Summary: In this particular passage of Scripture Jesus is concerned about how we pray. Because of that Jesus has given us some guidelines in this text for prayer, we will learn tonight those guidelines.
Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount Part 12
Lord, Teach us to Pray!
Pm Service January 18th 2009
Prayer is one of the greatest acts of the Believer. Taking to God weather it is by spoken word or by thought, is the actual act of fellowshipping with almighty God.
When we think about prayer, we often times don’t understand how it works, but we must believe by faith that it does.
One preacher wrote, “I don’t understand prayer, but I believe it works. There are a lot of other things that I don’t understand. I don’t understand how I can push a button in my car and my garage door opens before I even get there. But I use it. I don’t understand how a cordless phone works. I don’t know how your voice can travel through the air, through a transmitter and amplifier and then someone can hear you clearly across town or across the nation or around the world. I don’t know how. But it works.
“I don’t understand how prayer works, but it works. So I pray in faith to my unseen God and He promises that He will hear.”
Billy Graham once said, “Heaven is full of answers to prayers which no one ever bothered to ask.”
In this particular passage of Scripture Jesus is concerned about how we pray. Because of that Jesus has given us some guidelines in this text for prayer, we will learn tonight those guidelines.
Read Scriptures: Matthew 6:5-15
I. When you pray, don’t put on a show.
Vs. 5 “And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by men…”
When Lyndon Johnson was President, he had several guests in for a meal at the family room of the White House. LBJ had given the honor of giving grace to journalist Bill Moyers (an ex-Baptist minister). As Moyers began to softly say grace, LBJ - who couldn’t understand what was being said, interrupted Moyers, "Speak up man." Without looking up and barely stopping in mid-sentence, Bill Moyers replied, "I wasn’t talking to you."
Preacher D. L. Moody said, “A man who prays much in private will make short prayers in public.”
There is nothing wrong with praying in public but we must not be too quick to offer a public prayer. Why do we want to lead in public prayer? Is it to communicate with God and ask on the behalf of others? Or is it because we want to appear “religious” to others?
If you are asked to pray in public, just remember that we are not in the “show business.” We are in the God business of trying to honor and please Him. Any time you pray you are talking to the Lord, not to people.
II. When you pray, get away from people.
Vs. 6 “But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.”
Mark 1:35 “Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed.”
Luke 6:12 “One of those days Jesus went out to a mountainside to pray, and spent the night praying to God.”
We all need a private time for prayer. We need this both for ourselves and for the sake of others, for those on our prayer list.
Jesus recommended that we go off by ourselves, in our room. Your private prayer place could be anywhere. It could be your car while driving to work; that is, if you can pray and drive at the same time.
Getting away by yourself for prayer, no matter where that place is, can be a time of refreshing! It can be a time of worship, praise, thanksgiving, and intercession on behalf of others. But it can’t be done effectively unless you have your own “getaway” spot.
Jesus would get up early in the morning and leave the house where he was staying so He could talk with His Father. Or at times He would spend all night in prayer. WE ALL NEED THIS TIME, FOR OUR SAKE, FOR THE LORD’S SAKE AND FOR THE SAKE OF OTHERS!
III. When you pray, don’t babble on and on
Vs. 7-8 “And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.”
A young boy was observed by a minister in church praying very fervently; but much to the preacher’s surprise, he was also heard to say from time to time: "Tokyo, Tokyo, Tokyo."