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Pray Continually

Spiritual Habits  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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Jesus taught that the most effective prayers are simple and heartfelt.

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Spiritual Habits (2 o 4)
Sunday AM, January 14, 2018
Booneville First United Methodist Church
Big Idea of the Message: Jesus taught that the most effective prayers are simple and heartfelt.
Application Point: When we pray, we should talk honestly with God.
5 “When you pray, don’t be like hypocrites. They love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners so that people will see them. I assure you, that’s the only reward they’ll get. 6 But when you pray, go to your room, shut the door, and pray to your Father who is present in that secret place. Your Father who sees what you do in secret will reward you.
Proper prayer
7 “When you pray, don’t pour out a flood of empty words, as the Gentiles do. They think that by saying many words they’ll be heard. 8 Don’t be like them, because your Father knows what you need before you ask. 9 Pray like this:
Our Father who is in heaven,
uphold the holiness of your name.
10 Bring in your kingdom
so that your will is done on earth
as it’s done in heaven.
11 Give us the bread we need for today.
12 Forgive us for the ways we have wronged you,
just as we also forgive those
who have wronged us.
13 And don’t lead us into temptation,
but rescue us from the evil one.
14 “If you forgive others their sins, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15 But if you don’t forgive others, neither will your Father forgive your sins.
1. Have you ever tried to communicate via walkie-talkie with someone who doesn’t really know how they work? They might not hold down the button long enough before they start to talk, so you miss part of what they are saying. Or, worse yet, they might hold down their button the entire time, cutting off the ability to hear what you have to say at all. It’s not a very effective way to communicate! We tend to treat prayer like a one-way conversation where we talk and God listens, and we are the ones holding down the button on the walkie-talkie the entire time! It’s helpful to know how prayer is supposed to work. Biblical examples of prayer include not only petition and thanksgiving, but also asking questions, listening, and God answering. In order to hear God respond in prayer we have to be listening by reading the Bible regularly and quieting our hearts. You might use a pair of walkie-talkies to illustrate this point.
John Wesley: God does nothing but by prayer, and everything with it.
Problem #1 What do I say?
2. Jesus encourages us in this passage to not pray lengthy or fancy prayers, thinking our eloquence will get God’s attention. We can pray honestly and simply, just like a child does.
John Wesley: I have so much to do that I spend several hours in prayer before I am able to do it.
Problem #2 When do I pray?
3. Paul instructs us to “pray continually” (). One way to think about this kind of praying is to have an ongoing conversation with God. To illustrate this ongoing kind of prayer, consider interjecting several short prayers into your sermon (perhaps after every major point). You don’t necessarily need to have everyone bow their heads, close their eyes, and say “Amen,” but you can just naturally include conversation toward God and with God into your message by praying throughout the sermon points/application, giving thanks or making a petition.
God's command to "pray without ceasing" is founded on the necessity we have of His grace to preserve the life of God in the soul, which can no more subsist one moment without it, than the body can without air. – John Wesley
Common English Bible. (2011). (). Nashville, TN: Common English Bible.
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