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Summary: Prayers: 1)Relationship 2)Rewards 3)Right place

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The place and priority of prayer Mt 6:1-8 WBC 5.1.02 am

Baptismal Service of Timmy Hayward

An elderly gentleman passed his granddaughter’s room one night

and overheard her repeating the alphabet in an oddly reverent

way. "What on earth are you up to?" he asked.

"I’m saying my prayers," explained the little girl. "But I

can’t think of exactly the right words tonight, so I’m just

saying all the letters. God will put them together for me,

because He knows what I’m thinking."

This is the start of a series on prayer

- you know- my approach to it all is really very simple

- a bit like this child! (maybe we can learn a lot from children!)

- I haven¡¦t got it all sussed. Not going to make this a marathon

- so, let¡¦s journey and learn, together, eh?

- one thing I want us to do is actually DO it! Pray more than we talk about it.

- come weekly

RELATIONSHIP

You see, what this passage is talking about¡K and what we know¡K is that prayer is about RELATIONSHIP

- in fact- the whole of Christianity is about relationship

o not religion or ritual

o many people make the mistake of thinking it is these, and then wonder why

„X it frustrates them. Doesn¡¦t work. They get bored

A plane full of retirees headed for Florida was gripped with

fear when the pilot announced, "Two of our engines are on fire;

we are flying through a heavy fog, and it has eliminated

virtually all our visibility."

The passengers were numb with fear, except for one... a

semi-retired minister..."Now, now, keep calm, folks" he said.

"Let’s all bow our heads and pray."

Immediately, the group bowed their heads to pray... except

one fellow near the back. "Why aren’t you bowing your head

to pray?" the minister asked.

"Well, I don’t know how to pray," replied the passenger.

"Well, just do something religious!" piped up another well

meaning passenger.

So the man got up and started down the aisle passing his hat...

It¡¦s about a relationship

- relationships are fluid, flexible things

o they need work¡K communication¡K time together

- so it is my belief that as we come together more, and DO IT more

o the relationship will grow

„X and so- the prayer will flow

Jesus clarifies, here

Prayer is not about externals:

a) How you sound

- ¡§do not be like the pagans¡¨

- gentiles used to think that if you could get the words right¡K use the right formula incantation.. ¡K use the right ¡¥god¡¦s¡¦ name

„X ¡K you¡¦d get the answer you wanted

o kind of formulaic.. magical. Almost like ¡¥pester power¡¦

- fails because it is: superstitious, exhausting¡K has a childish impression of God

o like ¡¥if I can back Him into a corner, pull a fast one¡K I¡¦ll get it¡¦

o it¡¦s illogical, actually- and makes God TO SMALL

Nope- the words don¡¦t matter. How you sound doesn¡¦t matter. You don¡¦t have to be eloquent, wordy¡K like anyone else!

- God sees your heart!

- Knows what you need before you ask it

o (so your words REALLY don¡¦t matter! He knows!

o Why pray, then, you ask? Will address more as the weeks go on- but basically because He wants you to be PART of the PROCESS, REALTIONSHIP, REWARDS!)

- Words don¡¦t count:

o sometimes God just wants to hear the groans of your heart

o silence is prayer

o can be ¡¥in prayer¡¦ and it can be ¡¥wordless¡¦

„X = abiding in Him

„X ¡¥practicing the presence of God¡¦

o can be a gush of stuff from your tongue

- THAT¡¦S PRAYER!

o It¡¦s about heart. Attitude. Relationship.

o ¡§Oh Lord, you¡¦re so Bl**dy marvellous!¡¨

So- things like repeated prayers, prayer chains, beads etc can be either very helpful or harmful

- like many of you, I find the Lord¡¦s prayer v helpful

o (Illustr: the difference between me praying it as superstitious unbeliever and Christian)

- , I find liturgy v helpful

o such depth. Can really put ourselves into it

- do you see- if the RELATIONSHIP¡¦S there, and you¡¦re ¡¥that kind of person¡¦ this stuff can really help

- but if the relationship isn¡¦t can be:

o the most damaging thing ever. God replaced y a deceptive placebo

„X put in a box, held to ransom by a formula

o boring!

o Deadly substitute for the real thing

- probably only God and the individual knows whether it¡¦s real or not

Also- we mustn¡¦t think in praying for someone, prayer ministry, inviting God to come¡K we have to say the right words

- He hears¡K comes to those who know Him and He knows

b) who sees you

Jesus mentions here about not being like the hypocrites

- lit ¡¥the play actors¡¦.

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