Summary: There are only 66 words in the Lord’s Prayer, but it can teach us how to pray a perfect prayer. 1. Focus on your Father. 2. Focus on your family. 3. Focus on your faith. 4. Focus on your forgiveness. 5. Focus on your future.

How to Pray a Perfect Prayer

Matthew 6:9-13

Sermon by Rick Crandall

McClendon Baptist Church - Feb. 24, 2008

*Do you ever wish you could learn how to pray better? You’re not the only one.

-In Luke 11:1, one of the disciples saw Jesus praying, and when the Lord finished that disciple said: “Lord, teach us to pray.”

*That’s when the Lord gave us this model prayer. And He kept it simple. Aren’t you glad! There are only 66 words in the Lord’s Prayer, but it can teach us how to pray a perfect prayer.

1. First, focus on your Father.

*Jesus said to pray this way: “Our FATHER in Heaven.” That’s the way we can pray, if we have received Jesus as Savior and Lord. Christians, God is our Father, our Father who provides for us and watches over us.

*Think of a little baby just learning to walk. He staggers and stumbles around all over the place. And there’s Dad, following right behind to catch him when he falls. That’s the way I see our Heavenly Father. We’re not always paying attention to Him, but He is always paying attention to us.

*He wants to hear from us. He promises to listen to us, even though He knows what we need, before we ask. And He will meet every need we have according to His perfect will. Believers, we can fully trust in our Heavenly Father!

*Gene Appel tells one of my favorite Dad stories. It’s about a family who went to the lake for vacation one summer. Dad was fiddling around by the boat house, while his 12-year-old and 3-year-old sons played on the dock. Older brother was supposed to be watching little brother, but he got distracted just when little Billy decided to check out the fishing boat at the end of the dock.

*Billy put his foot in the boat, but it shifted and he fell in. His older brother screamed and Dad came running. But when he jumped in, he couldn’t find Billy. Sick with panic, Dad took another gulp of air, and went back down in the murky water, feeling around everywhere.

*Finally, on his way back up the 2nd time, Dad felt Billy's arms locked in a death grip around one of the posts under the dock. He was about 4 ft under the water. Dad pried the boy's fingers loose and they popped up together for a breath of air.

*When everybody calmed down a little bit, Dad asked his son: “What on earth were you doing down there hanging onto the post so far under the water?”

-Billy answered, “I was just waiting for you dad, -- just waiting for you.” (1)

*That little boy trusted His dad! And that’s the way we should trust our Heavenly Father. But is He your Father? Tom Rothhaar asks: “On a scale of 0 to 10, how would you describe your relationship with God?”

0 -- If God exists, I haven’t met Him.

5 -- We’re on speaking terms, at least sometimes.

Or 10 -- I am a child of God. He is my Heavenly Father. (2)

*God wants to be your Heavenly Father. And He will be, if you will receive His Son Jesus as Savior and Lord. Then you can pray, “Our Father in Heaven.”

*How can I pray a perfect prayer? -- Focus on your Father.

2. And focus on your family.

*Jesus said, “OUR Father in Heaven.” He’s not just MY Father, He’s OUR Father. Believers, this reminds us that we are part of the family of God, the greatest family of all.

*Now, this is a family oriented church. We are blessed to have many grandparents, parents, children, and grandchildren all going to church together, not to mention cousins, in-laws, aunts and uncles. You may not have realized it yet, but you have to be careful who you talk about around here!

*But even if you don’t have a single blood relative in this church, you are still part of a family that will love you, care for you, pray for you, encourage you, do all they can to help you. It’s a family that stretches all around the world, wherever you find people who belong to Jesus.

*God’s church is a family, a great family, the best family the world will ever see. But like any family, God’s church is going to have some problems. There are no perfect churches, because there are no perfect people.

*As Roger Thomas said: “The church is like a family. That’s the good news. Now the bad news: the church is like a family. All families have their moments, even preachers’ families.”

*Roger added: “Of course, ours was the exception. When our three were younger, they always got along like perfect little angels. They got it from their father’s side, I am sure! At least that’s the way I remember it ever since Rose shut the garage door on my head!

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