Summary: Jesus gives us the model for a great prayer life in the model prayer
• It is bound to happen sometime, it usually happens when we get into trouble. We are not sure where to turn for help; we feel helpless, powerless and lost.
• What do we do?
• According to a 1993 study by the Barna Research group: Most people who pray offer their prayers several times a day (52%). About one out of three people say they pray once a day (37%) when they pray. The remainder say their prayer frequency depends on the day and their circumstances.
• The subject that we are going to look at is something that almost everyone can relate to is some manner. People who call themselves Christians do this on a regular basis and people who do not consider themselves Christians do it also.
• According to a 2001 study by the Barna research group While 96% of born agains pray in a given week, 72% of non-born agains report that they have prayed in the past seven days.
• Why do people pray? Once again according to Barna research in 1994 and 1991 studies says; Americans believe in the power and impact of prayer. Four out of five (82%) believe that "prayer can change what happens in a person’s life." (1994) Nine out of ten adults (89%) agree "there is a god who watches over you and answers your prayers." (1991)
• According to these studies, most people pray because they realize or hope that it does something for them.
• Prayer seems to be a part of the lives of many people.
• During Jesus’ day as we have stated before, prayer was an important part of the religious life of the people. For many people prayer became something it was not supposed to be, a ritual to be seen by other people.
• In this part of the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus is going to address the subject of prayer.
• In this text we will see the proper attitudes for a solid prayer life and the elements of prayer.
• How many times have we given up on prayer because we did not think it would do any good? Is there anything we can do to make our prayer lives better and more fulfilling?
• Do you want to have a dynamic fulfilling prayer life? I believe that if we will listen to what Jesus has to say and take it to heart that our prayer lives will change.
• Do you want to have a solid prayer life? Listen today as we look at; Jesus on Prayer!
I. ATTITUDES FOR PRAYER (V5-8)
Effective pray springs from proper attitudes. The first attitude Jesus deals with the desire of intimacy with God. We covered this part of the text last week, but I want to take a little different approach than we did last week by looking at the intimacy issue.
A. Intimacy (5-6)
• Read verses 5-6
• Jesus was condemning the attitude of wanting to put on a show for people with our prayer life. Jesus told us that we are to pray in secret, in other words, we are praying to God, not to other people.
• Our desire should be to communicate our needs to the Father with whom we have a great love and respect for.
• We are to disclose or deepest desires to the Father because we know He cares.
• Those of you who are married, do you remember the excitement of getting the opportunity to speak with your then girl friend or boy friend? Much to the chagrin of my father, Robyn and I used to burn up the long distance lines to speak to each other. I used to find creative ways to get out of classes so that I could see her.
• When we were together, it was not for show nor was it a fake relationship.
• God does not want a show or a fake relationship; He wants an intimate relationship with us!
• Another attitude that Jesus deals with is found in verses 7-8. Let’s read them. Read verses 7-8.
B. Thoughtfulness (7-8)
• As we look at verse 7, Jesus warns us not to pray like the gentiles who use meaningless repetition when we pray. We should pray neither like the Pharisees, for public recognition (vv. 5-6), nor like the pagans, with “meaningless repetitions”, (vv. 7-8).
• What does it mean to pray with meaningless or vain repetition? It does not mean that we are not be persistent in our prayers because Jesus prayed the same prayer 3 times in the garden.
• Meaningless repetition seems to indicate reciting memorized prayers without thinking about what you are saying, or multiplying words, not for the sake of communicating anything thoughtful, but for lengthening the prayer in an attempt to gain God’s attention. Pagan incantations, for example, often used every imaginable name for the god they were invoking, hoping at least one of them would “stick.” This kind of flowery rhetoric, or even nonsense syllables, common in pagan magical incantations, doesn’t impress God.