Summary: This sermon looks at Matthew’s account of the Lord’s exemplary prayer; specifically in light of what it requires of us to pray what Jesus prays.
NOTE: When I list a verse number or passage, it is intended for you to read the indicated verse aloud
(OPEN BIBLES TO Matthew 6)
In my lesson tonight, I do not expect that anything I say to you will be new and different than what you’ve heard said about this before.
-But I don’t think everything that’s new is always necessarily better.
-The Model that Jesus gave us for how to approach God was effective in his time, and I believe it is every bit as effective for us now.
We don’t need a new and revised Lord’s prayer…the original one works just fine, and gives us plenty to think about.
Jesus begins his teaching on prayer by talking about WHERE to pray.
Jesus begins by saying, “When you pray, don’t do it for the sake of getting lots of attention.”
-We do need to point out that in this passage, Jesus is not arguing it is WRONG to pray publicly.
-In the early church, prayer was certainly a part of what they did when they were assembled.
-I believe it would be wrong to STOP praying publicly.
-What I think Jesus is trying to say is that if the LONGEST prayers you lead are the ones you lead publicly, you might out to rethink your motives.
If you can always be done praying in 2-3 minutes at home, but when you lead a public prayer, you just can’t help but talk to God for 10-15 minutes, you might want to reverse that habit.
-If you lead a long, eloquent prayer that everyone gets to hear, then your reward is that everyone will say, “What a nice prayer that was.”
ILL.- Preacher D. L. Moody said, “A man who prays much in private will make short prayers in public.”
ILL.- When Lyndon Johnson was President, he had several guests in for a meal at the family room of the White House. LBJ had given the honor of giving grace to journalist Bill Moyers (an ex-Baptist minister). As Moyers began to softly say grace, LBJ - who couldn’t understand what was being said, interrupted Moyers, "Speak up man." Without looking up and barely stopping in mid-sentence, Bill Moyers replied, "I wasn’t talking to you."
When we pray, let’s remember that we’re not in showbusiness…we’re talking to God.
Jesus says we can pray a lot better if we find a place where no one else CAN see us or hear us.
-It’s hunting season now, and I have no doubt that some of you guys are going to be out in the early mornings waiting for deer.
-Why not take the time to talk to God when you can sit there in silence and solitude?
Jesus gave one other piece of advice about how NOT to pray…
By rambling on and using the ‘right’ phrases, it doesn’t make your prayer any better. Say what you have to say. If you have nothing left to say, don’t feel obligated to keep going on just because you can…
ILLUS: ILL.- A little boy was afraid of the dentist. So his father decided to set the example and have his teeth examined, too. The dentist looked inside the father’s mouth and said, "Oh, there’s a tooth there that has to be pulled."
The father asked, "How much will it cost?" The dentist answered, "We charge $35 a tooth." Then the father asked, "How long will it take to pull the tooth?" The dentist answered, "About a minute."
The father protested, "I get paid by the HOUR! That means I’m paying $35 for just a minute’s work! That’s a terribly high hourly wage!”
-The Dentist replied, “I can pull it a lot slower if you want me to.”
Jesus says that God knows what we need. Pray for what’s on your mind. Don’t ramble on for hours if you have nothing else you want to say.
So Jesus’ teaching on prayer begins with an encouragement to pray privately, and pray sincerely.
Verse 9 begins what we typically call the Lord’s prayer.
I want to break it down and look at it. I want us to see how it is focused. If we pray this prayer with sincerity, to say some of these things to God requires us to examine ourselves, and to live differently…if we really mean what we say.
Before we study it, I’d like us to all pray it together one time. Most of us probably memorized it from a King James Version, so if you would, bow your heads and pray it with me.
“Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.
10Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.
11Give us this day our daily bread.
12And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.