Summary: How to pray so that are prayers are not wasted but rewarded
Text: Matthew 6:5-15
Title: Fuel up with prayer.
There is no doubt that one issue that has dominated our lives so far in 2008 is the issue of rising oil prices. And that’s because rising oil prices have a huge impact on virtually every area of our lives. For one thing it impacts the price of everything we buy. But if there is one blessing from rising oil prices it is this; it is encouraging people to seek out cheaper and alternative forms of energy. If you are looking for an alternative form of energy then the Bible offers a great solution and that solution is prayer.
Just as we are conscious of not wasting fuel Jesus wants us to be conscious of not wasting our prayers.In order to help us to get the most out of prayer Jesus addressed the two biggest wasters of our prayers in Matthew chapter 6 verses 5-15. The first way to waste our prayers is to pray only in order to be seen by men. “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.” (v5)
Sadly there will be those who all they ever want when they pray is the applause of other men. Rather than seeking the audience of God they seek the audience of men. Then the second way to waste our prayers is to pray without meaning. “And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.” (V7-8) Any prayer which is all words and no meaning is another wasted prayer.
Instead in order to get the most out of prayer we are told we must pray in two ways. First of all we must learn to pray in secret. “But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.” (V6). Secondly we must learn to pray with meaning. “This, then, is how you should pray.” (v9) By giving us ‘The Lord’s Prayer’ (v9-13) Jesus is helping us to pray full of meaning. The first three petitions express our concern for God’s glory in relation to his name, kingdom and will. “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” The final three petitions express to God our dependence upon Him in every area of our lives. “Give us this day our daily bread” expresses to God our dependence on Him for all of our material needs. “Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors” expresses to God our dependence on Him for all of our spiritual needs. “And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one” expresses to God our dependence on Him for all of our moral needs.
Might it be the time for you to fuel up with prayer? God will reward you for doing so!