Summary: If we understand that prayer is primarily to glorify God, and if we love the Lord, then we will want to know HOW to pray so He can be glorified.
Purpose: To show that a relationship with God is a requirement for prayer.
Aim: I want the listener to see prayer as a way to put God on display.
INTRODUCTION: Why should we pray? The purpose of prayer is to put God on display. John 14:13 "Whatever you ask in My name, that will I do, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. (NAU)
If we understand that prayer is primarily to glorify God, and if we love the Lord, then we will want to know HOW to pray so He can be glorified. This is why Jesus gave us what we call "The Lord's Prayer" even though Jesus never prayed this prayer. After all, He never had to ask forgiveness for His sins.
This prayer gives us a pattern, or an outline to follow when we pray. Many time people ask, "Should we recite the Lord's prayer?" Jesus didn't tell us to recite this prayer and there are no records that the disciples ever recited this prayer. I think they understood that this was a pattern for us to follow when we pray. On the other hand, I don't see any harm reciting this prayer if it is prayed with understanding.
► I. Real Prayer Follows God's Instructions "Pray, then, in this way"
George Barna had a poll done that said that 64% of Americans say they pray every day. I wonder how many Americans are praying the way God wants us to?
If you want to know how to pray, open the Bible and study what it has to say about prayer. I can't count the number of times when people, who know nothing about the Bible, have told me that they pray all the time. If we are praying to please God, then we need to learn how He wants it done.
Matthew 11:29 "Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and YOU WILL FIND REST FOR YOUR SOULS. (NAU)
► II. Real Prayer Begins with a Relationship with God "Father"
In Jesus' day there were many wrong ideas of what God was like. The Stoics believed that the gods could not have feelings. If they experienced joy, then they would have to experience sorrow which would be a weakness. The Epicureans believed that the supreme attribute of god was calmness so the gods had to be far removed from humans so that they wouldn't be infected with emotions. The Jews believed that God was only concerned for their nation, so He wasn't involved in the lives of individuals, only the Jewish nation.
Jesus was contradicting all of these ideas when He told His followers to address God as "Father." A father cares for his children, he is intimately involved in their lives, is grieved when they make wrong choices, and rejoices when they do well.
In what ways is God our Father?
► A. God is our Father because He created us
Isaiah 64:8 But now, O LORD, You are our Father, We are the clay, and You our potter; And all of us are the work of Your hand. (NAU)
Just because we are created by God does not mean we have a father-son relationship with God. Jesus told some religious people: John 8:44 "You are of your father the devil, and you want to do the desires of your father. ... (NAU)
► B. God is our Father when He adopts us