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OUR FATHER

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OUR FATHER

INTRODUCTION:

1. Last week we began a series on prayer & we are learning about a better way to pray.
2. I mentioned last week that many of us have often prayed for weeks, months, and even years for things and have never seen anything change.
And I can guarantee you that the problem isn't with God.
If your prayers aren't being answered, the problem isn't on God's end.
If your needs aren't being met, it's not God's fault.
3. So, it's up to us to evaluate our prayer lives and determine if we are praying correctly.
4. I said last week that prayer alone doesn't change anything…and we know that to be true from our own lives b/c again, we have all prayed for things to change and they didn't change.
But we also know that pagan people love to pray but nothing changes.
False religions love to pray but nothing changes.
So prayer alone does not change anything.
5. I also mentioned last week that Jesus teaches us there is a right and wrong way to pray.
In , Jesus is against hypocritical praying.
He is against those who pray in public to be seen by others and He says that is the only reward they will ever get.
Jesus also warned against using vain repetitions and empty phrases.
Iow's, Jesus warned against praying for long periods of time and repeating yourself over and over again thinking that somehow God is impressed with that.
6. So, tonight we are going to continue in this study and learn a few more truths about prayer.

1) PRAYER ISN'T ABOUT INFORMING GOD OF YOUR NEED

Matthew 6:8 NASB95
“So do not be like them; for your Father knows what you need before you ask Him.
1. God is omniscient…meaning that He knows all things.
God is omniscient…meaning that He knows all things.
He doesn't have to learn anything.
He doesn't get smarter over time.
He doesn't get wiser over time.
He doesn't have to be informed to gain knowledge.
He knows all things in eternity past and He knows everything that will happen in eternity future.
He knows the end from the beginning.
2. And Jesus says, Our Father knows what we have need of before we ever open our mouth to ask.
But we spend a lot of our time in prayer informing God about what's going in our lives as if He didn't already know.
(Prayer is not to inform God how bad your situation is. He already knows what you need—even before you ask!
Have you ever prayed, “Oh God, the doctor said…” and then followed with a detailed rehash of your medical professional’s negative report? God understands the situation better than you do! He doesn’t need to know what your boss, spouse, banker—or anyone else—has said about it. It’s simply not necessary or beneficial to give God a detailed description of your problem!
Many Christians picture in their mind a huge desk in heaven piled high with millions of prayers for God to process. They assume He’s swamped and it might take Him months to get to their request. Therefore, they take it upon themselves to inform God of their urgency, praying, “You need to get to this one quickly!” They hope He’ll then move their request up to the top of the pile and stamp “approved” on it. This mental image and its related attitudes are completely wrong. God is not bogged down, months behind, or unaware of your urgency. Prayer is not to inform “poor, misinformed God” about how bad your situation is!
Because most people are ignorant of this, problems, need, and urgency occupy a large percentage of prayer! If telling God about problems and how bad they are were removed from people’s prayers, not much would be left.
Wommack, Andrew. Better Way to Pray (p. 24). Harrison House LLC. Kindle Edition.)
3. How many of you are guilty of spending a good amount of time in prayer telling God about how bad your problems are?
All of us do it.
But telling God how bad your problems are isn’t really praying.
NOTE: Much of what believers consider praying is nothing more than griping and complaining.
Proverbs 18:21 NASB95
21 Death and life are in the power of the tongue, And those who love it will eat its fruit.
AMP
(Even in “prayer,” your words produce either death or life. Praying God’s solution from the Word releases life, but praying negatively and focusing on your problems only energizes and strengthens them.
Many people who think they’re praying are really just griping, murmuring, and complaining. They are releasing the power of death into their lives through their negativity in prayer.
Wommack, Andrew. Better Way to Pray (p. 25). Harrison House LLC. Kindle Edition.)
NOTE: You can’t spend 20 or 30 minutes talking about how bad things are and rehearsing the problem and being negative and then expect to pray in faith and see results.
You can’t speak death and expect to see life.
You can’t magnify the problem & then expect to pray with any kind of power.
You can’t talk about how big the mountain is…and then think that your mountain is going to move.
In , Jesus said speak to the mountain and believe…and you can have what you say.
Mark 11:23–24 NASB95
23 “Truly I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and cast into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that what he says is going to happen, it will be granted him. 24 “Therefore I say to you, all things for which you pray and ask, believe that you have received them, and they will be granted you.
Mark 11:
NOTE: Jesus doesn’t say talk to God about your mountain…He says talk directly to your mountain.
But we do the exact opposite of what Jesus said do - We talk to God about the mountain.
We start talking to God about how big the mountain is…We start INFORMING God of what the doctor said…and of all the problems that are going on in our lives.
But Jesus said, talk TO THE MOUNTAIN.
So, what does that mean - Talk to the sickness…Talk to the need...
Examples: My headaches…backache, etc.
NOTE: There is a place in prayer for asking…but at times we have to use the authority & power God has given us to command the problems & situations to change.
Our words have power.

