Childlike Prayer Series
Contributed by Jeff Strite on Feb 28, 2016 (message contributor)
Summary: A lot of people think if they just had the right "formula" for praying that God would hear them. But that's not true. God's not impressed with your form, He's impressed with your childlike faith in prayer. So, how can I have that kind of faith in prayer?
I'd like you to recite the Lord’s Prayer with me:
Our Father which art in heaven,
hallowed be thy name.
Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done
on earth, as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our debts,
as we forgive our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil:
For thine is the kingdom,
and the power, and the glory,
OPEN: I’ve always loved that prayer – it’s so elegant and powerful. But it’s a King James kind of passage, and so little children sometimes have a bit of a problem understanding it.
I read about one little girl who said it this way: "Our Father, who are in heaven, hello! What be Thy name?"
Another five-year-old girl: "Give us this day our daily bread, and liberty and justice for all."
A kindergartner asked God to "give us this day our jelly bread."
Then there was the little boy who prayed, "Forgive us our dentists, as we forgive our dentists."
And one little boy finished his prayer like this: "For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever and ever, Amen and F.M.”
Children have a very simple view of prayer.
They’re not nearly as somber and “religious” as adults are.
ILLUS: I once read about a woman in Michigan who told of watching an elderly woman standing at church with her eyes closed and her hands raised in prayer and praise. Right in front of her, a 3-year-old stood up in her pew, turned around and gave her a high-five!
(Jennifer Smith, Fort Gratiot, Michigan)
Now what we’re going to talk about this morning is a childlike faith in prayer.
If you will, we’re going to be talking about a prayer life where we are not afraid to give “high fives” when we talk to God in prayer.
Paul described it this way: Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” Philippians 4:6
We’re going to come back to that in just a minute …
But first I want to focus on a couple of things Jesus said about children.
In Matthew 8 Jesus said: “Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven” Matthew 18:4
And in Mark we read Him saying: “anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.” Mark 10:15
Jesus isn’t looking for religious FORM.
He’s looking for childlike FAITH.
That is what impresses Jesus.
And it’s the same with our prayer life.
God is NOT impressed with how fancy our prayers are.
He’s impressed when we TRUST (like a child) WHEN we pray.
When Jesus taught His disciples what we call the “Lord’s Prayer” it was because the disciples were worried about form. They said to Him: “Lord, teach us to pray!” (Luke 11:1)
They were asking Jesus to give them a formula for a successful prayer. They wanted to “do it right!” because they felt if they didn’t do it right then God wouldn’t hear their prayers.
Back when I was a child… folks had a formula they followed in prayer.
It went something like this:
“O God, Thou art a powerful God and we comest before thee and prayest that thou wouldst hear us in our hour of need.”
It was all King Jamesie with lot’s of Thees and Thous.
Now today, there are people who pray more like this:
“Father God in the name of Jesus, oh Father God I just come humbly before you Father God in Jesus’ name Father God, to ask Father God that you would just hear my prayer Father God in the name of Jesus.”
Now, why do people pray like that?
They pray like that because they’ve heard people they respect who pray like that, and they’re convinced that if they want God to hear their prayers – THIS is how they need to pray.
Don’t do that.
Just talk to God.
Talk to Him like a child would talk to their father.
And talk with faith and expectation.
That’s what impresses God.
Now, this series of sermons on prayer is NOT about a formula on how to make our prayers more likely to be heard by God.
What this series is attempting to do is make it so we can be more child-like in our prayers.
And we believe we can get better at that by following an acronym known as A.C.T.S
In the last two sermons Scott (our associate minister) talked about Adoration and Confession.
So let's review:
“Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy Name Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.”