God's Pattern For Prayer, Part 2

Faith Church January 16, 2010 Matthew 6:9-13

 

Introduction: 

1.  We are continuing our NEW series:  Taking the Next Step: In Our Spiritual Growth of PRAYER!

- the point we’re trying to make with our 2010 Church Theme is this:  If you’re going to make progress, you have to keep moving! . . .  keep taking steps to reach the goal of bringing glory to God by being like Jesus Christ (in the way we THINK and in the way we ACT)

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

  • Jesus modeled this in His life – and if He prayed, HOW MUCH MORE do you and I need to pray and talk to the Father?

REVIEW:

  • 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.  If you are new to our class, or this is the 1st time in this series, we recommend these resources:

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

- So far we’ve studied: 

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

- Jesus warned us about the following issues to avoid [“don’t be like ….”]:

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)

C.  Self-Centered Prayer (of pride; ‘hypocrisy” & a FALSE Audience:  Man instead of God)

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

- Last week our study focused on the 1st part of Jesus’ PATTERN for prayer:

- we emphasized the point that:  *  Prayer begins and ends with the glory of God, not the needs of man!

- LAST WEEK: we studied:

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

> that term “Father” (in reference to God) is reserved for believers only - spiritually, unbelievers have another “father” (John 8:44 – the devil)

> “Our Father” has the implications to dispels FEAR //  encourages HOPE // removes LONELINESS // demands OBEDIENCE

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

*  The greatness of that name and the implications of that name that help us to glorify Him!

- Today, we want to focus on the other parts of Jesus’ PATTERN for prayer

READ Matthew 6:5-14 =- focusing on v. 10 “Thy Kingdom Come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven”

- I want to begin by reading a quote MacArthur made in his book, Alone with God:

“Our greatest desire as believers should be to see the Lord reigning as King in His kingdom, having the honor and authority that have always been his but that he has not yet come to claim.  When you sincerely believe and genuinely confess Christ as Lord, you are confirming that the direction of your life is aimed at His exaltation. Your own causes are valid only insofar as they agree with the eternal causes of God revealed in Christ.  When I pray, “Thy kingdom come,” I am saying to God's Holy Spirit, “Spirit of Christ within me, take control and do what You will for Your glory.”  A true child of God won’t be preoccupied with his own plans and desires, but with the determinate program of God, revealed in the person of Jesus Christ. – MacArthur, Alone with God, p. 68

III.  Pattern: “Thy Kingdom Come” – v. 10

- we need to recognize that Jesus is referring to . . . .

A.  A Kingdom Not of This World

kingdom’ = does not primarily refer to a geographical territory but tosovereignty and dominion

- So, when we pray, “Thy Kingdom come” we are praying for God's rule on earth to begin as Christ assumes His rightful place as THE RULER of the earth (in a literally way)

- This event is described in Revelation 20:1-3

  • Revelation 20:1 And I saw an angel coming down from heaven, having the key of the abyss and a great chain in his hand. 2 And he laid hold of the dragon, the serpent of old, who is the devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years, 3 and threw him into the abyss, and shut it and sealed it over him, so that he should not deceive the nations any longer, until the thousand years were completed; after these things he must be released for a short time.

- Good men differ on this subject, but we hold to a literal translation of the Bible, we interpret this as a literal event – and a literal 1,000 years

- This doesn’t mean that Christ is not on the throne now, or that things are out of His control

>  they are not – He is in total control of all the events of our lives, and He is currently seated at the RIGHT HAND of the Throne of God (interceding for us)

- But there is coming a day when Jesus will sit on the throne of David in Jerusalem just as God promised in the Davidic covenant

come’ = a sudden, instantaneous coming

  • Matthew 24:27 For just as the lightning comes from the east, and flashes even to the west, so shall the coming of the Son of Man be.

- It is the coming of His millennial kingdom we are to pray for!

- We need to remember two things about this kingdom:

1.   The ‘Kingdom’ belongs to God“Our Father who is in heaven, and hallowed be His name”

- “Thy kingdom come ….” – God's kingdom is not like the man-made kingdoms of this world – they are past/gone!

- Earthly kingdoms go the way of all flesh – the degenerating power of sin causes inevitable decay and destruction (NOTE:  America is on the same path!)

2.  Christ is the Ruler

Input:  What are the implications of this truth?

- it all about HIS authority, not ours – it’s what HE wants for His subjects – we don’t tell Him what to do

Q: Are you functioning that way NOW?  Does He have ‘first place’ or ‘rule’ in your life?

Q: What is the evidence of this rule? OR…. What needs to change for that rule to be in place?

B.  Bringing God's Kingdom to Earth

- The best way to translate the phrase “Thy kingdom come” is: “Let your kingdom come now.”

Q:  What features lead to the consummation of His rule on earth?

1. The conversion of unbelievers

- in a present and limited, but real and miraculous way, God's kingdom is coming to earth every time a new soul is brought into the kingdom

- So, “Thy kingdom come” has an evangelistic flavor to it

- Presently, Christ’s kingdom exists on earth internally in the hearts and minds of believers – the kingdom is the sphere of salvation entered by repentance and faith in Jesus Christ

- Praying for the kingdom to come, in this sense, is praying for the salvation of souls!

  • 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.

[Evangelistic Praying – in our homes, church, individually]

2. The commitment of believers

- The desire of those who already know the Lord should be to allow the Lord to rule in our lives now, just as he rules in heaven!

  • Matthew 6:33 But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added to you.

