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Deepening our Worship through Prayer

The Ways of Worship  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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We can deepen our worship through praying according to God's will

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Our worship can be deepened when we actually pray ()

Explanation: Several times (, , , ) the expectation is given that believers actually spend time in prayer. Jesus repeats the phrase “when you pray” three times, and in v. 9 He says, “Pray this way.” The stress is placed on the believer’s expected response. This is very clear, and requires no deep or developed examination to determine the what the text is stating. Jesus expects His people to pray!
Argument: We all have the same amount of time in a day. And, we choose where to spend our time. The old saying is true: “if you are too busy to pray, you are too busy.” Jesus Himself modeled time spent in prayer, and if the Son of God prayed, then we as His followers definitely need to even more so!
Application: Determine to spend time with the Master. Rearrange your schedule, stop doing something if necessary, but make prayer a priority. Set up a time to meet with God and then actually meet with Him. A famous quote on prayer is “We can do a lot of things after we pray, but we can do nothing unless we pray.”

Our worship is not deepened when we pray incorrectly (:b, 7a)

Explanation: As mentioned last Sunday, we can be guilty of offering unacceptable worship. To be acceptable, our worship must be in spirit and in truth (). In a similar manner, our prayer life is to meet God’s standards. Jesus tells His disciples they are not to use prayer for public recognition or for a magic charm.
Illustrate: a conversation between a husband and wife. “O Most favored and beloved wife, I beseech thee to pardon mine transgression in the matter of mine soiled garments, and, Most favored and beloved wife, I seek thy favor in regards to thine preparations for the breaking of mine fast.”
Argument: Prayer is spending time with the Master. It is the talking with and listening to the One who knows all about us. The reward is not the getting of something by a prayer strategy or prepared words, it should be the pleasure of knowing better the One who is worthy of our worship.
Application: Simply talk with God. Spend time with Him. Go to your prayer closet - make it an actual place where no one else is, so you can be yourself.

Our worship is deepened when we seek the will of the Father ()

Explanation: Jesus taught His disciples to seek the will of the Father as the primary starting point. This is the Way of the Master, this is the Way to Worship; seeking what is on God’s heart. Jesus taught the life of a disciple is to deny himself and follow the One who called him or her. Too often we bypass the time needed to discern the Voice of the Master, and we jump to our grocery list of perceived needs.
Argument: Pray is not designed as a tool for us to get what we think we need or want from God. Rather, prayer is designed to bring us into the Presence of God Himself. As we spend time with Him, we learn more about Him and His agenda. George Mueller once stated that focusing on His will and not our own is 90% of the struggle we have in our prayer life.
Application: Spend the first moments of your prayer time focusing on praising God for who He is (look at v. 9 - Hallowed be your Name). Before we jump to our own agenda, ask God to reveal His.

Our worship is deepened when we trust God ()

Explanation: Jesus does tell us to ask the Father for our physical needs to be met. We our to ask for “daily bread.” We are dependent creations, and as such, we must understand and confess our neediness. We do not simply take care of ourselves, we are not self-made humans who provide for ourselves. Even though Jesus had just declared the Father knows our needs before we ask (v. 8), He still tells us to ask.
Argument: Prayer is not a guessing game with the Almighty. He is not toying with us to see if we can somehow figure out what we should ask for. For the believer, asking the Father to meet our needs is a sign of gratitude and dependence. While the secular humanists may think they do things for themselves, and may actually believe that God doesn’t exist, but as His sheep, we should never be guilty of failing to acknowledge His goodness to us by the very next breath we are allowed to have.
In the next section of the Sermon, Jesus gives another emphasis towards trusting God in prayer. He tells us to ASK, SEEK, and KNOCK. He tells us that if we do this, we will receive, find, and have the way opened. Scripture also tells us that “we have not because we ask not.” (). The very next verse declares the reason that we do not receive what we ask for - we ask with the wrong motives. ()
Example: Don McIntyre and Camp McDaniel. The camp is operational and was built debt free in 18 months. Pastor Don prayed for specific things and in specific ways with the end result of God receiving the glory. There is no earthly way to explain the creation of this camp apart from the miraculous providence of God.
Application: In the proper sequence of prayer, asking God to provide is a great way to acknowledge Him and to deepen our relationship. Also, when is the last time you asked God to do something specific in which the result would be for His glory?

Our worship is deepened when we forgive others ()

Explanation: Jesus also tells the disciples to pray in a specific manner in relation to sin debts. We are to ask and seek forgiveness from God (v. 12a) AND we are to forgive those who have sinned against us (v. 12b). This is not an option, it is a requirement. And just in case we breeze past it, Jesus emphasizes the need for us to forgive our fellow man in vv. 14&15.
Argument: It is not possible to love God and hate our brother or sister at the same time () When we love the Father, and we have even a limited understanding of the sin for which He is forgiving, we can extend that same forgiveness to those who have sinned against us.
Application: This is a difficult situation, but not an impossible one. While it is humanly impossible for us to forgive others for their sins against us, it is not impossible for the Holy Spirit dwelling within us to forgive them. We must be surrendered to the Spirit for this to take place, but it can be done, and when it takes place, God receives the glory!
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