayer is owing largely to our neglect of this truth. Prayer is primarily a wartime walkie-talkie for the mission of the church as it advances against the powers of darkness and unbelief. It is not surprising that prayer malfunctions when we try to make it a domestic intercom to call upstairs for more comforts in the den. God has given us prayer as a wartime walkie-talkie so that we can call headquarters for everything we need as the kingdom of Christ advances in the world. Prayer gives us the significance of front-line forces, and gives God the glory of a limitless Provider.” (John Piper, “Let the Nations Be Glad”)
(Contributed to Sermon Central by Adam Cruse)
“The greatest thing anyone can do for God and man is pray. It is not the only thing, but it is the chief thing. The great people of earth are the people who pray. I do not mean those who talk about prayer; nor those who say they believe in prayer; nor yet those who can explain about prayer; but I mean those people who take time to pray.” (S. D. Gordon from Quiet Talks on Prayer. Contributed to Sermon Central by Wesley Eader)
Dr W E Sangster wrote: "If you are too busy to pray then you are too busy", and hear the words of Dr Martyn Lloyd-Jones: "There is nothing that tells the truth about us as Christians so much as our prayer life."