Summary: It’s my hope that after this lesson you’ll have a better grasp on what your prayers ought to be like.
Intro: I think directions are some of the hardest things to follow and hardest things to understand. I’m reminded of this every X-mas when I’m trying to put my kids toys together. It seems like every time I read the directions there’s some key element missing. Or whenever someone gives me directions to follow on a trip they invariably leave an important part out like a major intersection I was supposed to turn on but they forgot to include in the directions.
-Let me give you an example of bad directions. A man was in the doghouse with his wife, so he ordered her some flowers and told the florist that the card should read, "I’m sorry, (comma) I love you." Unfortunately, his instructions must not have been clear enough. When the flowers arrived, the card read, "I’m sorry I love you" (no comma).
-I think most of us would like to receive some straightforward instructions so we don’t find ourselves in a big mess. And I think one of the major areas we’d like to receive good directions on is concerning the area of prayer. George Barna had a poll done that said that 64% of Americans say they pray every day. But I’d be willing to guess that close to 100% of those who pray would like some good direction on how we’re to pray.
-Today we’re concluding our series “Cliff Notes for Xians.” And we’re concluding our series w/a subject that all of us have heard @ but not all of us know how to do: How to pray.
Sermon Idea: Today in our passage of Scripture we’re going to see Jesus sharing w/His disciples one of the fundamentals of the Xian faith, which is prayer. Now if you struggle w/prayer, I want you to know you’re not alone. Even the disciples of Jesus needed help in learning how to pray.
-And I figure if they needed help then chances are pretty good we do as well. Luke 11: 1 says, “One day Jesus was praying in a certain place. When He finished, one of His disciples said to Him, ‘Lord, teach us to pray, just as John taught his disciples.’”
-In our text we’ll be looking at today, that’s precisely what Jesus did. He taught His disciples how to pray. And in that process He shared w/them 4 items our prayers ought to include. It’s my hope that after this lesson you’ll have a better grasp on what your prayers ought to be like.
TEXT: MATTHEW 6: 9-13
Bckgrd: This section of Scripture is known as the greatest sermon ever preached: the Sermon on the Mount. It’s the longest section of the recorded words of Jesus. And in this section of Scripture, Jesus gives people some basic instructions on how to live. And the part we’ll be focusing on is where Jesus shares w/His followers some simple pointers on prayer.
-What are the pointers? Well, we’re going to see from the model prayer Jesus gives us some items our prayers ought to include. The 1st item our prayers ought to include is:
DIV. 1: PRAISE (v. 9)
Exp: I really hope this is a helpful tool for us in our prayer life b/c I really believe a lot of us would like to know how to communicate w/God; to know how to speak to God. But I think a lot of us just don’t do it b/c we don’t know how to. The good news is Jesus gives us an example of what our prayers should be like.
A. Now when I say Jesus gives us an example of what our prayers should be like I’m not saying that He’s telling us this prayer in Matthew 6 is the one we’re supposed to say all the time. This prayer is simply an example of what our prayers should be like. The phrase, “This, then, is how you should pray” could also be translated “pray along these lines” or “pray in this manner.”
1. And in this prayer we get a glimpse of some things our prayers should include. And the 1st item I notice should be included in our prayers is the item of praise. Praise to whom? Praise to God! Notice our text says, “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name.”
a. Let me tell you something and this might surprise some of you. The object of our prayers is not us! Sometimes I find myself using prayer to help fulfill my personal wish list. But Jesus reminds me here that the focus of my prayer is to be God and not me!
b. Look and see how Jesus brought praise to God. He said, “Hallowed be your name.” What in the world does “hallowed” mean? It means “to treat as holy, to revere.” How do we do that? For one, you revere God by simply praying to Him. As we talk to God we’re recognizing that He has power over all things. That’s an important facet of prayer b/c when we call out to God it shows our need for Him.