What to pray
Ushers will collect Prayer cards during the first hymn.
Call to Worship
You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.
For God is Spirit, so those who worship him must worship in spirit and in truth.
*Praise # 508 “I Gave My Life for Thee” (note: repeat last line for each stanza)
*Invocation (Lord’s Prayer) We give you all praise, God of salvation. We come with devotion to you Christ our redeemer. We honor you, Holy Spirit, our source of encouragement; One God who sustains us with your love and your presence. Hear our words of reverence as we bow down before you. Grace us with your presence that we may learn of your way. Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name, Thy Kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom and the power, and the glory, forever. Amen
*Gloria Patri (Sung together)
*Psalm for Today Psalm 124 (NLT) What if the Lord had not been on our side? Let all Israel repeat: What if the Lord had not been on our side when people attacked us? They would have swallowed us alive in their burning anger. The waters would have engulfed us; a torrent would have overwhelmed us. Yes, the raging waters of their fury would have overwhelmed our very lives. Praise the Lord, who did not let their teeth tear us apart! We escaped like a bird from a hunter’s trap. The trap is broken, and we are free! Our help is from the Lord, who made heaven and earth.
Our Offering to God So, my dear brothers and sisters, be strong and steady, always enthusiastic about the Lord’s work, for you know that nothing you do for the Lord is ever useless. *Doxology *Prayer of Dedication Searching God, let us see you in the mirror of your Word and see you reflected in the faces of need around us, as we give to make a difference and live to go about doing good in Jesus’ name. Scripture Reading Romans 12:1-8 (NLT) And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him. 2 Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.
3 Because of the privilege and authority God has given me, I give each of you this warning: Don’t think you are better than you really are. Be honest in your evaluation of yourselves, measuring yourselves by the faith God has given us. 4 Just as our bodies have many parts and each part has a special function, 5 so it is with Christ’s body. We are many parts of one body, and we all belong to each other.
6 In his grace, God has given us different gifts for doing certain things well. So if God has given you the ability to prophesy, speak out with as much faith as God has given you. 7 If your gift is serving others, serve them well. If you are a teacher, teach well. 8 If your gift is to encourage others, be encouraging. If it is giving, give generously. If God has given you leadership ability, take the responsibility seriously. And if you have a gift for showing kindness to others, do it gladly.
*Hymn of Praye r # 431 “Come, My Soul, Your Plea Prepare”
Pastoral Prayer (praying scripture) Psalm 138
I give you thanks, O Lord, with all my heart; I will sing your praises before the gods. I bow before your holy Temple as I worship. I praise your name for your unfailing love and faithfulness; for your promises are backed by all the honor of your name. As soon as I pray, you answer me; you encourage me by giving me strength.
Every king in all the earth will thank you, Lord, for all of them will hear your words. Yes, they will sing about the Lord’s ways, for the glory of the Lord is very great.
Though the Lord is great, he cares for the humble, but he keeps his distance from the proud.
Though I am surrounded by troubles, you will protect me from the anger of my enemies. You reach out your hand, and the power of your right hand saves me. The Lord will work out his plans for my life—for your faithful love, O Lord, endures forever.
Don’t abandon me, for you made me.
Lord, in so many ways you reveal yourself to us, though we do not always recognize you. We desire to learn more about you through the life, death, and resurrection of your Son, Jesus Christ. Thank you for the witness and testimony of others, may you keep our witness pure. Open our hearts and minds to know more about your action in our lives each day. Help us to see you more clearly in order that we might follow you more nearly. AMEN.
*Hymn of Praise # 81 “Blessed Be the Name”
Scripture Matthew 16:13-20 (NLT)
13 When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?”
14 “Well,” they replied, “some say John the Baptist, some say Elijah, and others say Jeremiah or one of the other prophets.”
15 Then he asked them, “But who do you say I am?”
16 Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.”
17 Jesus replied, “You are blessed, Simon son of John, because my Father in heaven has revealed this to you. You did not learn this from any human being. 18 Now I say to you that you are Peter (which means ‘rock’), and upon this rock I will build my church, and all the powers of hell will not conquer it. 19 And I will give you the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven. Whatever you forbid on earth will be forbidden in heaven, and whatever you permit on earth will be permitted in heaven.”
20 Then he sternly warned the disciples not to tell anyone that he was the Messiah.
Message What to Pray
It would be impossible for me to overemphasize the importance of prayer.
No spiritual activity is greater in significance or in consequence, or more relevant to our daily lives.
What a profound, mysterious thing prayer is: our personal means of communication with the One who spoke the worlds into existence.
