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Summary: For an athlete to excel in the sport of his or her choice they must submit to the physical disciplines that will prepare them for excellent performance. Likewise, to truly be followers of Jesus Christ, we must follow certain exercises and disciplines.

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2-22-05

Title: Take Time to Listen When You Pray

Text: “But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.” (Matthew 6:6)

Bible Reading: Matthew 6:5-13

Introduction

The Bible reading is Matthew 6:5-13.

I’ll read those verses after a few words about our subject, which is prayer.

For an athlete to excel in the sport of his or her choice they must submit to the physical disciplines that will prepare them for excellent performance.

Likewise, to truly be followers of Jesus Christ, we must follow certain exercises and disciplines.

Jesus’ prayer life was not a mere routine or habit that He followed.

His prayer life was a dynamic experience with God the Father that so enriched Him that one of our Lord’s disciples said to Him, “Lord teach us to pray” (Luke 11:1).

The art of effective praying needs to be learned and Jesus is the reliable Teacher that we should listen to and imitate.

We need to recognize that prayer was meant to be a conversation in which communication takes place in both directions rather than being a monolog.

After hearing several sermons that emphasized this concept of prayer, a creative young person composed a song that he titled “Listen When You Pray.” The chorus goes like this:

Listen, O listen when you pray

To hear what God might have to say.

Listen, O listen when you pray

To hear what God might have to say.

It is interesting to note how many times in the Old Testament the people of God are accused of the sin of refusing to listen to God’s voice.

It’s also interesting to note how many times in the New Testament our Lord says, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear” (Matt. 13:9).

This phrase is repeated seven times in Revelation 2 and 3 and it’s used to indicate the importance of what comes next.

If you have ears to hear, listen, as I read our text; Matthew 6:5-13.

5 And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.

6 But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.

7 But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking.

8 Be not ye therefore like unto them: for your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask him.

9 After this manner therefore pray ye (say it with me): Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.

10 Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.

11 Give us this day our daily bread.

12 And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.

13 And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.


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