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Spiritual Disciplines: Prayer to God in Community

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Spiritual Disciplines - Prayer to God in Community

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Why We Pray in Community

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Before we can begin really talking about how we pray in community, I have to show you the importance of it    
Because I can talk all day long about it but if you do not see its importance in your life and relationship with the LORD and your fellow believers, this will always fall on deaf ears
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Mind you, this is not a comprehensive list, (despite the fact that is how I would normally prefer to handle a topic like this; just bombard you with every scripture regarding the topic so there is no guess as to whether we should or shouldn't) but rather because of how we are doing this service, this is a quick look at 3 really important scriptures on the topic before we do the how

Acts 1:12–14 CSB
12 Then they returned to Jerusalem from the Mount of Olives, which is near Jerusalem—a Sabbath day’s journey away. 13 When they arrived, they went to the room upstairs where they were staying: Peter, John, James, Andrew, Philip, Thomas, Bartholomew, Matthew, James the son of Alphaeus, Simon the Zealot, and Judas the son of James. 14 They all were continually united in prayer, along with the women, including Mary the mother of Jesus, and his brothers.
This moment is just after the Ascension of Christ where the Disciples are waiting in Jerusalem as Jesus told them not to leave without receiving the Holy Spirit
We see the Disciples return to the Upper room and we see

“They were continually united in prayer” -

The Disciples as we see, not just here but in other texts we are going to look at, saw the value of being united together in prayer to the LORD

Acts 2:41–47 CSB
41 So those who accepted his message were baptized, and that day about three thousand people were added to them. 42 They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching, to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread, and to prayer. 43 Everyone was filled with awe, and many wonders and signs were being performed through the apostles. 44 Now all the believers were together and held all things in common. 45 They sold their possessions and property and distributed the proceeds to all, as any had need. 46 Every day they devoted themselves to meeting together in the temple, and broke bread from house to house. They ate their food with joyful and sincere hearts, 47 praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. Every day the Lord added to their number those who were being saved.
Acts 2:12–14 ESV
And all were amazed and perplexed, saying to one another, “What does this mean?” But others mocking said, “They are filled with new wine.” But Peter, standing with the eleven, lifted up his voice and addressed them: “Men of Judea and all who dwell in Jerusalem, let this be known to you, and give ear to my words.
Here we see the Church expanding and growing after Pentecost and it says:

“They devoted themselves…to prayer”

Acts 2:41–47 CSB
41 So those who accepted his message were baptized, and that day about three thousand people were added to them. 42 They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching, to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread, and to prayer. 43 Everyone was filled with awe, and many wonders and signs were being performed through the apostles. 44 Now all the believers were together and held all things in common. 45 They sold their possessions and property and distributed the proceeds to all, as any had need. 46 Every day they devoted themselves to meeting together in the temple, and broke bread from house to house. They ate their food with joyful and sincere hearts, 47 praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. Every day the Lord added to their number those who were being saved.
Acts 2:42–47 CSB
42 They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching, to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread, and to prayer. 43 Everyone was filled with awe, and many wonders and signs were being performed through the apostles. 44 Now all the believers were together and held all things in common. 45 They sold their possessions and property and distributed the proceeds to all, as any had need. 46 Every day they devoted themselves to meeting together in the temple, and broke bread from house to house. They ate their food with joyful and sincere hearts, 47 praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. Every day the Lord added to their number those who were being saved.
Acts 2:42–47 CSB
42 They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching, to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread, and to prayer. 43 Everyone was filled with awe, and many wonders and signs were being performed through the apostles. 44 Now all the believers were together and held all things in common. 45 They sold their possessions and property and distributed the proceeds to all, as any had need. 46 Every day they devoted themselves to meeting together in the temple, and broke bread from house to house. They ate their food with joyful and sincere hearts, 47 praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. Every day the Lord added to their number those who were being saved.
Acts 2:43–47 CSB
43 Everyone was filled with awe, and many wonders and signs were being performed through the apostles. 44 Now all the believers were together and held all things in common. 45 They sold their possessions and property and distributed the proceeds to all, as any had need. 46 Every day they devoted themselves to meeting together in the temple, and broke bread from house to house. They ate their food with joyful and sincere hearts, 47 praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. Every day the Lord added to their number those who were being saved.
Not only that but continue looking in that passage....
All believers were together
Held all things in common
Devoted themselves to meeting together
Do we not see the unity of the earlier Church here so clearly and the results of it!?

Acts 4:23–31 CSB
After they were released, they went to their own people and reported everything the chief priests and the elders had said to them. When they heard this, they raised their voices together to God and said, “Master, you are the one who made the heaven, the earth, and the sea, and everything in them. You said through the Holy Spirit, by the mouth of our father David your servant: Why do the Gentiles rage and the peoples plot futile things? The kings of the earth take their stand and the rulers assemble together against the Lord and against his Messiah. “For, in fact, in this city both Herod and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles and the people of Israel, assembled together against your holy servant Jesus, whom you anointed, to do whatever your hand and your will had predestined to take place. And now, Lord, consider their threats, and grant that your servants may speak your word with all boldness, while you stretch out your hand for healing, and signs and wonders are performed through the name of your holy servant Jesus.” When they had prayed, the place where they were assembled was shaken, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak the word of God boldly.
Here is another reason we see why we are called to pray in community to God
This moment is right after Peter and John are arrested and brought before the rulers and the High Priest for healing in the name of Christ
After being released, they go back with the other believers and we see what we just read
So it was after being arrested by the same authorities that arrested and crucified Jesus that the believers come together to pray
And what was the result of their prayers?
The place where they were was shaken and they again began to speak and preach the name of Christ with boldness

