Summary: God is more concerned with the soundness of your heart than with how your prayer sounds.
God’s Eye for the Praying Guy
April 3, 2005 FBC, Chester Mike Fogerson, Speaker
"But you, when you pray, go into your inner room, close your door and pray to your Father who is in secret, and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you.
Matt 6:6 (NASB)
ETS: God’s eye looked at the motivation of prayer over form in the believer’s prayer life
ESS: God is more concerned with the soundness of your heart than He is with how your prayer sounds.
OBJ: I want my listeners to commit to making one improvement in their prayer lives beginning today.
PQ: What improvements would God have you make in your prayer life this morning?
I. Location, Location, Location
II. Attitude, Attitude, Attitude
TS: Let’s look at two improvements we can make in our prayer life today.
I. The first improvement we can make in our prayer life today is...location, location, location. But you, when you pray, go into your inner room, close your door and pray... Matt. 6:6a
A. Jesus told these would-be prayer warriors to improve their prayer life by simply praying privately.
a. Jesus didn’t condemn any/all public prayer (Lord’s Prayer, OUR Father)
1. If Jesus was opposed to public prayer, the early church missed His point "Again I say to you, that if two of you agree on earth about anything that they may ask, it shall be done for them by My Father who is in heaven. 20 "For where two or three have gathered together in My name, I am there in their midst." Matt 18:19-20 (NASB) (Acts 1:24; 4:24-31; 12:12)
2. Jesus was simply saying it was wrong for these folks to pray in public if they weren’t praying in private.
b. Inner room (Greek: tameion): storeroom, basement, bedroom, upper room (most Jewish dwellings had a place for secret devotions-commonly on the roof or an upper room).
c. Shut the door: telling them to shut out everything else so they could concentrate on Him and Him alone.
d. (IL) In the fourth century, Christians prayed so loud, their family could hear them down the hall. Private prayer was for God’s ears alone.
B. Real prayer warriors are often snipers, not platoon leaders.
a. You desire to be alone with God on a regular basis.
1. Inner room is your truck, office, at soccer practice, traffic
2. Wherever you seek your inner room, God is already waiting for you to enter!
b. Don’t forget to shut the door. Why?
1. Many things we share with God in our private prayers are for Him alone to know (no other ears but God’s).
2. Our loved ones can betray a confidence.
3. Our secrets with God will forever be secret with God.
c. When we pray in secret with a pure heart we have the full attention of God.
TS: As important as the location is, it does take a back seat to the next area of improvement:
II The second improvement we can make in our prayer life today is...attitude, attitude, attitude. pray to your Father who is in secret, and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you. Matt. 6:6b
A. The end goal of praying in the inner room/shutting the door was for the early believer to be alone with God (intimacy).
a. God was to be at the heart of all prayer (publically/privately)
b. They could go to the room/shut the door, but if God was not involved there was only a pretense of prayer.
c. Not only secret, but also sincere (ATTITUDE)
B. When we secretly come before God with broken and contrite hearts, He will secretly break us.
a. You have placed our iniquities before You, Our secret sins in the light of Your presence. Psalms 90:8 (NASB)
b. The most important secret is NOT our words spoken privately to God, but the thoughts/sins we have in the privacy of our hearts.
1. Not form, but motivation
2. Not only secret prayer, sincere too
c. What is most important in our prayer?:
1. What we get? (Reply, reward, blessing, renewal, etc.)
2. What we give? (Giving God an opportunity to convict, examine, mold us, create with us a masterpiece, intimacy, communion, chance to speak to us, teach us, guide us).
C. I want to brush lightly on the last three words "will repay you" (we all want God to answer us).
a. He doesn’t value the prayers of a hypocritical heart
1. Hypocrite is not someone who falls short or occasionally sins (that’s all of us!)
2. Hypocrite uses his/her religion to cover up their own sins, and appears more holy than they really are (compliments of men over communion with God)
b. Delight yourself in the LORD; and He will give you the desires of your heart. Psalms 37:4 (NASB)