Summary: Prayer is one of the greatest gifts God has given us - but it's also one of the most forsaken by today's Christian. Jesus gives us an example of how to pray and then goes on to show us three attitudes / behaviours that hinder our prayer life. Also inclu

When a Prayer is Not a Prayer - Matthew 5:5-15 - February 26, 2012

Series: Kingdom Life – A World Turned Upside Down #19

We’re going to start, this morning, with a deceptively simple question. The question is this: What is prayer? … What is prayer? We know we’re supposed to do it, we know it’s important, but what really is prayer? If you were to ask a dozen people that same question you would probably get a dozen different answers. In the next few moments I’m going to share with you how others have attempted to answer that question, and I hope that as you hear what they have said, that you will be challenged in your own understanding of what prayer can be. Here we go ... (All prayer quotes come from this website:

• Prayer is the exercise of drawing on the grace of God.

• To pray is to change. Prayer is the central avenue God uses to transform us. If we are unwilling to change, we will abandon prayer as a noticeable characteristic of our lives. The more we pray, the more we come to [the] heartbeat of God. Prayer starts the communication process between ourselves and God. All the options of life fall before us. At that point we will either forsake our prayer life, and cease to grow, or we will pursue our prayer life and let Him change us.

• To pray is to talk to God … In a word: to get to know Him and to get to know yourself.

• Prayer gives us strength for great ideals, for keeping up our faith, charity, purity, generosity; prayer gives us strength to rise up from indifference and guilt, if we have had the misfortune to give in to temptation and weakness. Prayer gives us light by which to see and to judge from God's perspective and from eternity. That is why you must not give up on praying!

• Prayer is the raising of one’s mind and heart to God or the requesting of good things from God. - Saint John Damascene

• For me prayer is an upward leap of the heart, an untroubled glance toward heaven, a cry of gratitude and love which I utter from the depths of sorrow as well as from the heights of joy. - Saint Thérèse of Lisieux

• Prayer is not given us as a burden to be borne or an irksome duty to fulfill, but to be a joy and power to which there is no limit.

• No Man can do a great and enduring work of God, who is not a man of prayer, and no man can be a man of prayer who does not give much time to praying.

• Poverty stricken as the church is today in many things, she is most stricken here, in the place of prayer. We have many organizers, but few agonizers; many players and payers, but few prayers; many singers but few lingerers; lots of pastors but few wrestlers; many fears, few tears; much fashion, but little passion; many interferers, but few intercessors; many writers, but few fighters. Failing here, we fail everywhere.

• The great people of the earth today are the people who pray. I do not mean those who talk about prayer; nor yet those who can explain about prayer; but I mean those people who take time and pray. They have not time. It must be taken from something else. This something else is very important. Very important and pressing, but still less important and less pressing than prayer.

• Some people pray just to pray and some people pray to know God.

• Until you are convinced that prayer is the best use of your time, you will not find time for prayer.

And we could go on and on and on but if we were to sum those up in our own words we could say that to pray is to draw on God’s grace, to lean on His strength, to be equipped by His great power for what each day will bring. To pray is to get to know God and to be changed in the process; to give ourselves to that which is of the utmost importance. To pray is the great need of Christians throughout all times for as we pray the eyes of our hearts are opened, our desires transformed, our wills surrendered, and our lives empowered to live in such a way that God is glorified.

And yet, as others have said before me, “There is a mighty lot of difference between saying prayers and praying.” Anyone can say a prayer; but not everyone who does so is actually praying. Jesus would agree. And as we look into God’s word this morning I would ask you to consider whether you are just a “sayer,” of prayers, or if you are indeed, a “prayer,” of prayers. Open your Bibles with me to the Gospel of Matthew. Mathew, chapter 6, beginning in verse 5.

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