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"When You Pray....." Part Three

"When You Pray"  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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Part three on the model of prayer that Jesus set for the church and the necessity of doing it!

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OK, so last Wednesday, I gave you guys a little homework project, (pick one thing in specific that you are seeking God about and then find a verse within God’s Word that you feel led to that speaks to you about this one prayer petition and read and speak this verse as well as continually praying about this one specific need or request). How many here remembered to try this throughout the week?

Who would be willing to share something about their prayer request and/or the verse that you felt drawn to that matched up with what you were praying about?
I wonder if anyone felt like they were under compulsion while they were praying this past week. You know the, “I only did it because the teacher made me do it”, sort of scenario!
Well, let’s pick from where we left off, shall we? Somebody, very quickly, tell me, what draws God’s attention to someone who is praying, versus that of another who is praying?
Someone who’s heart is aligned with God; seeking God.
Someone who is striving to be found righteous in the eyes of God.
Someone who is humble before God and repentant.
Last week, we observed two key components about the prayer life of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Who can tell me what those things were that we also need to have a true prayer life with our heavenly Father?
Jesus had a specific place to go and pray! (Do each of you have a place to go and pray each and every day?)
Jesus made it a priority in His day to set specific time aside to spend with His heavenly Father! (Is this a priority in each of our days? Or, do we give God the scraps, the leftovers of our time after the world has been fed well from our time?!)
What about the posture in which we pray? Does one position signal a more urgent prayer to God than another? Are there angels that monitor what position we are in when we pray and then they relay the message to God? (i.e. If I have my hands clasped together, and then go onto my knees and then end up prostrate, does an angelic being watch this and then signal to God, “Sir, we have an emergency. he’s gone to DEFCON 1, he is on his face, I repeat, DEFCON 1! Do we have permission to engage now sir?”)
Absolutely not, posture is not taught as to how we are to position ourselves to engage the Lord in prayer!
The Bible says to “pray without ceasing”, but it doesn’t say how we to be positioned when that praying all day longs takes place!
I would think that a lot of people would lose their jobs if position was mandatory and we were to pray all day long! (MAKE FUNNY EXAMPLE OF SOMEONE ON THEIR KNEES OR FACE AT WORK AND BEING TOLD TO DO THEIR JOB, AND YET THEY CAN’T STOP THEIR POSITION DUE TO PRAYER!)

I mentioned last week about the unction of prayer and the powerful benefit of praying to God and of how it brings His omnipotent presence into the situation you are praying over and of also when we pray, it releases God’s messengers and warring angels to work on our behalf and for those that we are interceding and praying for!

I asked you then, as I will do again right now, “Why wouldn't you want this power and this army working in the midst of your situation and on your behalf?!”
Are there any of you in here right now that you would say, “I need a miracle of God in my life, or in the life of someone close to me! I need His power and presence and I recognize and admit that He is the only source; there is no other!”
Does this bare witness with any of you? (IF YOU FEE LED AT THIS POINT BY THE LORD, STOP AND PRAY FOR THEM!)

Considering this great and mighty power that we are speaking of, should this be, the prime reason that we pray? In other words, is PRAYER to be established in our lives just so that we can continually intercede and ask for help from Him, or is there something of greater benefit with our time in prayer with the Lord?

C.S. Lewis said this, "God designed the human machine to run on Himself. He Himself is the fuel our spirits were designed to burn, or the food our spirits were designed to feed on. There is no other."
The simple and honest truth is this; our walk with Him, (if we are truly His), is 1 million % dependent on a relationship with Him! And this relationship is not built upon sermons and P&W CD’s, or Christian motivational books and seminars. It is not built on your monthly giving to support your favorite ministry or missionary, it is not even remotely built upon your giving to your home church and your showing up for everything, every time the doors are open! (Not that there is anything wrong with any of these things, in and of themselves; but these do not build your relationship with Him!)
No friends, the simple truth is that your relationship with God and your spirit being fed by His Holy Spirit, is dependent upon your time spent with Him and in intimate prayer time talking to HIM and LISTENING for what HE is wanting to tell you!
David said this in ,
Psalm 139:17–18 ESV
How precious to me are your thoughts, O God! How vast is the sum of them! If I would count them, they are more than the sand. I awake, and I am still with you.
“How precious are your thoughts, O God! How vast is the sum of them!”
Stop and think about this; how would David, (or as far that goes, anyone else), know of the precious thoughts of God and the enumerable state of them, unless he and they were taking the time to speak with God, to pray to God and learn those thoughts?
Prayer, is the one thing that God has said we are to do, which invites Him in to our lives and our circumstances and which invariably brings glory back to His beautiful name, as the world witnesses and watches the wondrous power of our Creator, as He moves and acts on our behalf!!
,
Jeremiah 33:3 ESV
Call to me and I will answer you, and will tell you great and hidden things that you have not known.
How many of us would like for God to tell us some great and mighty things that we do not yet know?!!
You know, earlier today, I was thinking about different passages in the Bible that we use a lot and the meanings that we ascribe to them, and one such passage popped into my head.
We say a lot, that our FAITH is built by the WORD, and we typically back this up from ,
Romans 10:17 ESV
So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.
In this passage, Paul is writing about people not believing, because they have never heard of Him and they have never heard of Him, because no one has taught them, no one taught them, because no one was sent to them.
Then Paul writes the passage we just read. So, in the sense that Paul is addressing, a person’s faith would come by someone sharing the gospel message with them.
The way that many people now refer to and use this passage, is that as CHRISTIANS, our faith is continually built up by the reading of and hearing the word, RIGHT?
Well, one thought that went through my mind today is this: the Greek for WORD, as we refer to the Bible as, is Logos (). However, in this passage, the Greek word that Paul uses is not logos, but rather it is, rhema. Rhema, means: that which has been uttered by the living voice, an active fresh word.
Rhema and logos go hand in hand. A true rhema can only come from the living Logos. So, if you are active in your prayer life and have good communion with God, then you will be much more prone to hear Holy Spirit as He delivers the rhema (that new and fresh word) to you, that will always line up with the living Logos!
So, faith comes from hearing and hearing through the rhema of Christ!
Reading in the Word and then actively praying and listening to Him, will bring new, fresh words to you (that should always line up exactly with the Bible), which in turn, build up your faith! AMEN?!

