God's Pattern For Prayer, Part 1

Faith Church January 9, 2010 Matthew 6:9-13

 

1.  Last week, we began a NEW series:  Taking the Next Step: In Our Spiritual Growth of PRAYER!

Point:  If you’re going to make progress, you have to keep moving!

- that’s true from a practical/daily life perspective as well as SPIRITUALLY!

2. We’re doing this because the Bible places a strong emphasis on the subject of PRAYER:

  • 1 Thessalonians 5:17 Pray without ceasing.

- so we want to emphasize it to the degree God’s Word does

REVIEW of LAST WEEK: 

  • Prayer = “Talking to God as you would to a beloved friend – without pretense or flippancy”
  • Our adversary’s view of prayer (not as important // don’t get so consumed with it // you probably won’t get your answer (doubt) // you are too busy to pray)
  • Why is this area of Christian discipline so difficult an area in which to grow
  • It’s work – it takes effort and personal discipline
  • It’s spiritual warfare – Eph. 6 – we usually stop @ the last piece of armor – keep going
  • Ephesians 6:18 With all prayer and petition pray at all times in the Spirit, and with this in view, be on the alert with all perseverance and petition for all the saints.

3.  The purpose of this series:

  1. To help us develop a more biblical understanding of God's purpose and goal in prayer
  2. To motivate individual believers to pray more and to pray in a more biblical manner
  3. To help us as a church family grow in our focus and practice of corporate prayer

4.  Recommend the following resources:

  • Alone with God by John MacArthur
  • The Prayer of Jabez, Bruce Wilkerson
  • Too Busy NOT to Pray, Bill Hybels

- Last week we studied . . .

I.  God’s Precautions Regarding Prayer:  What to AVOID – v. 5 - 8

- Knowing the Jewish background (historical context), Jesus was addressing:

A.  Ritualized Prayers – v. 5(instead of being sincere (genuine), passionate, humble!!)

B.   Long Prayers – v. 5(thinking that was more spiritual – length vs. motivation)

- Jesus warned about the scribes: Mark 12:40 – “. . . for appearance’s sake offer long prayers”

C.  Self-Centered Prayer (prayers full of pride; ‘hypocrisy” and it resulted in a FALSE Audience:  Man instead of God

D.  Meaningless Repetitions – v. 7 – it’s not repetition, Jesus said “MEANINGLESS repetition”

[Read Matthew 6:5-13] – Context: Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5, 6, 7 – Jesus is teaching and beginning His public ministry)

Introduction:  

-  As we BEGIN our study today, let’s remember this important truth:

1.   Prayer begins and ends with the glory of God, not the needs of man!

  • John 14:13 “And whatever you ask in My name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.”

2.  To believe that God is really like some genie, waiting to grant our every desire, is the OPPOSITE of what God’s Word teaches about prayer!

- in fact, many OT saints certainly had a just cause to plead with God to take them out of difficult circumstances, yet they sought to glorify God an follow His will

- Those OT saints knew that they were to recognize God in His rightful place and bring their wills into conformity with His [OPEN BIBLE TO MATTHEW 6]

3.  That’s just what Jesus taught the disciples when He said, “Pray, then, in this way.”

-  In less than 70 words, we find a perfect grid through which we can bring glory & honor to God.

  • Matthew 6:9-13 – READ

4.  This morning, I want to make a transition into an expositional study of Matthew 6:9-13.

*  This passage has been known as “The Lord’s Prayer” – it could more accurate be called, “The Disciples’ Prayer” (what and how we should pray)

>   It is not a set group of words to repeat – to ‘pray then in this way’ does NOT mean to pray with these EXACT words!

5.  The Lord’s intention was to give them a PATTERN for the structure of their own prayers.

-  We know that because He had just warned them about empty repetition in prayer!

-  It can be recited as any other passage of Scripture – it helps to meditate on a passage as you begin to form your own thoughts

Point:  This is a MODEL we can use to give direction to our praise, adoration, and petitions – it’s not a substitute for our own prayers, but a GUIDE!

6.  We need to focus on what Jesus said:  “Pray in this way” (manner – as an example)

I.   Pattern:  “Our Father Who is in heaven”

A.  Some important principles to remember

1.  The term “Father” (in reference to God) is reserved for believers only.

- Malachi did write the following;

  • Malachi 2:10 Do we not all have one father? Has not one God created us?

