Summary: We spend so much time on how to pray that we skip over the most important aspect of prayer, Why? What motivates us to pray? Is it to be seen by others and praised for our holy output? Or is it the resolute determination to just talk with our Father wit
When You Talk To Your Father
Griffith Baptist Church – 12/2/07
Text: Matthew 6:5-8
Jim Elliot, a missionary slain by the Auca Indians in the 1950’s, once said: God is still on His throne and man is still on his footstool. There’s only a knee’s distance in between.
1. There is pre-instruction on prayer given here in 5-8 to get us ready for 9-15
A. Here, Jesus goes a step further and talks about the heart condition of prayer
B. You have heard it said, “You need to pray.” Prayer is what every Christian should do!”
C. We invest to much time in talking about prayer and not enough time actually praying.
2. Some things to notice before we get into the text.
A. Prayer is assumed - And when thou prayest (verse 5)
i. Not “if” you pray
ii. Prayer is commanded, it is non-negotiable
B. Prayer is relational – “thy Father” (verse 6 twice, verse 8 once)
i. We have a holy and righteous, all encompassing God who is our Father
ii. There is a relationship
iii. He did not say pray to your buddy, your idol or a detached deity
iv. It is your Father
C. Prayer is personal
i. We are in the presence, one on one, with a Father very interested in us
Prayer is more a matter of the heart than it is a matter of the words or the amount of words
Prayer, for most of us, functions as a rescue ladder. We only need it when there’s a fire!
Four thoughts on prayer as Christ prepares us for His model of prayer.
1. Prayer Succeeds When The Heart Is Right
A. This is the second time we are warned about hypocrisy in this section
i. Verse 5 - The Pharisees love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men
B. How do we make our heart right?
i. We have to get rid of sin - Psalms 66:18 - If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me:
ii. We have to pray in the right spirit – Mark 12:38-40 – 38And he said unto them in his doctrine, Beware of the scribes, which love to go in long clothing, and love salutations in the marketplaces, 39And the chief seats in the synagogues, and the uppermost rooms at feasts: 40Which devour widows’ houses, and for a pretence make long prayers: these shall receive greater damnation.
C. Our heart is right when our motives are right when we pray
i. Do we pray selfishly?
ii. Do we pray to get noticed?
2. Prayer Is Always Between One Person and God - 5-6
A. Even when you pray in public, an audience is never intended to be impressed
B. There are two manners in which you pray; public and private
i. Private – by yourself
a. Jesus did this – Matthew 14:23 – And when he had sent the multitudes away, he went up into a mountain apart to pray: and when the evening was come, he was there alone.
b. This is prayer in its most intimate form
ii. Public – with others listening
a. There is nothing wrong with public prayer
b. This was done several times within the Old and New Testament
c. We can all pray at once and still be heard as individuals – Psalms 34:15 - The eyes of the LORD are upon the righteous, and his ears are open unto their cry. (Is. 65:24)
C. We need to stop being conscious of what others think
D. They should not be grading your prayers anyway
i. Some might say, “Wasn’t that a lovely prayer.”
ii. Others might say, “Boy, that person does not know how to pray.”
iii. Who made you judge? You’re listening for the wrong reasons.
iv. Your mind is supposed to be on God, not on how wonderful or pathetic a person prays.
3. Prayer Should be Spontaneous - 7
A. It should be natural
i. It comes from the head and the heart
ii. It is not some memorized chant
iii. It is not some repeated, magical phrase
B. It is not about quantity but quality
i. Quality is not about being fancy in prayer but being open and honest with God
ii. Long prayers are alright if they are necessary
iii. There is nothing holy in bragging that you pray for hours on end.
C. There are vain repetitions and necessary repetitions
i. Vain repetitions – in the greek means to repeat the same things over and over, to use many idle words, to babble. It is like a mantra or some type of chant.