And so, tonight, we return to the teaching that we started reading in and , where Jesus is giving His disciples a core structure to work from that would guide them into a prayer life with God.

And so, tonight, we return to the teaching that we started reading in and , where Jesus is giving His disciples a core structure to work from that would guide them into a prayer life with God.

In , Jesus is giving the Lord’s Prayer (or more accurately titled, The Disciples Prayer) within the Sermon on the Mount, which is the first of the Five Discourses found in the gospel of Matthew.
,
Matthew 6:9–13 ESV
Pray then like this: “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
This prayer model, is very close to the one that we find in Luke’s gospel in chapter 11, except the Matthean prayer model is longer and given in a different setting than that of Luke’s.
.
Matthew 6:9–13 ESV
Pray then like this: “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
Luke 11:2–4 ESV
And he said to them, “When you pray, say: “Father, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come. Give us each day our daily bread, and forgive us our sins, for we ourselves forgive everyone who is indebted to us. And lead us not into temptation.”
You can see the differences between them, right?
In we read,
Luke 11:1 ESV
Now Jesus was praying in a certain place, and when he finished, one of his disciples said to him, “Lord, teach us to pray, as John taught his disciples.”
You can be sure that the disciples witnessed many times, Jesus praying and going off by Himself to pray. On this occasion, one of them came to Him and asked Him to TEACH (the Greek word, didaskō: to teach, to provide instruction) them to pray.
It was fairly common that religious leaders of that day and time, would teach their followers how to pray and so, here is one of the disciples asking Jesus for this instructional teaching.
It is interesting, that you read of only ONE of them coming and asking Him; verses them all approaching Him. (Maybe this one was elected by them all to be their representative! Maybe they tried to remember what Jesus taught on the Sermon on the Mount and could not quite recall it and they felt bad and so they drew straws over who would go and ask Him!)
Maybe, they felt that the prayer modeled in the Sermon on the Mount was for basically EVERYONE,and they wanted something more private, more exclusive for their being His elect and chosen disciples! (Like Jesus had a secret prayer for the elite that the other people would not know about!)
Which could make sense if you look at it from the angle of the disciple mentioning that John the Baptist had taught his disciples to pray and maybe these disciples of the Christ wanted something that was exclusive to them!
Or, maybe, he just wanted to know how to talk to God, as he had witnessed Jesus’ prayers and he was curious as to what was permitted to say and ask. Maybe he was beginning to see that the religious leaders of that day and time had it all wrong and that God wanted more personal talks with the people!
Whatever the reason, he came and asked Jesus in this passage.
The one disciple coming and asking about how to engage in more meaningful and deeper prayer to God, reminds me of the church today. You see many who say that they pray and that they have a prayer life and they stand in the church crowds praying amongst others, but they truly do no have an intimate prayer life with God, not do they enquire as to how to develop this!
As I mentioned a couple of weeks ago, I have seen and witnessed “Christians” who say that they either do not feel comfortable praying in front of others, or that they just do not know how to pray altogether.
And it is these that should be asking a very similar question as this disciple, “How do I pray?”
And it is here that Jesus returns to the similar structure as He gave in the Matthean account.
It is kind of like He is saying, “Remember guys, I have shown you this before.”
Right after He re-states the model for them, He teaches them of impudence (persistence) as well as the understanding that they should not shy away from going before the Father, as it will be the Father that is sending Holy Spirit to those who ask!
This, of course, being the deepest and most intimate way that the Father could dwell with us, as sinful and “evil” as Jesus put it.
And so, from this point and moving forward, we will be looking at the prayer as Jesus gave us from the Matthean model in the Sermon on the Mount, in .

