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Summary: To Dance with the Father is to engage in an intimate relationship with the Creator. This series addresses how to relate with God by focusing on the Father instead of on the steps of the dance.

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The DANCE July 9, 2006

Prayer – The Rhythm of the Beat

Recap: We’re in a series entitled, “the Dance” which is focused on helping all of us to possess a genuine and intimate relationship w/ God. We’ve all heard that being a Christian is about relationship and not religion, yet most believers have only a religion b/c they’ve never learned how to dance w/ God.

Verse: Confess faults to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much. Jm 5:16

Note: People have many misconception of prayer—w/ most thinking prayer is to have a spiritual wish list for God. Prayer is the natural response to a spiritually- awakened life. It is the breath of the child of God. Just as breathing is natural for a child from birth, so too is prayer for the new born Christian.

Story: During WWII, Navy divers worked at incredible depths w/ only a single connection to the world above – an airline hooked to a pump and monitored by a private. The private’s only job was to man his post and make sure the pump worked – he provided the air for the divers to breathe. He was their life-line.

Note: So it is w/ God. Prayer is our life-support system and God is our life-line.

Trans: It has been said that prayer in its basic form is nothing more than talking, listening, and responding to God for the purpose of seeking to know His heart and will for your life. It’s checking in w/ Him on a daily basis.

Story: Just Checkin’ In – (see addendum). Prayer is checkin’ in w/ God – so how does one begin checkin’ in?

I HOW TO PRAY Mt. 6:5-13

Trans: In Matt. 6, Jesus spoke to His disciples concerning prayer giving us incredible insight into what is required to enter into God’s presence w/ boldness.

A HAVE THE RIGHT ATTITUDE Mt. 6:5-8

Note: Before giving us a sample prayer, Jesus talked about the necessity of having a right attitude in our hearts about prayer.

1 Be HUMBLE—Stop trying to impress other people

Verse: When you pray, don’t be like the hypocrites who love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by men.

Note: This doesn’t mean that we’re never to pray w/ others or pray aloud in public – but it does mean that we’re never to pray to make others think that we’re spiritual giants. This verse is about the condition of the heart – is it ready and willing to come under God’s authority and to trust His gudiance.

Note: According to the Bible, if we want God to hear and respond to our prayers – then we need to have a broken and contrite (humble) heart.

Verse: For you desire not sacrifice; else would I give it: you delight not in burnt offering. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, you will not despise. Ps. 51:16-17

2 Be FOCUSED—Concentrate on meeting with God

Verse: When you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.

Note: The reason we pray is to meet and speak w/ God. It’s not to throw up a grocery list into the heavens w/ the hope that God will respond and rain down His blessings. To pray is to communicate w/ God. Our focus needs to be on what He has to say to us more than what we have to say to Him.

Quote: To have prayed well is to have heard God speak to you. Luther

Note: When we pray we need to understand that we’re entering into the presence of God and into His courts of praise. We have an audience w/ the Creator and sustainer of the universe – the all-powerful, all-knowing God. We need to give Him our full concentration and show Him the honor due His name.

Note: This doesn’t mean that we have to pray in the KJV or fall on our faces. It simply means that He is worthy of our undivided attention.

3 Be GENUINE—Pray from your heart

Verse: Don’t recite the same prayer over and over as the heathen do, who think prayers are answered only by repeating them again and again. Remember, your Father knows exactly what you need before you ask Him!

Note: Remember – prayer is talking, listening, and responding to God – it’s not an exercise in futility. There isn’t a magic formula or secret handshake – nor is there any particular posture needed. Simply talk to God.

Insert: Prayer isn’t tattling on someone else.

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