Where do we begin to explore this priceless spiritual privilege that God has given us? The answer that comes most readily to mind is to look first to Jesus. What did He say about prayer that can equip us for making the most of this vital commitment?
First, Jesus praised God; then he made his requests. Praising God first puts us in the right frame of mind to tell him about our needs. / Too often our prayers are more like shopping lists than conversations. / Luke 11:1 tells us how one day 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 also taught his disciples.”
This disciple, whoever he was, had observed the prayer life of Jesus and he made one of the most important requests any believer can put before the Lord: Teach us to pray.
This was a wise request, because effectiveness in the Christian life is inseparably connected to one’s effectiveness in prayer.
Prayer is an absolute necessity, for it is to the spiritual dimension what breathing is to the physical. How long could you manage without breathing?
Fortunately, Jesus answered the disciple’s request. In Matthew’s Gospel (Matt. 6:9-13) we read a fuller account of what He said:
“Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.” This is often called “the Lord’s Prayer,” although a more appropriate term would be “the Disciple’s Prayer” since it is a pattern intended to teach us how to pray in the will of God.
Jesus did not give this prayer to us to be memorized and recited a given number of times. In fact, He gave this prayer to keep us from using vain repetitions. Jesus did not say, “Pray in these words.” He said, “Pray after this manner”; that is, “Use this prayer as a pattern, not as a substitute.”
The purpose of prayer is to glorify God’s name, and to ask for help to accomplish His will on earth. This prayer begins with God’s interests, not ours: God’s name, God’s kingdom, and God’s will. Robert Law has said, “Prayer is a mighty instrument, not for getting man’s will done in heaven, but for getting God’s will done in earth.” We have no right to ask God for anything that will dishonor His name, delay His kingdom, or disturb His will on earth.
There are no singular pronouns in this prayer; they are all plural. It begins with “OUR Father.” When we pray, we must remember that we are part of God’s worldwide family of believers. We have no right to ask for ourselves anything that would harm another member of the family. If we are praying in the will of God, the answer will be a blessing to all of God’s people in one way or another.
If we put God’s concerns first, then we can bring our own needs. God is concerned about our needs and knows them even before we mention them (Matt. 6:8). If this is the case, then why pray? Because prayer is the God-appointed way to have these needs met (see James 4:1–3). Prayer prepares us for the proper use of the answer. If we know our need, and if we voice it to God, trusting Him for His provision, then we will make better use of the answer than if God forced it on us without our asking.
It is right to pray for daily physical needs, for forgiveness, and for guidance and protection from evil. “Lead us not into temptation” does not mean that God tempts His children (James 1:13–17). In this petition we are asking God to guide us so that we will not get out of His will and get involved in a situation of temptation (1 John 5:18), or even in a situation of tempting God so that He must miraculously rescue us (Matt. 4:5–7).
We must pray, having a forgiving spirit toward others (vv. 14–15). Jesus was not teaching that believers earned God’s forgiveness by forgiving others; for this would be contrary to God’s free grace and mercy. However, if we have truly experienced God’s forgiveness, then we will have a readiness to forgive others (Eph. 4:32; Col. 3:13). Our Lord illustrated this principle in the Parable of the Unmerciful Servant (Matt. 18:21–35).
True praying is a “family affair” (“Our Father”). If the members of the family are not getting along with one another, how can they claim to have a right relationship with the Father? The emphasis in 1 John 4 is that we show our love for God by loving our brothers. When we forgive each other, we are not earning the right to prayer; for the privilege of prayer is a part of our sonship (Rom. 8:15–16). Forgiveness belongs to the matter of fellowship: If I am not in fellowship with God, I cannot pray effectively. But fellowship with my brother helps to determine my fellowship with God; hence, forgiveness is important to prayer.
Since prayer involves glorifying God’s name, hastening the coming of God’s kingdom (2 Peter 3:12), and helping to accomplish God’s will on earth, the one praying must not have sin in his heart. If God answered the prayers of a believer who had an unforgiving spirit, He would dishonor His own name. How could God work through such a person to get His will done on earth? If God gave him his requests, He would be encouraging sin! The important thing about prayer is not simply getting an answer, but being the kind of person whom God can trust with an answer.
