Sermons

Summary: What is Prayer? How is it supposed to work? When and how do you do it, and why? Jesus answered all of these questions when he gave us a model prayer - the Lord’s Prayer. Student ministry PowerPoint format.

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LESSON: AUTHENTIC PRAYER

[LEARN TO PRAY LIKE JESUS]

Slide Graphic – praying hands. Verse:

Moreover as for me, God forbid that I should sin against the LORD in ceasing to pray for you: but I will teach you the good and the right way

(1 Samuel 12:23)

Amazon has over 13,000 books listed on prayer. It surprised many people in our country a few years ago when a small little book, Prayer of Jabez, knocked Harry Potter from the #1 spot on the NY Times bestseller list.

When we use the word “authentic” here, what we mean is prayer that God approves of

• It isn’t prayer that goes through the motions or trying to be religious.

• It isn’t about what time of day you pray, how often, or how many people are listening

• Daily, in the morning (Psalms 5:3;88:13;143:8; Isaiah 33:2)

• Twice daily (Psalms 88:1)

• Thrice daily (Psalms 55:17; Daniel 6:10)

• All night (Luke 6:12)

• It isn’t about where you are when you pray or whether you are on your knees

• It isn’t about how you hold your hands or whether your eyes are closed or not

• It isn’t about the words you use or how long your prayer lasts

• Jesus asked Peter in Matthew 26:40, could you not watch with me for one hour.

• It is about being authentic

Prayer can be authentic, but how is it done?

The Bible tells us that it is a sin to not pray. We are to pray “without ceasing” (1 Thessalonians 5:17). Today, most people, if they pray at all, pray “without thinking”. Fortunately, the Bible also tells us we can learn to pray. We can be taught. We need, in fact, to be taught. If you don’t know how to pray, it doesn’t mean you are a bad Christian – it just means you haven’t learned.

Today we’ll learn.

[SERVE BEFORE GOD, NOT MEN]

Slide graphic – pumping gas at a pump labeled “self serve”. Verse:

1"Be careful not to do your ’acts of righteousness’ before men, to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven.

2"So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full.

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.

16"When you fast, do not look somber as the hypocrites do, for they disfigure their faces to show men they are fasting. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full.

(Matthew 6)

Today we’re going to look at a passage known as “The Lord’s Prayer.” It is found in the sixth chapter of Matthew at the end of the famous “sermon on the mount.”

Before we jump right in to the actual prayer, let’s look at the context. The whole sixth chapter of Matthew is a section from the sermon on the mount warning against being a hypocrite. A hypocrite is someone who acts a part without authentically being what they are pretending to be – in fact the Greek word originally meant an actor in a theater. We aren’t supposed to be putting on a performance for the benefit of people who are watching.


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