Summary: pt. 6 of 7 on learning to pray. looking at people from the bible and how they connected to God through prayer. feel free to use any or all of this.
Learning to Pray
Pt.6 The Lord’s Prayer
How many of you believe deodorant is important?
How often do you use it?
How many of you believe that changing your oil in your car is important?
How often do you do it?
How many believe it is important to have a clean house?
How often do you clean?
How many here believe that reading is much better than watching TV?
How much reading did you do? how much TV did you watch?
How many believe that eating right and exercise is good?
How many actually do that?
How many believe that reading the Bible is good for your life and draws you closer to God?
How much did you read?
How many believe that prayer is important and powerful?
How often did you pray?
It is funny, the things we say we believe, are not always the things we do… We believe that these things are important, but putting them into practice, well, that is something else entirely.
Let me ask, have you been praying? Have you tried connecting to God?
Have you ever thought about how you learned to pray? Did you ever ask someone? Or did you just pick it up by osmosis? I personally don’t remember, probably from just going to church, or listening to my grandfather… Regardless, prayer is nothing I formally learned, it is just something I picked up. A few years ago, as I was praying, I was struck by the thought that I am not praying right… I listened to the words I was saying, “Father I pray you protect my family, father I pray you lead the church, father I pray..., etc. etc…” and as I closed I used the magical phrase, in Jesus name, amen.
After I finished I felt like I was trying to force God to do my bidding through the words I was using, and the force in which I was praying. I felt like I was trying to manipulate God into doing what I wished… Have you ever felt like that? Have you ever caught yourself trying to make God see your way? Make him do your bidding and bend to your will?
How many here actually believe in magic? How many practice magic? One of the premises for magic is to use words that bind spirits to your will, to do your bidding, and through your force of will and the words you say, you make these spirits your slaves… when we do that in our prayers, manipulate, forcing our will, etc. we need to understand, that is not prayer, that is trying to evoke an incantation. Like our words have some sort of magical effect on God! This is not prayer, it is manipulation. The question of course is why? Why do we try to manipulate God?
In the ancient world, and even today, the Jewish people had set prayers in which they prayed 3 times a day, every day, plus special set prayers for special occasions. These were taught to disciples by their rabbi. They repeated the same prayers every day, 3 times a day, morning, afternoon, and evening. So in Luke chapter 11, it is not surprising that Jesus’ disciples ask him to teach them how to pray…
If you have your bibles, turn to Luke 11:1
1Now Jesus was praying in a certain place, and when he finished, one of his disciples said to him, "Lord, teach us to pray, as John taught his disciples." 2And he said to them, "When you pray, say:
"Father, hallowed be your name.
Your kingdom come.
3Give us each day our daily bread,
4and forgive us our sins,
for we ourselves forgive everyone who is indebted to us.
And lead us not into temptation."
Do you remember when you first heard the Lord’s Prayer? My first recollection of it was in my 6th grade class with Mrs. Knox. Every morning after we said the pledge of allegiance, Mrs. Knox would lead us in the Lord’s Prayer and then have a student read a passage from the Bible, which was the first time I had ever heard the story of Shadrack, Meshach, and Abednego… and of course it was the King James version…
As I have said, this prayer used to confuse me, what does art mean, what is a hallowed, and why am I praying for bread, when cake was better… besides I didn’t have any land for people trespass on, so did I not get forgiven when I did?
Of course the Lord’s Prayer we are used to is from Matthew, Luke’s is much shorter:
When you pray, say: Father, hallowed be your name. Basically Jesus is saying to give honor to God when you pray.
Your kingdom come. He is talking about God’s kingdom changing the hearts and minds of the people, and looking forward to the day when God’s kingdom rules over all the earth.