The phrase “Our Father in heaven” indicates that God is not only majestic and holy but also personal and loving. The first line of this model prayer is a statement of praise and a commitment to honor God’s holy name. We can honor God’s name by being careful to use it respectfully. If we use God’s name lightly, we aren’t remembering God’s holiness. / The phrase “May your kingdom come soon” is a reference to God’s spiritual reign, not Israel’s freedom from Rome. God’s Kingdom was announced in the covenant with Abraham (8:11; Luke 13:28), is present in Christ’s reign in believers’ hearts (Luke 17:21), and will be complete when all evil is destroyed and God establishes the new heaven and earth (Revelation 21:1). / When we pray “May your will be done,” we are not resigning ourselves to fate but praying that God’s perfect purpose will be accomplished in this world as well as in the next. / When we pray “Give us our food for today,” we are acknowledging that God is our sustainer and provider. It is a misconception to think that we provide for our needs ourselves. We must trust God daily to provide what he knows we need. / God sometimes allows us to be tested by temptation. As disciples, we should pray to be delivered from these trying times and for deliverance from Satan (“the evil one”) and his deceit. All Christians struggle with temptation. Sometimes it is so subtle that we don’t even realize what is happening to us. God has promised that he won’t allow us to be tempted beyond what we can bear (1 Corinthians 10:13). Ask God to help you recognize temptation and to give you strength to overcome it and choose God’s way instead. / Jesus gives a startling warning about forgiveness: If we refuse to forgive others, God will also refuse to forgive us. Why? Because when we don’t forgive others, we are denying our common ground as sinners in need of God’s forgiveness. God’s forgiveness of sin is not the direct result of our forgiving others, but it is based on our realizing what forgiveness means (see Ephesians 4:32). It is easy to ask God for forgiveness but difficult to grant it to others. Whenever we ask God to forgive us for sin, we should ask, Have I forgiven the people who have wronged me?
This prayer is a model for us to follow, not just a form for us to recite./////
Our main question today centers on what to pray. Here is the answer...
1. Pray to the Father.
– “Our Father” is such a rich, two-fold expression. The word “Our” reminds us of the relationship that we share with other Christians.
The word “Father” reminds us of our relationship to God. – This model prayer contains no personal pronouns in the singular form.
– This is a family prayer, involving the Father in heaven and His children on earth.
As members of this family we must want what the Father wants because His name is “hallowed”—it is holy and honored.
Prayer starts with respect for the Father, not the requests of the Father’s children.
2. Pray for God’s Kingdom to Come and His Will to be Done. – We are to pray that God’s kingdom would come and that His will would be done.
– His desire must be our desire; and if it is any other way, we are the ones who need realignment.
– Anything in our praying that does not advance God’s kingdom or glorify His name is against His will.
– We must not lose sight of the fact that Jesus came for one purpose only: to do the will of the Father.
He reminded the disciples of this repeatedly because He wanted them to understand that it was their purpose as well—as it is for us as disciples today.
3. Pray for God’s Provision.
– God’s concerns take precedence over our concerns.
– As we grow in spiritual maturity and learn more of what it means to seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, our requests in prayer change.
– God is concerned about the needs we have, but He wants us to see those needs in the context of higher purposes.
– Because He loves us, He will provide for us, meeting our needs day by day.
– In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus taught the essential practices of asking, seeking and knocking in prayer. Keep on asking, and you will be given what you ask for. Keep on looking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened. 8For everyone who asks, receives. Everyone who seeks, finds. And the door is opened to everyone who knocks. (Matthew 7:7-8) Jesus tells us to persist in pursuing God. People often give up after a few halfhearted efforts and conclude that God cannot be found. But knowing God takes faith, focus, and follow-through, and Jesus assures us that we will be rewarded. Don’t give up in your efforts to seek God. Continue to ask him for more knowledge, patience, wisdom, love, and understanding. He will give them to you.
– Jesus then gave an illustration and a promise: The children in Jesus’ example asked their father for bread and fish—good and necessary items. If the children had asked for a poisonous snake, would the wise father have granted the request? Sometimes God knows we are praying for “snakes” and does not give us what we ask for, even though we persist in our prayers. As we learn to know God better as a loving Father, we learn to ask for what is good for us, and then he grants it.
if earthly fathers know how to give good things to their children, how much more does our Father in heaven give good things to us! (Matthew 7:9-11)
– From His eternal riches He will faithfully supply our “daily bread” and meet all of our needs.
4. Pray for God’s Forgiveness.
– To pray, “Forgive us our debts…” is similar to praying, “Forgive us our sins….”
– The word translated “debt” in our English Bible refers to an obligation that has been incurred, either by a sin of omission or commission.
– For these obligations to be “forgiven” is for them to be cancelled.
– The emphasis in this part of the Lord’s Prayer is on the necessity of our forgiving one another.