- But Scripture clarify that God is the Father of unbelievers only in creation – NOT salvation

2.  Spiritually, unbelievers have another “father.”

  • John 8:44 "You are of your father the devil, and you want to do the desires of your father. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. Whenever he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own nature; for he is a liar, and the father of lies.

Point:  There is not one spiritual family of mankind under one universal fatherhood of God!

  • John 1:12 But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name.

- To be able to approach God in prayer as our loving heavenly Father has several implications:

B.  Implications of God being “Our Father”

1.  It dispels FEAR

  • Romans 8:15 For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again, but you have received a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, "Abba! Father!"

- the term ‘Abba’ is equivalent to our term ‘daddy’

- the word emphasizes the personal and intimate relationship God has with His children

Input:  What are the characteristics of a true father? [various answers]

2.  It encourages HOPE

- in the midst of a world that is falling apart, God is our Father, and He will take care of us

- the relationship gives hope to a child because:

 * A father KNOWS things you don’t know . . .

- even when life is hard, trials come, there are lessons to learn and your father has ‘been there before’ and knows what things you have need of BEFORE you ask.

- the relationship gives hope because, to a child,

…and a father can DO things you can’t do!

>  my children, “Daddy, can you help me?” – response: “Sure, I’m glad to help you!”

3.  It Removes LONELINESS

- even if we are rejected and abandoned by family, friend, or even follow believers, we know that our Heavenly Father will never leave us

  • Hebrews 13:5 Let your character be free from the love of money, being content with what you have; for He Himself has said, "I WILL NEVER DESERT YOU, NOR WILL I EVER FORSAKE YOU."

- God, as our Father, never looks at us as some parents have looked at their children and said, “I wish I had never made that one.”

4.  It demands OBEDIENCE

*  Knowing God is our Father’ is not an excuse to sin, but a motivation for purity!

- it is the very nature of this relationship that should drive us to OBEY – just as Jesus did

  • John 6:38 For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me.

- and that Father’s love NEVER FAILS – it is unconditional

[Ill:  Luke 15 – a story NOT about the Prodigal Son, but the Parable of the Loving Father]

- when you recognize God as our Father, the issue of sin becomes relationship and fellowship oriented, not just command/principle oriented

Point:   When you begin your prayers by calling on “Our Father who art in heaven”, you indicate your eagerness to go to Him as a child, knowing He loves you.

>  You’ll find that He is eager to lend His ear, His power, and His eternal blessing to the requests of His children if it serves them best and further reveals His purpose and glory

- the 2nd part of this pattern points to God’s worthiness of our praise

II.  Pattern:  “Hallowed be Thy Name”  - Jesus is pointing out the significance of His Father’s name

*  A person’s view of God has a great impact on every other part of his/her life.

- You can understand why prayer is ever and always, first and foremost, a recognition of God's majestic glory and our submission to Him!

A.  The meaning of a name

- in Jewish culture, a NAME basically captures the character/essence of the person

- to a Jew, a name really means something – it communicates something a/b the person!

- each of the O.T. & NT names and titles of God show a different facet of His character and its expression in His will

  • Elohim = the Creator
  • El Elyon = Possessor of heaven and earth
  • Emmanuel = God with us
  • Jehovah-Jireh = the Lord will provide
  • Jehovah-Shama = the Lord is present and near
  • Yahweh = Covenant keeping

- All those names, and many more, speak of God attributes – they tell us not only who He is, but also what He is like

“The request [‘Hallowed be Thy name]is that the Holy One may secure before the whole world in a final and decisive way the holiness appropriate to His name, to which human beings will respond with praise and exaltation.” Linguistic and Exegetical Key to the NT

B.  How to “Hallow” God's name?

“Hallowed” (is an archaic English word used to translate a form of another Greek word which means) =  “to make holy”

> Words from the same root are translated  = holy, saint, sanctify (lit. to set apart), sanctification (the process of setting apart)[1]

- This begins in the heart

  • 1 Peter 3:15 but sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence;

- When we sanctify Him in our hearts, we will also sanctify Him in our lives – our prayers!

1. Acknowledge God exists

  • Hebrews 11:6 And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him.

“The moral law within us and the starry heavens above us drive us to God!” – Immanuel Kant

- But that is not enough – you can believe that God exists but still not hallow his name

- You need revealed truth (special revelation) to reveal the true nature of God and Who He is

2. Know the truth about God

- seek to know and understand His Word – that is what reveals the most about God

Input:  Why don’t we do a better job at knowing His Word?

