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Summary: Prayer is one of the most important activities of a Christian’s life. It is our lifeline! We won’t get far without it. We tend to complicate it sometimes, so I wanted to give some attention to it today with the hope that we will all engage in talking with

How Should We Pray?

Matthew 6:5-15 5 "And now about prayer. When you pray, don't be like the hypocrites who love to pray publicly on street corners and in the synagogues where everyone can see them. I assure you, that is all the reward they will ever get. 6 But when you pray, go away by yourself, shut the door behind you, and pray to your Father secretly. Then your Father, who knows all secrets, will reward you. 7 "When you pray, don't babble on and on as people of other religions do. They think their prayers are answered only by repeating their words again and again. 8 Don't be like them, because your Father knows exactly what you need even before you ask him! 9 Pray like this: Our Father in heaven, may your name be honored. 10 May your Kingdom come soon. May your will be done here on earth, just as it is in heaven. 11 Give us our food for today, 12 and forgive us our sins, just as we have forgiven those who have sinned against us. 13 And don't let us yield to temptation, but deliver us from the evil one. 14 "If you forgive those who sin against you, your heavenly Father will forgive you. 15 But if you refuse to forgive others, your Father will not forgive your sins.

Intro: Video Clips- How Should We then Pray & Prayer Is an Encounter.

-Martin Luther – “Prayer is not overcoming God’s reluctance, but laying hold of His willingness.” Prayer is one of the most important activities of a Christian’s life. It is our lifeline! We won’t get far without it. We tend to complicate it sometimes, so I wanted to give some attention to it today with the hope that we will all engage in talking with God and listening to Him on a daily basis.

-As we saw in the clip, prayer is an encounter with God as we communicate with Him. Let’s look at some prayer basics from Matthew 6.

1. Pray to communicate with God, not to impress others

Matthew 6:5-6 5 "And now about prayer. When you pray, don't be like the hypocrites who love to pray publicly on street corners and in the synagogues where everyone can see them. I assure you, that is all the reward they will ever get. 6 But when you pray, go away by yourself, shut the door behind you, and pray to your Father secretly. Then your Father, who knows all secrets, will reward you.

-Notice here that Jesus does not say, “If you pray….” He says, “When you pray.” Man has always had the inner desire to pray. It’s how we go about it and to whom we pray that is of greater importance. Prayer is simply interaction with God. It involves both listening and speaking, but takes place on a spiritual level.

-Jesus told the woman at the well that those who would worship God (which includes prayer), must worship Him in spirit and in truth. So, when some of the religious leaders began to use prayer as a way to impress others instead of interacting with God, Jesus called them hypocrites or pretenders. They were using the gift of communication with God as a means of drawing attention to themselves. They weren’t really interested in hearing from God or connecting with Him. They were really after shaping people’s opinions of themselves. They were trying to use God for their own purposes, rather than inquire about God’s purposes.

-Prayer is the open line between heaven and ourselves. It is how we connect with the Divine. If we use it like a telemarketer, we are misusing a gift from God and it will not bring about any good lasting results.

-Imagine the husband who only talked to his wife when someone else was around. He wanted everyone else to think he really cared about her, so he acted the part when someone was watching, but was stone cold silent the rest of the time. They would not have a very close relationship, would they? God is not interested in being anybody’s trophy wife! He wants your heart! He wants your sincerity! He wants all of you!

2. Pray with more than just words

Matthew 6:7-8 7 "When you pray, don't babble on and on as people of other religions do. They think their prayers are answered only by repeating their words again and again. 8 Don't be like them, because your Father knows exactly what you need even before you ask him!

-In the Greek culture it was common for people to use as many names of deities as possible in order to get their attention. Some believed that using the name of a god gave you some kind of power over it. Consequently, they might chant the name of deity or deities over and over again. Pagan worshippers would often remind a deity of favors or services they had rendered or sacrifices they had offered to it. These things were used like bargaining chips to get the deity to respond favorably to them.

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