– This verse is not referring to the forgiveness that leads to salvation, but the forgiveness that leads to harmony within the family of God. If we are not forgiving toward one another we cannot live in fellowship with one another or with the Lord.
– Thankfully, as John wrote in his first epistle, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9) Confession is supposed to free us to enjoy fellowship with Christ. It should ease our consciences and lighten our cares. But some Christians do not understand how it works. They feel so guilty that they confess the same sins over and over; then they wonder if they might have forgotten something. Other Christians believe that God forgives them when they confess, but if they died with unconfessed sins, they would be forever lost. These Christians do not understand that God wants to forgive us. He allowed his beloved Son to die just so he could offer us pardon. When we come to Christ, he forgives all the sins we have committed or will ever commit. We don’t need to confess the sins of the past all over again, and we don’t need to fear that God will reject us if we don’t keep our slate perfectly clean. Of course we should continue to confess our sins, but not because failure to do so will make us lose our salvation. Our relationship with Christ is secure. Instead, we should confess so that we can enjoy maximum fellowship and joy with him.
True confession also involves a commitment not to continue in sin. We wouldn’t be genuinely confessing our sins to God if we planned to commit them again and just wanted temporary forgiveness. We should also pray for strength to defeat temptation the next time we face it.
If God has forgiven us for our sins because of Christ’s death, why must we confess our sins? In admitting our sins and receiving Christ’s cleansing, we are (1) agreeing with God that our sin truly is sin and that we are willing to turn from it, (2) ensuring that we don’t conceal our sins from him and consequently from ourselves, and (3) recognizing our tendency to sin and relying on his power to overcome it.
5. Pray for God’s Deliverance.
– The concluding phrase of Christ’s model prayer says, “And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.”
– This secular world in which we live is under the influence of Satan and his demonic agents. He is the “evil” to whom this prayer refers, and it is from him that we pray to be delivered.
-As long as we live in this world we will be subjected to temptations and trials, but God will enable us to resist and withstand whatever comes against us.
– The battle in which we are engaged is a spiritual conflict, and His intervention gives us a spiritual deliverance. As Paul explained to the Corinthians, even though we live in this world, we do not wage war as the world does because of the realities of the spiritual conflict. (2 Corinthians 10:3-4) The Christian must choose whose methods to use—God’s or the world’s. Paul assures us that God’s mighty weapons—prayer, faith, hope, love, God’s Word, the Holy Spirit—are powerful and effective (Ephesians 6:13-18)! These weapons can break down the proud human arguments against God and the walls that Satan builds to keep people from finding God. When dealing with people’s proud arguments that keep them from a relationship with Christ, we may be tempted to use our own methods. But nothing can break down these barriers like God’s weapons.
In verse 5 Paul uses military terminology to describe this warfare against sin and Satan. God must be the commander in chief—even our thoughts must be submitted to his control as we live for him.
1. Prayer is a great privilege that demands a deep commitment, a commitment that must be handled with care and with wisdom.
2. What shall we pray? The answer is clear:
For God’s kingdom to come and His will do be done.
For God’s provision
For God’s forgiveness
For God’s deliverance
3. I urge you: Pray unceasingly, pray expectantly and pray earnestly because the prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective. (James 5:16)
*Hymn of Response # 385 “Take My Life and Let It Be”
WHAT TO PRAY outline
- Luke 11:1 “Lord, teach us to pray”
- Prayer is an absolute necessity, for it is to the spiritual dimension what breathing is to the physical.
- Matthew 6:9-13
- called “the Lord’s Prayer,” although a more appropriate term would be “the Disciple’s Prayer”
- a model for us to follow, not just a form for us to recite.
1. Pray to the Father. As members of this family we must want what the Father wants.
- Prayer starts with respect for the Father, not the requests of the Father’s children.
2. Pray for God’s Kingdom to Come and His Will to be Done.
3. Pray for God’s Provision. Matthew 7:7-8 Matthew 7:9-11
4. Pray for God’s Forgiveness.
- not referring to the forgiveness that leads to salvation, but the forgiveness that leads to harmony within the family of God. 1 John 1:9
5. Pray for God’s Deliverance. 2 Corinthians 10:3-4
1. Prayer is a great privilege that demands a deep commitment.
2. What shall we pray?
For God’s kingdom to come and His will do be done.
For God’s provision
For God’s forgiveness
For God’s deliverance
3. Pray unceasingly, pray expectantly and pray earnestly because the prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective. (James 5:16)
Wiersbe, Warren W.: The Bible Exposition Commentary. Wheaton, Ill. : Victor Books, 1996, c1989, S. Mt 6:5