,

Matthew 6:9 NASB95
“Pray, then, in this way: ‘Our Father who is in heaven, Hallowed be Your name.
To me, one of the most amazing things that we were given through Jesus and His death and resurrection, is that of being adopted in as sons and daughters and thus having the ability to call Jehovah, “our FATHER”!
We begin to know God as the supreme and all powerful God of creation that He is, but also as the very thing that He created us for, fellowship as His children and with the ability to now call Him our FATHER, to cry out, “ABBA”, as sons and daughters!
As one commentary points out, “when God is called ‘Father’ in the Synoptic Gospels the word is always on the lips of Jesus. This is not a commonplace of ancient religion, but a new understanding of the nature of God Jesus taught his disciples.” (Morris, L. (1992). The Gospel according to Matthew (p. 144). Grand Rapids, MI; Leicester, England: W.B. Eerdmans; Inter-Varsity Press.)
We are not talking to some deity that is so very far, far away and incapable of understanding our hearts and our hurts and our wants and our needs! We are talking to our heavenly Father, who has done everything possible to hold onto us and take care of us for eternity!
Morris, L. (1992). The Gospel according to Matthew (p. 144). Grand Rapids, MI; Leicester, England: W.B. Eerdmans; Inter-Varsity Press.
This is what Jesus starts off with in His prayer model is ensuring that we, His disciples, begin to clearly see and know who we are communicating with so that the prayer will be spoken with child-like love and attention.
Morris, L. (1992). The Gospel according to Matthew (p. 144). Grand Rapids, MI; Leicester, England: W.B. Eerdmans; Inter-Varsity Press.
This is your ABBA, your FATHER, who desires His children to come to Him and place their hope and hearts and hands in His with complete faith and trust.
THE PRAYER AND THE CHAIR A woman called a pastor to come to the house to see her father. He goes to the house not knowing whether the man is Christian or not but he notices as he talks to him and the man answers back that he must be a Christian and there is a chair sitting close by. An empty chair. He asks "What's the chair for and the man said, "Well, I'll tell you, but I won't tell my daughter, she'll think I'm crazy. I've always had trouble praying. I knew a man in my early years who said to me, 'All you need to do is put an empty chair in front of you and prayer is nothing more than talking to God. And why don't you imagine God sitting in that chair and you just talk to him.'" And so he said, "I put an empty chair there and started talking to the chair as if God was there and it got so good that I just do it now hours sometime at a time and just talk to God and God talks to me and my soul is blessed by His divine grace." And he said, "If I tell my daughter, she'll think I'm losing my mind." Some months later, the man died. When the Pastor came to visit the family, he said to the daughter, "How did he die? What happened to him?" She said, "Well, the sickness just finally got him. But the strangest way we found him. When I came in, he was dead, but there's a chair sitting beside the bed and I noticed that he had pushed himself out of the bed and put his head in the chair and died there with his head in the chair."
Jesus very quickly, in the same statement, reminds the disciple of the position of their heavenly Father. He is still supreme and all powerful, as reminded by His position to that of ours! (IN HEAVEN!)
The problem with many people today, is that they try to reduce God down to an earthly equal in their prayers and thus, in their minds eye! This is horribly dangerous and destructive, both for their lives, but as well as the lives of those whom they influence.
We need this prayer model to remind us and keep in check, that although we are equal in the eyes of God to one another (Jew, Greek, slave, free, male, female), we are not now, nor will we ever be an equal to Him!
And then Jesus makes the definitive declaration, to make sure that we do not lose sight of His position, not only in the universe, but in our personal lives as well! Jesus says, “HALLOWED BE YOUR NAME.”
This means to make HOLY! Jesus is reminding us of the same thing that God said over a millenium earlier about Himself....HE IS HOLY!
Elohim Kedoshim - Holy God
El HaKadosh - The Holy God
YHVH M'kadesh - The LORD Who Makes Holy
As we have talked about before, the way that a name was used in antiquity, versus the way that we use them nowadays, is light years apart!
Millenniums ago, a name given held all of the character and attributes of that person and that name was carefully selected and given for that reason.
Hence the reason that God didn’t tell Moses, “Just tell them God sent you”, because their were gods all over the land of Egypt and all over the pagan nations!
The name, “I AM THAT I AM”, carries all power, all authority and deity within in for everything and to everyone!
If you remember to keep His name Holy in all that you say and do (prayer life as well as all other aspects), then your heart will develop a proper attitude of Him and as we said last week, when your heart is inclined towards pleasing Him, He is drawn to your heart and your prayers!
In closing tonight with our teaching on prayer, take note that within the Disciple’s Prayer, are six pleas or petitions, as listed by Jesus: the first three are towards God (Hallowed be Your name, Your kingdom come, Your will be done). The next three are towards us: Give us our daily bread, forgive our sins, lead us not into temptation, deliver us from the evil one.
Your desire should always be about exalting and praising Him first with thanksgiving on your heart and then make your petitions known before Him. (Not that He doesn’t already know them!)
OK, so last Wednesday, I gave you guys a little homework project, (pick one thing in specific that you are seeking God about and then find a verse within God’s Word that you feel led to that spea0ks to you about this one prayer petition and read and speak this verse as well as continually praying about this one specific need or re quest). How many here remembered to try this throughout the week?
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