Summary: a "how to pray" message based on the directions Jesus gave in Matthew 6.
One night a father heard his young daughter speaking, although she was alone
in her room. The door was cracked just enough so that he could see that she
was kneeling beside her bed in prayer. Interested to find out what subjects a
child would bring before God, he paused outside her door and listened. After
tuning in to her speech he was puzzled to hear her reciting the alphabet: "A, B,
C, D, E, F, G ¡¡" She just kept repeating it. He didn¡¯¡¯t want to interrupt her,
but soon curiosity go the best of him and he broke into prayer, "Honey," he
asked, "what are you doing?"
"I¡¯¡¯m praying, Daddy," she replied.
"Well, why are you praying the alphabet?" he asked.
She explained, "I started my prayers, but I wasn¡¯¡¯t sure what to pray. I decided
to just say all the letters of the alphabet and let God put them together however
he thinks best."
¡ñ we know we¡¯re supposed to pray ¨C but sometimes we¡¯re not sure how!
¡ñ Jesus gave us a few pointers on the how
Matthew 6 5"And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to
pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by men. I
tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full. 6But 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. 7And when you
pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard
because of their many words. 8Do not be like them, for your Father knows what
you need before you ask him.
9"This, then, is how you should pray:
" ’Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
10your kingdom come,
your will be done
on earth as it is in heaven.
11Give us today our daily bread.
12Forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.
13And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from the evil one. 14For if you forgive men when they sin against
you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15But if you do not forgive men
their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.
My Challenge: Pray as Jesus instructed us to. The method he gives isn¡¯t
complex, but simple. I¡¯ll divide his instruction into 4 parts.
I. And When . . .
A. During our struggle with anything, the temptation is to give up and quit!
1. My dad never let me quit something in the middle; I always had to
finish my commitment
2. Jesus knows the struggle that prayer can be, yet he didn¡¯t begin by
saying, ¡°I know prayer is tough on you, men ¨C I see a future day
where it will even put you to sleep ¨C so I¡¯m going to give you a
choice: if you feel led to pray, go ahead. For those who would like
to pray, here are a few suggestions . . .¡±
B. He simply said, ¡°and when.¡± Jesus tells us to pray 3 times in this
1. 5"And when you pray, . . .
2. 7And when you pray, . . .
3. 9"This, then, is how you should pray: . . .
C. Yes, it¡¯s a difficult discipline ¨C but, the Lord wants us to pray!
D. "The moment you wake up each morning, all your wishes and hopes for
the day rush at you like wild animals. And the first job each morning
consists in shoving it all back; in listening to that other voice, taking
that other point of view, letting that other, larger, stronger, quieter life
come flowing in." C. S. Lewis
E. And when . . . perhaps we should talk about the ¡°when.¡±
1. What should the clock say when we pray?
2. Let me give you a clue . . . then ¡°when¡± is not important ¨C the fact
of whether we do or not is.
a. Jesus didn¡¯t say, ¡°and when you pray at 4:30 in the morning,
pray like this . . . or when you pray before your meal . . . or
when you pray at 6am, 9am, noon, 3pm, 6pm, and 9pm, etc. .
b. I believe that he intentionally left it open for us to decide.
c. You¡¯ll see in a moment that the content and context are much
more important than the clock
3. Jesus did, however, leave us some examples to help us decide the
when . . .
a. He prayed early in the morning, ¡°very early in the morning,
while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off