2) PRAYER IS ABOUT A RELATIONSHIP

Matthew 6:9 NASB95
9 “Pray, then, in this way: ‘Our Father who is in heaven, Hallowed be Your name.
1. Jesus didn’t intend for what we’ve traditionally called “The Lord’s Prayer” to be recited word for word the way it’s been done some churches.
1. Jesus didn’t intend for what we’ve traditionally called “The Lord’s Prayer” to be recited word for word the way it’s been done some churches.
2. Jesus gave us this prayer as a model for prayer, not something to repeat…He was giving us scriptural principles through this model prayer.
3. And the first thing we notice is that prayer involves a relationship…Prayer is built on a relationship.
4. This prayer begins with the words – “Our Father”
NOTE: Prayer doesn’t work if you don’t have a relationship with God the Father.
If you don’t know Him and if He doesn’t know you, praying is useless.
NOTE: Prayer can only be as effective as your relationship with God is.
Iow’s, if your relationship with God is weak…your prayers and the results you see will be weak.
But if your relationship with God is vibrant & growing…then your prayers and the results you see will be powerful.
NOTE: God doesn’t play favorites, but He does have intimates.
The reason that some Christians experience more blessings than others is b/c they have developed their relationship with God.
They walk with God daily and their relationship with Him is based on more than what God can do more for them.
NOTE: If you want your prayers to be more effective, prayer has to be more about fellowship & intimacy with God…rather than requesting and getting your needs met.
5. As I have already said, God knows our needs…He is Our Father and as a Father, He will take care of our needs.
a. What God wants from us is a relationship…but too often, we want to bypass the relationship and go straight to the blessings…and b/c we have neglected the relationship we’re not experiencing all of the blessings God has for us.
NOTE: God will not force you to fellowship with Him…God will not force you to be close to Him…
That’s why James said, “draw nigh to God, and He will draw nigh to you.”
God wants you to spend time with Him b/c you want to…not b/c you feel like you have to.
NOTE: If you pray b/c you feel like you have to…your praying will not be effective.
If you are praying b/c you feel like it somehow makes God happy…your praying will not be effective.
NOTE: Our motive for praying SHOULD NOT strictly be obedience to God’s Word…Our motive for praying SHOULD BE motivated by love for God.
In fact, doing anything for God should motivated by love…and if it’s not, our obedience means nothing.
6. Prayer doesn’t have to be and shouldn’t be a monologue…it should be a conversation.
a. God is Our Father…and He wants to talk to us.
b. He has an intellect, He has emotions, and He has a will.
c. He expresses anger, He loves, He laughs, He has compassion, He teaches, reproves, and He leads.
d. All of this means that He is a person and He has the ability to communicate.
e. Therefore, prayer should not be a one-way conversation…but rather communication between a Father and His children.
NOTE: Talking to God in prayer is wonderful…but what God has to say is even more important than what you can say to Him.
God knows everything about us…but we need to know more about Him…and that’s what prayer is about.
Prayer is about relationship…Prayer is about getting to know God.
But most of the time, God can’t say anything b/c we’re doing all of the talking.

3) PRAYER SHOULD BEGIN WITH PRAISE AND END WITH PRAISE

Matthew 6:9 NASB95
9 “Pray, then, in this way: ‘Our Father who is in heaven, Hallowed be Your name.
1. Notice the words – “hallowed be Your name”
1. Notice the words – “hallowed be Your name”
a. This has to do with reverencing & honoring God for who He is.
b. These words remind us that He is worthy of praise, adoration, & worship.
c. These words remind us that He deserves all the honor & glory.
Psalm 100:1–4 NASB95
1 Shout joyfully to the Lord, all the earth. 2 Serve the Lord with gladness; Come before Him with joyful singing. 3 Know that the Lord Himself is God; It is He who has made us, and not we ourselves; We are His people and the sheep of His pasture. 4 Enter His gates with thanksgiving And His courts with praise. Give thanks to Him, bless His name.
NOTE: Begin prayer by entering into His presence thanking, praising, and blessing Him.
NOTE: Begin prayer by entering into His presence thanking, praising, and blessing Him.
Enter into His presence singing, praising, and worshiping Him.
Enter into His presence reminding yourself of His goodness and mercy
Enter into His presence thankful for all that He has done for you.
NOTE: You don’t have to come to Him focusing on your unworthiness but thanking Him for His goodness.
Thank Him for being a good Father.
Thank Him for loving you.
Thank Him for sending JC to die for your sins to make the relationship possible.
Tell God how great He is…and how wonderful He is.
Praise Him for WHO He is.
He’s My Rock…My Refuge…My Strength…My Provider…My Healer…My Ever-present Help in time of trouble…etc.
Read the Psalms for help on how to praise.
Matthew 6:13 NASB95
13 ‘And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.’
2. Jesus started with praise and ended with praise.
2. Jesus started with praise and ended with praise.
NOTE: If we prayed this way, we would find that we really don’t have that much to ask God for.
Also, when we praise God, we make God bigger than our problem.
NOTE: Whatever you focus on will magnify in your eyes.
If you focus on the problem, it will grow.
But if you focus on God (who is your solution), your vision of Him will increase.
Will you choose to magnify God or your problem?
The one you magnify will grow stronger in your life and the other weaker.
NOTE: A great amount of your prayer ought to be praise!
Praise is important b/c it blesses God and strengthens you.
Also, God inhabits the praises of His people ()
Psalm 22:3 KJV 1900
3 But thou art holy, O thou that inhabitest the praises of Israel.
NOTE: Prayer is worship and worship is prayer.
Prayer is worship and worship is prayer.

CONCLUSION:

1. Prayer doesn’t have to be as difficult as we have made it out to be.
2. Prayer can be easy and we can be effective at prayer.
3. So, this week as you pray remember that you are praying to your heavenly Father.
a. Approach Him worshipfully
b. Approach Him confidently
Let’s pray!!!
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