Summary: When we say that we are seeking God’s guidance on any particular thing in our lives what is the one thing that we Christians share with each other and the world on HOW we can get guidance from God? We pray about it...
Date Written: February 2003
Date Preached: February 5, 2003
Church: BBC (PM) Wednesday
Series: What the Bible Says…
Title: About Prayer
Text: Matthew 6:5-13
When we say that we are seeking God’s guidance on any particular thing in our lives what is the one thing that we Christians share with each other and the world on HOW we can get guidance from God?
We tell each other and the world that we PRAY about it. I truly and wholeheartedly believe that prayer is HOW we can know what God desires for our lives.
But just what is prayer? Can you describe prayer to a non-believer? To say that prayer is simply communicating with God is a huge understatement and over simplifies the action.
Prayer is SO much more than merely talking to God. Prayer is the deepest desires of our very soul being laid bare to the Creator who made us. Prayer is our way of coming into an intimate relationship with this Creator, God of the Universe.
Prayer creates within the believer an astute awareness of just how close God is…and just how easy it is for His children to get to the very throne of God.
Prayer is the only way for an unbeliever to recognize and ask for forgiveness of the sins in his/her life. Prayer is the only way for a believer to confess those sins and accept the salvation that God has offered to the world, through His Son Jesus Christ.
Prayer is how the believer brings the anxieties of the heart to the feet of our Lord. Prayer is the ultimate way that a believer can show his/her thanks to God for what God has done and continues to do in their life.
We can find prayer describe, explained and illustrated all throughout the Bible. I believe the most prolific demonstration of prayer in the Word of God is the life of Jesus. We can see many examples and records of when and how Jesus prayed to God.
In the NT we find the disciples coming to Jesus and asking Him, “Lord SHOW us HOW to pray!” They were really unsure, as it seemed that Jesus prayed in a way they had NEVER seen before.
We can see in this passage that Jesus gave His disciples some great guidelines as to how He prayed, and instruction on how THEY should be praying. What we do NOT see here in this passage is anything spoken by Jesus that makes the words of this prayer special… for it is not the words but the attitude of the heart that matters to God.
Tonight I want us to look at and consider 6 general requirements that we MUST adhere to for our prayer to be effective. I also want to look at 4 requirements of a personal nature that will lead to an effective prayer life.
Finally, tonight I want us to look at the very “parts” of a prayer… or in other words, now WE can break our prayer into sections and NEVER ever leave anything out.
First, let’s look at some of the general requirements for prayer in the Christian life. In v.14 of tonight’s passage we can see who Jesus believed that the 1st requirement is that we have a heart that is forgiving. In other words, we must have a forgiving spirit.
Now why is forgiveness so hard for us? It is b/c our nature thrives on retaliation, or getting even. WE often find ourselves seeking vengeance rather than doing what God is leading us to do.
For us to TRULY forgive someone means that we have to be able to ‘let go’ of things that hold us in bondage. We have to be willing to forgive. Unwillingness to forgive can and will eventually overwhelm us and that creates a barrier between us and God. If you really look at it, our forgiveness of other people is really an outpouring of God’s forgiveness in our own lives…
For an effective prayer life, not only do believers need a forgiving spirit, but I can also see that they need simplicity in their prayer.
When we look at v.5-6 we see Jesus speaking about the Pharisees and how their prayer was a kind of performance to impress those around them. This is NOT to say that one person cannot lead in prayer as others follow along in silent prayer.
Entering the closet is really not a literal action but a figurative one. It suggests the closing out of what the world is trying to put INTO your lives. It suggests shutting out any pettiness, jealousy or anxieties that you may have in your heart.
We shut these things out and we can then focus and concentrate on our communication with God on a one-on-one basis. So really this prayer can be prayed ANYWHERE…even in a crowded marketplace.