Summary: Jesus gives us some things to embrace to ensure successful communication with God!
• VIDEO CLIP
• SLIDE #1
• It is bound to happen sometime, it usually happens when we get into trouble. We are not sure where to turn for help; we feel helpless, powerless and lost.
• What do we do?
• Many times we turn to prayer.
• Do you think prayer meant something to those on Flight 93?
• People who call themselves Christians pray on a regular basis and people who do not consider themselves Christians do it also.
• According to a 2001 study by the Barna research group While 96% of devoted Christians pray in a given week, 72% of those who make no claim to Christ report that they have prayed in the past seven days.
• Why do people prayer? They do it because they believe it makes a difference.
• Prayer seems to be a part of the lives of many people.
• During Jesus’ day as we have stated before, prayer was an important part of the religious life of the people. For many people prayer became something it was not supposed to be, a ritual to be seen by other people.
• How many times have we given up on prayer because we did not think it would do any good? Is there anything we can do to make our prayer lives better and more fulfilling?
• Do you want to have a dynamic fulfilling prayer life? I believe that if we will listen to what Jesus has to say and take it to heart that our prayer lives will change.
• Do you want to have a solid prayer life? Do you want to successfully communicate with God? Let us look at what Jesus tells us on the subject of prayer.
• Successful communication with God will happen when we:
• SLIDE #2
I. Embrace the appropriate attitudes (v5-8)
• Effective pray springs from proper attitudes.
• When our attitudes are not correct, it will hamper our prayer efforts.
• Let us turn to verses 5-6 to examine the first attitude we need to embrace.
• SLIDE #3
• Matthew 6:5-6 ( ESV ) “And when you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites. For they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, that they may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.
• SLIDE #4
A. We need to embrace an attitude of intimacy (5-6)
• The first attitude Jesus deals with issue of intimacy with God.
• We covered this part of the text last week, but I want to briefly revisit this issue.
• Jesus was condemning the attitude of wanting to put on a show for people with our prayer life. Jesus told us that we are to pray in secret, in other words, we are praying to God, not to other people.
• Our desire should be to communicate our needs to the Father with whom we have a great love and respect for.
• We are to disclose or deepest desires to the Father because we know He cares.
• Those of you who are married, do you remember the excitement of getting the opportunity to speak with your then girl friend or boy friend? Much to the chagrin of my father, Robyn and I used to burn up the long distance lines to speak to each other. I used to find creative ways to get out of classes so that I could see her.
• When we were together, it was not for show nor was it a fake relationship.
• God does not want a show or a fake relationship; He wants an intimate relationship with us! God is not into casual relationships, He desires closeness!
• In verses 7-8 we see another attitude to embrace.
• SLIDE #5
• Matthew 6:7-8 ( ESV ) “And when you pray, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do, for they think that they will be heard for their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.
• SLIDE #6
B. An attitude of sincerity is important to God. (7-8)
• As we look at verse 7, Jesus warns us not to pray like the Pharisees, for public recognition (vv. 5-6), nor like the pagans, with “meaningless repetitions”, (vv. 7-8).
• What does it mean to pray with meaningless or vain repetition?
• It does not mean that we are not be persistent in our prayers because Jesus prayed the same prayer 3 times in the garden.