Summary: Second in series on prayer, this one finding principles from the Lord’s Prayer in Matthew.
Guidelines for Effective Prayer (Part 2)
May 15, 2005
* Dear God, I know you love me but I wish you would give me an "A" on my report card so I could be sure. Love, Theresa. (Age 8, Milwaukee)
* Dear Pastor, Do I have to say grace before every meal? Even when I am only having a peanut butter and jelly sandwich? Wesley. (Age 9, Baltimore)
* Dear Pastor, Thank you for your sermon on Sunday. I will write more when my mother explains to me what you said. Yours truly, Justin. (Age 9, Westport)
* Dear Pastor, Please pray for all the airline pilots. I am flying to California tomorrow. Laurie. (Age 10, New York City)
* Dear Pastor, I say my prayer before I eat my supper but my mother still makes me finish my spinach and drink my milk. Julie. (Age 9, Buffalo)
Thomas Nelson Publishers. From the book Dear Pastor, 1980 by Bill Adler Books, Inc.
Last week we started a three-week series on prayer, as we continued our walk through the Gospel of Matthew and in particular, the Sermon on the Mount.
In last week’s message, we looked at Jesus’ about prayer to find the first of a number of guidelines for effective prayer.
These guidelines were:
1. Avoid praying for "looks." In other words, don’t pray to make others think your more spiritual than you really are.
2. Don’t measure a prayer by the words. Don’t think that using certain words or phrases make your prayer acceptable to God.
3. Trust that the Father knows your needs. He knows everything that you’re going through, and he’s not caught by surprise. But even though he knows everything we should continue to pray, because it’s an act of faith and submission on your part.
Today we look at 5 more guidelines as we examine what is common called, "The Lord’s Prayer," or what many call, the "model prayer."
This is easily the most recognizable prayer in the Bible, in my opinion. Most of us could quote in our sleep, and many grew up praying it every day. It’s a wonderful prayer, and it has a number of lessons we can learn.
Today, however, we’re going to look at five things Jesus teaches us in this prayer that we can put into our own prayer lives, as we seek to be more effective in our prayers.
And my hope is that this won’t be just another sermon about the Lord’s Prayer, but rather that you’ll walk out of here today with something you can put to use right away.
Well, let’s get started, shall we? Please follow along as I read these verses.
"This, then, is how you should pray:
" `Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name,
10 your kingdom come, your will be done
on earth as it is in heaven.
11 Give us today our daily bread.
12 Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.
13 And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one. ’"
Oh, just a warning here: if you’re expecting this to be a real in-depth study of every word and phrase of this prayer, you’re going to be disappointed.
My purpose here today is to give you some real practical stuff that we can use in our every day prayer life.
Before we look at the five guidelines for prayer in our passage today, I want us to look at the phrase that begins this section:
"This, then, is how you should pray:"
Notice Jesus said, this is how you should pray, not what you should pray. This is important because Jesus is not saying that you have to use these exact words.
Besides, if that’s what he meant, we’d all have to learn Aramaic, since that’s the language Jesus spoke, and I have a hard enough time with English!
That’s the reason I prefer to call this the model prayer; it’s a model given to us by Jesus.
So with that in mind, let’s look at...
Five "P’s" of the Lord’s Prayer:
Each of these five "p’s" is another guideline we an implement as we seek to become men and women of effective prayer.
Here’s the first one:
Praise God’s name.
"Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name..."
This is a good way to start any prayer - praising God. Letting him know that you hope that his name is honored in your life and in the world.
The psalms tell us over and over to offer thanks and praise to God, as if they’re two different things, and you know what? They are!
The difference isn’t huge, and they’re closely related, but I want to look at the difference, because I think we could learn something that will enhance our prayers.