How We Pray in Community

So let’s for a second talk about practicality, the HOW of the thing
Because if you’re like most people praying in a group can be
Awkward
Non-fulfilling
Distracting
Terrifying
Not knowing what to say!
Afraid to say something wrong or sound “dumb”
We know Jesus “taught” the disciples how to pray like here in Matthew:

Matthew 6:9–15 CSB
“Therefore, you should pray like this: Our Father in heaven, your name be honored as holy. Your kingdom come. Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And do not bring us into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one. “For if you forgive others their offenses, your heavenly Father will forgive you as well. But if you don’t forgive others, your Father will not forgive your offenses.
Matthew 6:9–15 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. For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.
Matthew 6:9–13 CSB
“Therefore, you should pray like this: Our Father in heaven, your name be honored as holy. Your kingdom come. Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And do not bring us into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.
So let’s for a second talk about practicality, the HOW of the thing
Because if you’re like most people praying in a group can be
Awkward
Non-fulfilling
Distracting
Terrifying
Not knowing what to say!
Afraid to say something wrong or sound “dumb”
And honestly, that’s much more normal than you would think
We know that, but other than just repeating that word for word sometimes we feel really uncomfortable in praying
And honestly, that’s much more normal than you would think
We just saw and read the text in Matthew where Jesus is speaking to the crowds but check out this passage later on in Jesus ministry

Luke 11:1–4 CSB
He was praying in a certain place, and when he finished, one of his disciples said to him, “Lord, teach us to pray, just as John also taught his disciples.” He said to them, “Whenever you pray, say, Father, your name be honored as holy. Your kingdom come. Give us each day our daily bread. And forgive us our sins, for we ourselves also forgive everyone in debt to us. And do not bring us into temptation.”
I hope you caught that part.... “Lord teach us how to pray”
Even the disciples had the questions on pray and how to do it
We see this is really a common desire that people want to pray but sometimes feel intimidated by it especially in a group/community setting
So here is then the issue, we are seeing something we are called to in scripture as something we should do but can be and usually are afraid to do it
This is where we are going to get really practical
Today is going to look a little different because this sermon is going to end shortly and as will the service
The reason being is because we are going to have a time for those of you who would like to stay, we are going to pray together
But before that, I am going to walk us through and explain why the LORD’s Prayer is so important
Matthew 6:9–13 CSB
“Therefore, you should pray like this: Our Father in heaven, your name be honored as holy. Your kingdom come. Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And do not bring us into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.
Pray Like This
Before we start in on how to pray through the LORD’s Prayer let’s talk about the intent of the LORD’s Prayer
It was never ment to be repeated mindlessly before a meal or before sporting events simply as a thing you just do
Reason being notice Jesus says pray LIKE this
Not just, pray this
This is a MODEL for how to pray, not a script for WHAT to pray
Now is it bad to pray these exact words, no absolutely not
There is an immense power behind praying through this when you know the importance of each and every word chosen by Christ in this model
So hopefully when we walk through this, it will open our eyes to some things we may not have thought of and be a useful instruction into how we are to pray as Christians
Our Father
Notice first that Jesus begins assuming prayer in community by saying “Our”
Also we see Him use the name “Father”
What this implies is the relational factor we are to take as we pray
Jesus could have instructed us to say “Our Holy God” or “Our Righteous Judge” or “Our Perfect Creator”
All of these are biblically speaking accurate depictions of an aspect of God and His character
But Jesus specifically said “Father”
The relationship that implies of us being a child of God
Your Name be Honored as Holy
All of us have likely memorized this prayer and said it a million times over but how many of us have stopped and pondered what exactly it means when we say “hallowed be your name” ?
To have the name of the LORD hallowed is to have it as sacred or holy
Holy being completely set apart
So when we pray we are addressing God as our Father and yet there is this reverence and holiness in which we are to regard the name that we just spoke of as a child
That while yes we as Christians are children of God but we also children of God
Your Kingdom Come, Your Will be Done on Earth as it is in Heaven
So when we pray, we are praying for God to accomplish His will in the situation
We are praying that the LORD would further His Kingdom through the situation
We pray that God would show Himself sovereign in the situation just as His will is done in heaven and earth
Give Us Today Our Daily Bread
We see that we should be praying for provision FROM the LORD
We also recognize that this provision is daily
That we might see day to day His practical provision of things but also the spiritual provision provided in His Word as we seek Him daily in it
Forgive Us Our Debts as We Also Have Forgiven Our Debtors
Here we see that in our prayers we are to pray for:
Repentance (which overflows into)
Forgiveness
That when are praying to our Father who is God alone, our Father who’s will is always accomplished, our Father who provides daily our needs...
That we recognize our sinfulness as compared to His perfection
We see that we never come before Him in pride but in daily repentance
Daily because you can’t ask for daily bread once a month....that’s called starvation
We also see that our repentance is to overflow into our forgiveness of others
And I would argue its not true repentance if it doesn’t!
You can only forgive people especially the ones who hurt you most when you realize just how much the LORD has forgiven you of
Do Not Bring us into Temptation But Deliver Us From the Evil One
Lastly, we see that we are to see the LORD as our shelter, our refuge from sin
We do not pray that we would deliver ourselves because we have no ability to do that!
We see that our Father is the one we lean on when temptation comes, our Father is the one who we seek when sin comes our way
So with that being said we are going to move from here and begin to end our service today.
Ill say this, after service is done if you would like to stick around we are going to have a brief time of pray. Will you have to pray aloud in front of everyone, no but if you want to stick around and see what it will be like or be a part of something for the first time come see us afterwards
And if you are in this room and you are not a Christian, come up to either me, my wife and we would love to talk with you about what it means to be a Christian and what is meant when we say in the LORD’s prayer, forgive my debts.
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