Lord, Teach Us To Pray…
What is prayer?
A literal translation is
“to bring your wishes to God”.
EVERYBODY prays! When we are in REAL trouble, we all do!
-Atheists “hope” there is a God…
-Agnostics “hope” God will listen…
-Religious people “hope” it is God’s will…
When the chips are down.
When all else has failed.
When there is nothing left to lose.
We say: “God, HELP ME!!” “Please, God, just this ONCE…”
Of course, it often seems that God doesn’t listen to us. L
WHY doesn’t He do what we want?
-We get MAD at Him…
-We lose hope…
-We STOP going to church…
-We even STOP PRAYING…
Let’s try to understand WHY it is this way.
How does the Bible tell us to pray?
The Scriptures describe at length the TWO important aspects of prayer:
- How to pray.
- What to pray.
How to pray:
(Note: the following verses in Matthew were spoken by Jesus to His disciples.)
Matthew 6:5 And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.
Hypocrites = actors on a stage
We use the word Hypocrite today to speak of someone that says we should not do something while they are actually doing it themselves. The Biblical use of the word actually refers to someone that is pretending to be someone else (acting); in this case “pretending to pray to God”.
Matthew 6:6 But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.
Have you thought about what Jesus is actually saying?
Effective prayer is private prayer between you and God!!
Almost all of the powerful moments between man and God are PRIVATE!
Moses and the burning bush (Ex. 3), Elijah and the “still small voice” (1 Kings 19:12), Hudson Taylor, Charles Finney, Dwight Moody, etc…
In public meetings (at church), the requests are public. When the minister prays, it is EXTREMELY difficult for him to pray to God while the congregation listens in… Usually, he pretends to be praying to God while he actually prays before the people and hopes God is listening in.
Even when we are praying alone in our rooms, we often pray before ourselves. When we do this, we might say: “I don’t feel like my prayers got beyond the ceiling”.
What to do? Jesus easily clears this up when He teaches us WHAT to pray…
Notice that the The Father answers every request:
-if you pray to impress men, men will be impressed.
-if you pray to God in secret, God will answer (reward) you openly.
Matthew 6:7-8 But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking.
8 Be not ye therefore like unto them: for your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask him.
Repetition doesn’t help. It’s strange to think that God not only heard you the first time, He knew your request before you asked it the first time!
God already knows what HE is going to do before you ask! Really, the only thing that is changed when we pray is OURSELVES. This brings us to the second, but even more important aspect of prayer:
What to pray:
Matthew 6:9 After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.
“Therefore” = because the Father already knows what you need…
Our Father = We are HIS children. We cannot tell Him how to do things
any more than a five-year-old can teach his Dad how to re-wire the air conditioner.
In Heaven = The Father IS in the Kingdom of Heaven (we often are not).
The Kingdom of God is that place where God’s will is done.
Holy is His name = Holy means to be set apart from others. Unfortunately,
the word “holy” has been “spiritualized” so much as to seem to be a religious
word. It is actually a common concept that we use every day. A few examples…
If you are on a football team that wins the Super-bowl, you will be given a “Super-bowl ring”. This ring sets you apart from most other football players. You become a member of a small group of men. You are holy among men.
If you marry a woman and pledge to be faithful “until death do us part”, you are a man different to her than all other men. She must be regarded different to you from all other women (even your Momma). She has become holy.
The NAME of God means His reputation, power, authority,
character, plans, etc… His name (in every way) is certainly
much better than ours: His name is HOLY, HOLY, HOLY!!
Matthew 6:10 Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.
Thy Kingdom come = His action is necessary (we cannot do what’s
Thy will be done = We are asking Him to do what HE WANTS to do to meet
our needs. We are giving up on our own ideas…
What is God’s will?
Why is He the ONLY ONE that can do it?
Luke 4:16-21 And he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up: and, as his custom was, he went into the synagogue on the sabbath day, and stood up for to read.
17 And there was delivered unto him the book of the prophet Esaias. And when he had opened the book, he found the place (Is.61:1-2) where it was written,
18 The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised,
19 To preach the acceptable year of the Lord.
20 And he closed the book, and he gave it again to the minister, and sat down. And the eyes of all them that were in the synagogue were fastened on him.
21 And he began to say unto them, This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears.
His will is to:
-Preach the Gospel to the poor.
-Heal the broken-hearted.
-Preach deliverance to captive people.
-Help the Blind to See.
-Give liberty to bruised people.
-Preach the acceptable year of the Lord.
Are you praying for someone’s salvation?
Are you praying for broken people?
Addicted, lost and hurting people?
Are you praying that someone will realize that TODAY is the day of Salvation?
This is praying “In Jesus’ name”!
John 14:13-14 And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it.
If you are not a Christian and want to be born again and live for Christ, you know His will is to save you TODAY! If you will repent of your rebellion and sin and surrender your life to Jesus as your Savior, He will GLADLY save you!!
If you are a Christian and long to know God deeply in prayer and worship, accept His will as YOUR OWN! You can make His calling your calling by FOLLOWING Him!
Now, when you pray, you can KNOW God will grant you your requests! Bear in mind that God will CHANGE YOU when you pray. Your WHOLE LIFE will change when the Salvation of others is why you wake up in the morning. The Scriptures will burn in your heart as you share the Good News of Jesus. Your words will be used by the Holy Spirit to put a hunger in every one that hears!