Summary: The Altar Series: how to pray. Teach how to pray. Model prayer. A.C.T.S. prayer. Goal is to take prayer to the next level and change how people think about prayer.
The Altar of Prayer
Last week – we learned about what it means to “Come to the Altar”
It means to approach, to acknowledge, to respect God
And if you recall, last week I said there were 2 primary ways of doing so. Both modeled in Scripture.
Prayer and Praise
Today I want to talk to you about prayer.
Show of hands, how many pray?
At it’s most basic: prayer is talking WITH God. Simple.
What does GOD say about how we should pray?
Well – God teaches us HOW to pray
And Jesus even MODELS a prayer for us
HOW to pray
You will notice that Jesus gives us some DO’s and some DON’Ts
Don’t pray for attention – Notice it says that the hypocrites have got their reward: “ To be seen by people” – they want ATTENTION
• Oh my what a mighty prayer
• Oh my he sure can pray
• Oh he must be so close to God
• I wish I could pray like that
• Big words, repeater – Thesaurus –
o Provider, supplier, laborer
o Lord lead us, guide us, direct us, navigate for us, show us the way to go
Jesus says don’t pray like that!
V6 – DO pray in private – spend time ALONE with God – Why?
I would say: Integrity – doing the RIGHT THING even when NO ONE IS LOOKING!
Jesus is talking about faith integrity!
Pray when it is you and God.
(Luke 5:16) – Jesus OFTEN went ALONE to pray –
(Mark 1:35) – You see a trend? Jesus went ALONE, to a SOLITARY place – and prayed – spent time with the Father!
Listen to me real quick – we are to be imitators of Christ – imitate that!
o If Jesus NEEDED alone time with God, and HE IS GOD’S SON, how much more do we need it?
o It’s GOOD!
Because what you do in SECRET, God sees!
7-8 – There it is again – babbling on and on – many words – acting like: if I don’t tell God, then God won’t know my needs.
• When the reality is God doesn’t NEED you to tell Him anything!
• He already knows
o He WANTS to have a relationship with you
o He wants to hear your voice
o He wants to communicate with you
? You are not informing God
? You are sharing your struggles with God
? Asking God for help
? Praising God
I am sure you know this prayer:
The MODEL Prayer
It is often referred to as the Lord’s prayer
Now verse 14-15 is an important message about WHY you pray specific things, but let’s go back through this again:
• V9 – Honoring God –
o your name is holy
o When we pray the first thing we should go is recognize WHOM we are praying to
? It’s not tha God doesn’t know
• It is to REMIND OURSELVES
o And at the same time, acknowledge who God is
• V10 – we are seeking God’s will
o Some would even say this can serve as a reminder that WE are to be a visible representation of God’s kingdom on earth
? And you know what, that should also remind us of WHOM we serve!
? Because we ARE supposed to be the visible love of God to people who have no clue who God is.
o But it is also a plea – let your kingdom come, let your will be done
• V11 – Give us our daily bread
o This is a look back to the 40 years the Israelites relied on God for Manna
o God met their NEEDS every day, without fail
o And God will meet your NEEDS – not your desires, NEEDS
• V12 – Father Forgive us AS we forgive others
o Look down at V 14 -
? Forgiveness has nothing to do with deserve, it has everything to do with GRACE!
? V15 - God says, I will forgive you, if you forgive others
• V13 – God protect us! Guide us and protect us!
Now some denominations will recite that prayer in repetition, typically in Congregational prayers, but sometimes alone –
• At men’s prayer breakfast every Tuesday the closing prayer is always a group recital of the Lord’s prayer
• Some people pray it, not just Catholics
There is NOTHING WRONG with that!
So don’t think I am saying that is WRONG!
This is Jesus giving us a model pray of how we should approach God in OUR prayer!
Brothers and sisters – If God gives us a model to follow – we should follow it!
ACTS Prayer –
• Adoration – Give God praise and honor for who HE is as Lord of all