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Summary: Prayers that honor God not only reverence his name but also recognize his program and plan.

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A Pattern For Prayer Part I

Matthew 6:9-15

INTRODUCTION

A. Charles H. Spurgeon, great English Baptist pastor, said, “A prayerless church member is a hindrance, he is in the body like a rotting bone, or a decayed tooth, and, ere long, since he does not contribute to the benefit of his brethren, he will become a danger and a sorrow to them.”

B. James Leo Garrett, Jr., noted Baptist theologian, said, “Prayerlessness is the taproot of the Christian’s sins and failures.”

C. Jack Taylor, Prayer: Life’s Limitless Reach, urges four perspectives about prayer.

1. Spiritual life will not rise above your prayer life.

2. The church’s effectiveness depends on members’ prayer lives.

3. The corporate prayer life of the church will not surpass the personal prayer life of members.

4. A Christian’s prayer life will not move beyond the daily time spent with God.

D. Prayer is important.

1. May not understand completely how it works, but it does.

2. We must pray effectively and these verses give an example.

E. Usually referred to as Lord’s Prayer.

1. Should be called the disciples’ prayer.

2. The Lord’s Prayer was in the Garden of Gethsemane.

3. Jesus would not have to ask for his sins to be forgiven.

F. Jesus spent an enormous amount of time in prayer.

1. He rose early in the morning to pray.

2. Prayer was the “spiritual air” that Jesus breathed.

3. Air keeps us going just like prayer does.

4. Gave him strength to fulfill his earthly ministry.

5. We are often guilty of offering prayers like sailors use pumps (only when the ship is leaking).

G. Prayer must be a normal part of our life.

1. Dr. D. Martin Lloyd-Jones said, “Man is at his greatest and highest when upon his knees he comes face to face to God.”

2. James writes, “The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.” (5:16)

3. Jesus gives us a skeleton of prayer in these verses.

4. Not to limit our prayers to these very words, but it is a model we add to.

H. Prayer and the things it teaches were not new.

1. O. T. and Jewish tradition taught basically what Jesus teaches here.

2. Most of their prayers, however, had become mechanical and hypocritical.

PRAYER RECOGNIZES THE FATHERHOOD OF GOD

A. Old Testament era.

1. Faithful Jew would never address God directly as Father.

2. Jesus spoke Aramaic and the word he uses is “Abba.”

3. Equivalent to our word Daddy.

4. To the Jewish mind, addressing God like this would be improper (an act of irreverence to the highest degree).

5. This teaching was unique to Jesus.

6. Jesus uses this form of address when talking to his Father.

B. Misunderstandings about the fatherhood of God.

1. God is not the father of all in the sense Jesus refers to.

2. He is only father to all in the sense that he is their creator.

3. In Jesus’ sense, he is only Father to Christians.

C. Faithful Jews knew God as their Father.

1. He was the father of Israel (he chose and set them apart).

2. He was a spiritual father and Savior to the nation.

3. Over time, they lost this sense of intimacy.

D. Recognizing the fatherhood of God means several things.

1. Don’t have to fear him in the sense of being afraid of him.

2. Settles any uncertainties and gives us hope.

3. Settles loneliness. He will never leave or forsake us.

4. Deals with selfishness. We share God with all believers.

5. Deals with resources. God owns all and we do too by extension.

6. Deals with obedience. If Jesus obeyed, we should too.

E. Benefits of having God as father.

1. He will care for us now and in eternity.

2. He will guide us through life.

F. An old saint said, “True prayer brings the mind to the immediate contemplation of God’s character and holds it there until the believer’s soul is properly impressed.”

RECOGNIZES THE HALLOWNESS OF HIS NAME

A. Rephrase, “My Father in heaven, my first desire is that in everything you might have preeminence.”

B. God must have priority in every area of our life.

1. Prayer is not casual routine but we can use everyday language.

2. Prayer does not bring God’s desires in line with ours but rather the opposite.

3. Should lead us to reverence and awe.

C. The name in Jewish thought.

1. Name was important and revealed a person’s character.

2. God’s name represents all he is.

3. Tells his character, plan and will.

4. His name is demonstrated by his faithfulness to all his name implies.

5. Name is synonymous with his righteousness.

D. Names applied to God in the Old Testament.

1. Told different things about him.

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