Summary: Spiritual growth involves playing a sort of ping-pong with God, a casual back and forth exchange between God and the believer.
Laid Back Ping-Pong Prayer
[Note: I did not get through this entire sermon in my 30 minute time slot, so a "part two" will follow]
1. Memorial Day is an interesting holiday.
2. Wikipedia tells us this about Memorial Day:
3. "Memorial Day is a United States Federal Holiday that is observed on the last Monday of May (observed in 2008 on May 26). It was formerly known as Decoration Day. This holiday commemorates U.S. men and women who have died in military service to their country. It began first to honor Union soldiers who died during the American Civil War. After World War I, it was expanded to include those who died in any war or military action. One of the longest standing traditions is the running of the Indianapolis 500, which has been held in conjunction with Memorial Day since 1911. It is also traditionally viewed as the beginning of summer by many, since many schools are dismissed around Memorial Day."
4. Memorial weekend, as you can see, is a mixed time; a time of remembering our war dead, a time for racing, and a time for picnics. It is not just one thing.
5. Prayer is the same way: it is a mixture, not just one thing.
6. Like most of you, when I pray, my mind wanders.
7. Sometimes I have a hard time making a distinction between praying and thinking.
8. I have concluded that prayer is often thinking with God. It is not just one process, but several processes.
9. Interesting, when it comes to what some call the "spiritual disciplines," many people ignore the book God gave us that is somewhat dedicated to that very issue. When you start building your convictions about devotional life around the sayings of Monks or mystics, you are implying that God’s Word is not sufficient in the spiritual realm.
Main Idea: Spiritual growth involves playing a sort of ping-pong with God, a casual back and forth exchange between God and the believer.
I. Prayer Can Become BORING and MEANINGLESS
Together prayer and Bible study are a powerful indication that we are trusting in God and not in ourselves. Jeremiah 17:5 reads, " This is what the LORD says: ’Cursed is the one who trusts in man, who depends on flesh for his strength and whose heart turns away from the LORD.’"
A. MATTHEW 6:7
B. The Lord’s Prayer is A Short Version of the AMIDAH (which had many seasonsal additions)
1. "Eighteen" — (shemoneh esreh) the central prayer in Jewish life and liturgy. It is also known as Amidah (Standing), because it is said standing; or simply Tefilah (Prayer), the prayer par excellence. The prayer originally consisted of eighteen benedictions, and thus the name "Eighteen." Its final version dates from about 90-100 A.D. when a nineteenth benediction was added. Every Jew is religiously obligated to pray the "Eighteen" daily; however, in times of emergency saying an abbreviated form of the prayer may fulfill this obligation.” Jerusalem Perspective http://www.jerusalemperspective.com/default.aspx?tabid=53
Rabbis typically presented a condensed version to their disciples for situations in which they did not have the time or could not pray then entire Amidah. The Lord’s Prayer seems to be such a condensation.
2. Here are the first three blessings of this prayer:
1. God of History
O Lord, open my lips, and my mouth shall declare your praise.
Blessed art thou, O lord our God and God of our fathers, God of Abraham, God of Isaac, and God of Jacob, the great mighty and revered God, the most high God, who bestows lovingkindness, and the Master of all things; who remembers the pious deeds of the patriarchs, and in love will bring a redeemer to their children’s children for your Name’s sake.
2. God of Nature
O King, Helper, Savior and Shield. Blessed art thou, O Lord, the Shield of Abraham.
You, O Lord, are mighty for ever, you revive the dead, You are mighty to save.
You sustain the living with lovingkindness, revive the dead with great mercy, support the falling, heal the sick, free the bound, and keep Your faith to them that sleep in the dust. who is like You, Lord of the mighty acts, and who resembles You, O King, who orders death and restores life, and causes salvation to spring forth?
Yes, You are faithful to revive the dead. Blessed art thou, O Lord, who revives the dead.
3. God who sanctifies.
We will sanctify Your Name in the world even as they sanctify it in the highest heavens, as it is written by the hand of Your prophet: And they call to one another and said,
Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord of Hosts: The whole earth is full of His glory.
Those over against them say, Blessed...