Summary: The disciples of Jesus needed help in learning to pray. In Luke 11: 1 it 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.’” That let’s m
“Learning to Pray”
Matthew 6: 5-8
May 2, 2010
Intro: I believe one of the toughest spiritual disciplines to develop in the life of a Xian is prayer. Now let me ask you a question. How many of you have had some pretty serious struggles in setting aside a time each day to talk w/God? How many of you have had some struggles in knowing what to say when you pray? How many of you have actually fallen asleep before you finished your prayer? I can think of a lot more struggles but I’ll stop there.
-Praying is difficult to do on so many levels and yet we’re commanded in 1 Thess. 5: 17, “Pray continually.” We’re told in James 5: 16 @ the power of prayer. We’re told, “The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.” So if God wants us to pray to Him; if prayer is effective and powerful; why do we struggle so much w/it?
-One of the major reasons why is b/c we make it much more difficult than it really is. We take something that’s so simple, which is talking to God, and we turn it into a feat that’s difficult to accomplish. There are some who are afraid to pray b/c they think you’ve got to say a lot of “thee’s” and “thous.” Others think you have to be super spiritual to pray. But nowhere in the Bible do you see God telling us that you have to be a rocket-scientist to pray effectively.
-So what do we need to do when it comes to prayer? We need to take a look at the basics and then hop in there and start talking to God. I’m not a big car racing fan, but I read a story I thought was apropos for today. Bill Vuckovich won the Indianapolis 500 in 1953 and 1954, which is a record very few people have matched. He was asked what the secret was. He said, “There’s no secret. You just press the accelerator to the floor and steer left.”
-Obviously there’s more to it than this, but those are the basics. When it comes to prayer there’s really no secret to it. You just start talking to God and share your heart w/Him.
Sermon Idea: Now if you struggle w/prayer, you’re not alone. The disciples of Jesus needed help in learning to pray. In Luke 11: 1 it 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.’” That let’s me know it’s okay if we really don’t know how to pray. What I hope we’ll discover is HOW to pray.
-Today in our passage of Scripture we’re going to see Jesus giving His followers some tips on prayer. And it’s my hope you’ll take these tips Jesus gives and apply them to your prayer life.
TEXT: MATTHEW 6: 5-8
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 instruction on how to live. And in the part we’re going to focus on today He shares w/His people some tips on prayer. Well, what are they?
-The 1st tip Jesus gives on prayer is:
DIV. 1: DON’T FORGET TO WHOM YOU’RE TALKING (v. 5)
Exp: Jesus tells us when we pray we shouldn’t be like the hypocrites. The word “hypocrite” is a theatrical term which refers to actors using large masks to portray a role they were playing. It means pretending to be something you’re not. So who were the hypocrites and what was so bad @ how they prayed?
A. Well, the hypocrites were referring to the Scribes and Pharisees who were the religious leaders of the day. And their prayers were bad b/c the focus of their prayers weren’t on God but instead on themselves.
1. What’s so bad @ that? Have you ever talked to someone who spent the whole conversation just talking @ themselves? Isn’t it a joy to talk to people like that? That’s how many of the religious leaders were when it came to prayer. Instead of using prayer to focus on God, to communicate w/Him, they used prayer to make themselves look good in front of others.
a. Let me give you a little background. In the Jewish faith it was customary to pray at 3 different times during the day: 9 a.m., 12, and then again at 3 p.m. The rule was no matter where you were or what you were doing, you were to stop during those times of the day and offer up prayers to God.