Summary: Communication is the foundation of every relationship. While God is never confused about our communication, it helps us to be clear in praying about what’s on our minds. Here are five words to remember to help us learn how to talk to God.
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• Communication is the foundation of every relationship.
o Translation ad blunders (images from Google)
• While God is never confused about our communication, it helps us to be clear in praying about what’s on our minds.
• We need to learn how to talk to God.
Matthew 7:7–8 7 “Keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you. 8 For everyone who asks, receives. Everyone who seeks, finds. And to everyone who knocks, the door will be opened.
• Jesus gives us the “outline” in Matt. 6.9-13
Father: Leveraging Our Connection with God
Matthew 6:9 9 Pray like this: *Our Father* in heaven, may your name be kept holy.
• Calling God “father” was not a consistent common practice among 1st. C. Jewish people.
o Acknowledging God as “Father’ transforms our conversation.
o We can talk with Him about anything. We don’t have to be stiff and formal.
o We also treat Him with respect.
o “father” is not necessarily a positive term for many but we all long for a good father.
• Recognizing God as divine father
Matthew 6:9 9 Pray like this: Our Father in heaven, may your name be kept *holy*.
o To “hallow” is to call something holy.
o We are saying to God that we intend to uphold His reputation in the world.
o It’s also a moment of praise. If it feels odd to praise God just fill in the blanks:
? You are ___________ (attribute of God)
? You did __________ (action) with excellence.
Hebrews 4:16 16 So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most.
o This phrase reminds us to approach God with confidence and speak our hearts truly to him as our Father in Heaven.
Kingdom: Embracing God’s Agenda
Matthew 6:10 10 May your Kingdom come soon. May your will be done on earth, as it is in heaven.
• This is where we align our lives with God’s agenda for ourselves and our world.
• When we know God’s agenda, we can pray for things (for ourselves as well as others) and know that God will say yes.
• Prayer is sometimes difficult because we don’t know quite what to ask for. We instinctively understand that God won’t say yes to anything that contradicts His stated will in the Bible.
o (Gentle reminder that we need to know what God has already said in the Word to know better how to pray.)
• These two verses align our hearts and minds with God in who He is and with His purposes.
Give: Acquiring Resources
Matthew 6:11 11 Give us today the food we need,
• In v. 11, we have a framework for determining what to ask for. Essentially, we’re asking “what do I need to do my job?”
o We’ve already agreed that we want to be aligned with God’s purposes in creation.
o Jesus agrees with us and promises to give all we need to do just that:
John 14:14 14 Yes, ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it!
• We are often more likely to ask for too little than too much.
James 4:2–3 2 You want what you don’t have, so you scheme and kill to get it. You are jealous of what others have, but you can’t get it, so you fight and wage war to take it away from them. Yet you don’t have what you want because you don’t ask God for it. 3 And even when you ask, you don’t get it because your motives are all wrong—you want only what will give you pleasure.
• Practically, make a “wish list” for God. (relate to Amazon wish list?)
• Go over it a couple of times and take off the things you realize are selfish or not in line with God’s purposes. Leave on the list everything that will help you do complete your responsibility to be a ambassador for Christ.
o This includes things we might, at first, think of a selfish but really aren’t. Prayers for good health aren’t selfish. We can act more effectively when we are well.
o Housing, food, transportation, etc. aren’t wrong to ask for.
• When we ask and don’t experience answers in the way we expect it’s good to remember those two simple but true answers:
o Not ready.
o Not time.
• Built into “not time” and “not ready” are some barriers that we ourselves raise to God’s work: