Faithlife Sermons

Secret Prayers

Teach Us to Pray  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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Is your prayer hypocritical or relational with the Father? Today we will sit at the feet of Jesus as he teaches us how to have intimate times of prayer with our heavenly Father. We will also explore how you can build good rhythms of prayer in your life.

Notes
Transcript
Introduction
There are many types of prayers that people pray:
prayers of gratitude and thanksgiving.
prayers of supplication for the needs of others.
But most prayers, even those prayed by the Lord, are prayers of need either supernatural or physical.
Jesus told a parable one time about a Pharisee and a tax collector that went the temple to pray.
Luke 18:11–14 ESV
11 The Pharisee, standing by himself, prayed thus: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. 12 I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I get.’ 13 But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even lift up his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, a sinner!’ 14 I tell you, this man went down to his house justified, rather than the other. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted.”
Humility is the first key to unlock your prayers before God. Honesty humility is the key to unlock most things in your life.

Today I want to talk to you about two aspects of prayer in your life that will result in a healthy relationship with God.

Let’s keep working through Matthew 6 as our definitive passage on prayer and keep sitting at the feet of Jesus as he teaches us to pray.
Matthew 6:1–4 ESV
1 “Beware of practicing your righteousness before other people in order to be seen by them, for then you will have no reward from your Father who is in heaven. 2 “Thus, when you give to the needy, sound no trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may be praised by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. 3 But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, 4 so that your giving may be in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.

Reverent Prayer

Don’t pray for the sake of others (Hypocritical).

Matthew 6:5 ESV
5 “And when you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites. For they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, that they may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward.

Pray in relationship with the Father (Relational).

Matthew 6:6 ESV
6 But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.

Rhythmic Prayer

Daily prayers provides time alone with the Father.

A rhythm of daily prayers is usually a set time and place to get alone with God for moments of reverence and reflection as you talk with God. In “Emotional Healthy Spirituality,” Pete Scazzaro refers to it as our daily office.
Daniel had a daily office of prayer 3 times a day.

Morning Prayers

Mark 1:35 ESV
35 And rising very early in the morning, while it was still dark, he departed and went out to a desolate place, and there he prayed.
Psalm 63:1 NKJV
1 O God, You are my God; Early will I seek You; My soul thirsts for You; My flesh longs for You In a dry and thirsty land Where there is no water.

Nightly Prayers

Matthew 14:23 ESV
23 And after he had dismissed the crowds, he went up on the mountain by himself to pray. When evening came, he was there alone,

Solitude Prayers

A good rhythm for solitude prayer is to take a day once a month and find a secluded place that you can remove all the noise from the world and focus on the person of God and your relationship with Him.

Jesus prayed all night at the beginning of His ministry

Luke 6:12–13 ESV
12 In these days he went out to the mountain to pray, and all night he continued in prayer to God. 13 And when day came, he called his disciples and chose from them twelve, whom he named apostles:

The old timers would call this “praying through” or “burning the midnight oil.”

Jesus prayed all night before the cross.

Periods of Prayer

Periods of prayer that extend longer than a day. You might take a week or in Jesus case, a month, as God prepares you for something. Usually it involves fasting as well. Extended prayer and be done both in solitude and in community.

Extended Solitude

Luke 4:1–2 ESV
1 And Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit in the wilderness 2 for forty days, being tempted by the devil. And he ate nothing during those days. And when they were ended, he was hungry.

Praying with Fasting

Fasting is the willful denial of physical needs for the purpose of focusing on spiritual needs and renewal.
Joel 2:12–13 ESV
12 “Yet even now,” declares the Lord, “return to me with all your heart, with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning; 13 and rend your hearts and not your garments.” Return to the Lord your God, for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love; and he relents over disaster.
Matthew 6:16–18 ESV
16 “And when you fast, do not look gloomy like the hypocrites, for they disfigure their faces that their fasting may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. 17 But when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, 18 that your fasting may not be seen by others but by your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.

Evaluation:

Do times of prayer and solitude form the foundation of your relationship with God?
What is your current rhythm of prayer and how can you improve upon it?
When will you start your secret time with the Lord.
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