Summary: Brief Message w/ good illustrations...In answering the disciples request "Teach Us To Pray", Jesus told them how NOT to pray: Don’t Pray HAZY, Don’t Pray CRAZY, and Don’t Pray LAZY. Powerpoint at website.

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How Not to Pray

Mt. 6:5-13

Powerpoint for this and hundreds more free sermons at our website:

"The proper way for man to pray," said Deacon Lemuel Keyes;

"The only proper attitude is down upon his knees."

"Nay, I should say the way to pray," said Reverend Doctor Wise,

"Is standing straight with outstretched arms with rapt and upturned eyes."

"Oh, no, no, no," said Elder Snow, "such posture is too proud."

A man should pray with eyes fast-closed and head contritely bowed."

"It seems to me his hands should be austerely clasped in front.

With both thumbs pointing to the ground," said Reverend Doctor Blunt.

"Last year I fell in Hodgkin’s well headfirst," said Cyril Brown.

"With both my heels a-stickin’ up, my head a-pointing’ down;

And I done prayed right then and there; best prayer I ever said,

The prayin’est prayer I ever prayed, a-standin’ on my head."

In the parallel passage of Luke 11:1 the disciples ask Jesus to teach them how to pray…

but His answer first of all is how not to…

Don’t pray:

Hazy— v. 7…“vain repetitions”=unclear, vague, in general,

for things you don’t really even care about…

rather clear, specific, with a purpose.

Eccles. 5:2

Be not rash with thy mouth, and let not thine heart be hasty to

utter any thing before God: for God is in heaven, and thou

upon earth: therefore let thy words be few.

[not wordy, v. 8]

Crazy—not for show like Pharisees…but in private.

Ill—iceberg: 9/10th’s below the surface. Our public praying should be only the tip of the iceberg...most should be deeper beneath our surface.

Be conversational, doesn’t have to be in Old English,

Not disrespectful, w/ reverence, not talking to

someone present, but to God! Be real, not



Make sure it’s Biblical before you pray it.

“I pray I get that job/she loves me…”

Ask God how you should pray…

In “One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich”…

He endures all the horrors of a Soviet prison camp.

One day he is praying with his eyes closed when a fellow

prisoner notices him and says with ridicule, "Prayers

won’t help you get out of here any faster." Opening his

eyes, Ivan answers, "I do not pray to get out of prison

but to do the will of God."

If the request is wrong, God says, "No."

If the timing is wrong, God says, "Slow."

If you are wrong, God says, "Grow."

But if the request is right, the timing is right and you are right, God says, "Go!"

Bill Hybels

Selfish prayers: James 4:2-3

ye have not, because ye ask not. 3 Ye ask, and receive not,

because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts.

When we pray, we should remember:

1. The love of God that wants the best for us.

2. The wisdom of God that knows what is best for us.

3. The power of God that can accomplish it.

Lazy—be alert, awake, talking to a real person, out loud,

not dozing, daydreaming, drifting, planning day,

you’re not at work yet, focus, prayer is work!

If you can’t do it in the am, do it on break, or at home

later, before bed…but do it w/ out ceasing all the time!

Have a “closet”.

When thou prayest, rather let thy heart be without words than thy words without heart.

John Bunyon

Be ready to put “feet” to your prayers…

Pray as if everything depends on God, then work

as if everything depends on you.

“I’d rather be able to pray than be a great

preacher…Jesus never taught his disciples

how to preach, only how to pray” Moody

There’s only 1 way Satan is afraid of you: He’s afraid that you’ll pray.

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David Dalton

commented on Feb 21, 2011

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