- Everyday we are faced with decisions to choose between dong God's will or our own

“Just two choices on the shelf, pleasing God or pleasing self.”

- That’s when we need to affirm our commitment to God's cause

“When you commit yourself to the virtues the Spirit wants to produce in your life, you will pray that your life will honor and glorify your Father in heaven.” – MacArthur, p. 73

[Praying for believers – especially the ‘one another’ ministry within this church, body of believers]

3. The commencement of Christ’s Earthly Rule

- One day the heavens will open and Jesus will descend onto the Mount of Olives (splitting it in half – a demonstration of His great power)

- He will take the throne of David in Jerusalem, and He will rule for 1,000 years (Rev. 20:4)

- At that time, “Thy kingdom come” will be answered!!

- He will reign in PERFECT righteousness… justice …truth…and peace

- The effects of the curse of sin will be limited (lion/lamb lie down together) and Satan will be bound for 1,000 years (PTL!! – but will be released at the end for a ‘little season’ to deceive the nations and make a FINAL pass at trying to destroy the KINGDOM of Christ!!

- Perfect government – no politics – a perfectly holy despot – Jesus, the King of Kings

- We should be praying with the Apostle John:

  • Revelation 22:20 Come, Lord Jesus.

[This might be a good spot to STOP and PRAY for a few minutes “Thy Kingdom Come”]

IV. Pattern:  “Thy Will Be Done…” – v. 10

- To pray, “Thy will be done” . . .

A. We need to consider the nature of God's will.

- one of the dilemmas Christians have debated for centuries is whether God accomplishes His will regardless if we pray of don’t pray

“None of us can comprehend precisely how prayer functions in the infinite mind and plan of God.  What seems like a hopeless mystery to us is no dilemma to God.” (MacArthur, p. 74)

- on the one hand, we have the view that God's actions toward us are determined primarily by our prayers – our pleading will do for us what God ordinarily would not do!

- on the other hand, we have a sovereign God who’s in absolute control of all events of man

- and to some, it doesn’t matter what we pray or even if we pray – God's will is going to done!

Q:  Why pray at all if God is in control anyway?

Response:  While the Bible clearly teaches the absolute sovereignty of God, that same sovereign God commands us to pray “Thy will be done.”

“If God did not act in response to prayer, Jesus’ teaching about prayer would be futile and meaningless and all commands to pray pointless.  Our job is not to solve the dilemma of how God's sovereignty works with human responsibility but to believe and act on what God commands us about prayer.” – MacArthur, p. 75-76

- we not only need to consider the NATURE of God’s will, but …

B.  We need to evaluate our potential responses.

1.  Bitter Resentment

- Some professing believers resent what they see as God imposing His will on man – God is a divine dictator working out His sovereign, selfish will

- This person would pray but out of compulsion – believing they can’t escape from the inevitable!

- But this doesn’t reflect how God truly interacts with His us as His children

Note:  Remember the 1st phrase, “Our Father” – while He is our authority, and we pray “Thy kingdom come, thy will be done” – it is not without a compassionate relationship!

- He LOVES us – that’s the whole point in Jesus coming to the earth (QUOTE John 3:16!!)

- Another response is

2.  Passive Resignation

- This kind of believer wouldn’t resent God's will because they know God is compassionate, caring, and wants what is best for His children

- But this kind of person is resigned to God’s will as being inevitable, unchangeable, and irresistible force in their lives

Point:  This person prays, but he/she thinks their prayers will not make a difference!

- They pray for His will to be done but only because He has commanded them to do so!

Problem:  That is not praying in faith – it’s more capitulation – accepting God's will with a defeatist attitude

“Too many believers have weak prayer lives because they don’t believe their prayers accomplish anything.  They petition the Lord for something and then forget about it, acting as if they knew in advance that God wouldn’t be at all compelled to grant what they had requested.” – MacArthur, p. 77

Illustration:  Acts 12:12-16 – Peter imprisoned in Jerusalem; those praying for his release.

Point:  They apparently were praying for something they really didn’t believe God was able to do or that it would actually happen!

“Prayer is not a vain duty to be performed for the sake of obedience only. That may seem like a good motive, but its effect is not different from they hypocritical Pharisees who prayed for show.  We must pray in faith, believing that our prayers do make a difference with God.”
– MacArthur, p. 78

Q:  Into which category you typically fall?  Bitter or Passive?

- but there is one more category:

3.  We need to be submissive to His will

- most of the time, the problem we have with God's will is our own stubborn will

- We’re ok with God's will as long as it matches up with our thoughts/desires/goals

“As a result, we tend to perceive prayer as important only for making a difference in our circumstances rather than for the difference it can make in us and for God's glory.”
– MacArthur, p. 81

- if we are going to be passionate in our prayers, we need to realize that the real benefit of prayer is not the changes God may make in our circumstances

>  But the changes God  will make in us and in our perception of those situations

- if we are growing and changing into the image of Christ, the circumstances are seen not as a threat but as a bridge to our spiritual maturity

- that’s when Romans 8:28-29 becomes a reality!

C.  The actual prayers we offer up to God

1.  Things we can pray for that we KNOW are God's will:

Input:  List these – example – for people to be saved, to grow, to be faithful to worship

> to SERVE and use their gifts and abilities

2.  Things we can pray for that we are not certain, but still need to ask:

Input:  List these – Example: The Purdue Property purchase and “Capital Campaign’ to raise the money to build these buildings!

Conclusion: PRAYER TIME!!

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

- There are 12 of them, so we’ll do that 3 times as we pray for 4 at a time!

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.

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

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

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

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]

Faith Church