  • Lazy
  • Have to change
  • Lack of love for God

- Some think that the only way to take God's name in vain is to swear – that’s not true!

- You can take the name of the Lord in vain every time:

>  You think a thought about God that is not true

>  When you doubt Him

>  When you disbelieve Him OR question Him

 

 

3.  Be aware of His presence

  • Psalm 16:8 I have set the LORD continually before me; Because He is at my right hand, I will not be shaken.
  • Psalm 139:9 If I take the wings of the dawn, If I dwell in the remotest part of the sea, 10 Even there Thy hand will lead me, And Thy right hand will lay hold of me.

- we must live every day and moment by moment in the presence of God

- GOD IS HERE whether we believe it or not – the curse of sin affected our ability to think and reason – we try to run and hide, sew fig leaves, make excuse, and blameshift

- But God is still God and He knows our hearts, and HE IS HERE! – not just on Sunday!

4.  Live in obedience

- Our father’s name is most hallowed when we live in obedience and conformity to His will

- For Christians to live in disobedience to God is the ultimate  taking His name in vain, claiming as Lord someone we’re not even willing to follow

Point: When we disobey God, we diminish our capacity to revere His name and be a vehicle for manifesting his holiness

  • 1 Corinthians 10:31 Whether, then, you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.
  • 2 Corinthians 5:20 Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ

- Jesus said, If you love me . . . keep my commandments

  • Psalm 34:3 O magnify the LORD with me, And let us exalt His name together.

- The next time you pray, remember, “Our Father” is a Person, our God who is in heaven, yet right in the room with us – He can see you – He knows you – He hears you – He loves you!

- While he wants you to come – remember, He is HOLY

- Don’t be afraid when you pray to Him, just remember to approach that time with the respect due His most holy name

Conclusion: PRAYER TIME!! Pray for #1-4 below + the BCTC (volunteers/speakers/attendees)

1. Let’s put some of our principles into practice TODAY [James 1:22 – be DOERS of the Word]

2.  I want to lay out some specific prayers requests for our church this year and pray for each one!

3.  I’ll state the ‘request’ – we’ll give a biblical foundation for it – then go to the next one (1-4)

General requests:  Since it is God's will . . .

1.  That we as a church in general, and our leaders in particular, would be growing in holiness.

  • 1 Peter 1:16 Because it is written, "YOU SHALL BE HOLY, FOR I AM HOLY."

2.  That we would lead balanced and priority-oriented lives.

  • Matthew 6:33 “But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added to you.”
  • Colossians 1:18 So that He Himself might come to have first place in everything.

3.  That we would be building strong marriages, families, and friendships.

  • Genesis 2:24 For this cause a man shall leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave to his wife; and they shall become one flesh.
  • Ephesians 6:4 And, fathers, do not provoke your children to anger; but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.
  • John 13:34"A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another.”

4.  That our corporate worship would be genuine and passionate.

  • Psalm 95:6 Come, let us worshipand bow down; let us kneel before the LORD our Maker.

 

5.  That our loyalty to God's Word would be unwavering (no matter how challenging the truth may be) and that we would obey it!

  • James 1:22 But be doers of the word, and not hearers only . . .

6. That we would increase our faithfulness in prayer this year.

  • James 5:16 The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much.

7.  That our children would be developing inner convictions that are strong, biblical, and real.

  • Joshua 1:8 "This book of the law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it; for then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have success.”

8.  That we would see many people won to Jesus Christ this year.

  • 2 Peter 3:9 The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance.

9.  That new persons would be made to feel welcomed and accepted, and they would become members quickly and get connected in areas of growth and service.

  • Galatians 5:13 But through love serve one another.

10.  That our discipleship ministries would be effective and reveal the evidence of spiritual growth and development (ABFs, FCI, Men/Women’s Ministries)

  • 2 Peter 3:18But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory both now and forever. Amen.

11.  That our missionary outreach would grow stronger and our missionaries would know they are loved, appreciated, and supported.

  • Matthew 28:19"Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations . . .

12.  That our influence in our community would be positive and honoring to Christ.

  • Matthew 5:16 “Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.”

-  While we believe God will answer our prayers, we know that what the ‘answer’ looks like is up to Him.

-  Let’s not be guilty of ‘doubting’ God when His word is so clear on a number of these (and other) issues.

Specific Requests:  If it is God's will . . . ’ [Examples: The Purdue facility, Ministry Center]



[1]
MacArthur, John: Matthew. Chicago : Moody Press, 1989, S. 378

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