Alone in Prayer

Rob Green August 13, 2017 Matthew 6:5-13
Outline

Hebrews 4:16 - Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

I. Pray alone so that your focus can be on the Lord (Matthew 6:5-6)

Matthew 6:5-6 - “When you pray, you are not to be like the hypocrites; for they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and on the street corners so that they may be seen by men. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full. 6 “But you, when you pray, go into your inner room, close your door and pray to your Father who is in secret, and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you.

A. When we pray in public there is a tendency to focus on the people around us

Luke 5:16 - But Jesus Himself would often slip away to the wilderness and pray.

Matthew 14:23 - After He had sent the crowds away, He went up on the mountain by Himself to pray; and when it was evening, He was there alone.

Luke 6:12 - It was at this time that He went off to the mountain to pray, and He spent the whole night in prayer to God

B. When we pray in private we have the joy of watching the Lord answer

II. Pray alone with meaningful words and concerns of the heart (Matthew 6:7-8)

Matthew 6:7-8 - And when you are praying, do not use meaningless repetition as the Gentiles do, for they suppose that they will be heard for their many words. So do not be like them; for your Father knows what you need before you ask Him.

Mark 1:35 - In the early morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house, and went away to a secluded place, and was praying there.

Mark 6:46 - After bidding them farewell, He left for the mountain to pray.

Mark 14:35-39 - And He went a little beyond them, and fell to the ground and began to pray that if it were possible, the hour might pass Him by. And He was saying, “Abba! Father! All things are possible for You; remove this cup from Me; yet not what I will, but what You will.” And He came and found them sleeping, and said to Peter, “Simon, are you asleep? Could you not keep watch for one hour? Keep watching and praying that you may not come into temptation; the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.” Again He went away and prayed, saying the same words.

Edwards writes, “Each prayer is at night and in a lonely place, each finds the disciples removed from him and failing to understand his mission, and in each Jesus faces a formative decision or crisis.” (James Edwards, The Gospel According to Mark, Eerdmans: Grand Rapids, 2002, 197)

  • Praying for our fall ministry
  • Praying for our mission
  • Praying for the big issues in our lives

Mark 9:29 - And He said to them, “This kind cannot come out by anything but prayer.”

III. Pray alone according to the model provided by Jesus (Matthew 6:9-13a)

Matthew 9:9-13a - Pray, then, in this way: “Our Father who is in heaven, Hallowed be Your name. Your kingdom come. Your will be done, On earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from evil.”

A. The opening reminds us of community (v. 9)

B. The opening reminds us of our relationship with the Lord (v. 9)

1 John 3:1a - See how great a love the Father has bestowed on us, that we would be called children of God; and such we are.

C. Three petitions related to God

1. That we would revere God and His name (v. 9)

2. That we would desire His coming Kingdom (v. 10)

3. That we would follow His will (v. 10)

D. Three petitions related to man

1. That God would provide for our needs (v. 11)

2. That we would be a forgiving person (v. 12)

“Lord, make me an instrument of your peace. Where there is hatred, let me sow love; Where there is injury, pardon; … O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek To be consoled as to console, To be understood as to understand, To be loved as to love. For it is in giving that we receive, It is in pardoning that we are pardoned, And it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.” Peace Prayer by St. Francis of Assisi

3. That we would be led away from temptation and toward righteousness (v. 13a)

Have you ever taken anything for granted? Has there something done for you (maybe over and over again) or available to you so much that you no longer consider the full weight of its value?

  • For some of us we might say that we have taken our spouse for granted. Maybe they have done such a wonderful job serving us that we get up in the morning wondering what they will do for us today, rather than giving thanks for the things they have done for the previous 3,000 days.
    • One of the things I have been personally working on is viewing my wife through the grid that she has lovingly and graciously served me for 24 years [could expand on laundry or cooking]. Before I get upset with her about xxxx [normally some small inconvenience to my schedule or some expectation that I did not have fulfilled] I need to check my attitude with the 24 years of sacrificial service. I need to learn not to take her for granted.
  • Some of you children might admit to taking your parent’s generosity for granted. They have provided for you, they have cared for you, helped you with your school work and you wake up irritated that they did not allow you to do something you wanted to do.
    • You see their years of sacrifice as very small and insignificant and you see the most recent irritation as the sum total of your relationship.
    • You have been taking them for granted.
  • College students, you might have to admit that you have taken your roommates for granted. They clean up after you a few times as an act of service and you assume that is your new relationship.
  • Is it possible that we have enjoyed so many blessings from the Lord that we no longer thank him or appreciate all that he has done for us?
  • Instead we have adopted a mentality that says the Lord owes us blessing after blessing after blessing after blessing.
  • We first learned how Jesus addressed temptation when the Spirit led him into the wilderness alone and today our goal is to understand what Jesus said about prayer as he often prayed alone.
  • Pray when no one else is looking and when no one else is around.
  • If you were a friend, a brother, a parent, or an adult child you would do whatever it took in order to get them to Jesus.
  • When he instructed the crowds about prayer he explained the importance of private prayer as our first priority.
  • We have so many opportunities to do the next thing that sometimes the last thing we do is pray.
  • There are times in the Christian life when the Lord decides to bless a person and no one knows what those private requests were but the person and the Lord.
  • But it is also joyful to think of times when God answered a prayer that only he and I knew about.
  • You may need to say no to some things in order to say to yes to praying. Jesus dismissed the crowds. In one case, he did not return. He went somewhere else. Time is one of the few things that you cannot borrow or save. It is always used.
  • You may need to build a routine. If prayer does not come easily and naturally for you, then you will need to structure that time with the Lord.
  • Watch for God’s blessings. Sometimes he rewards what no one else knows about. You will have the joy of thanking the Lord for that alone time with your father.
  • Every pagan religion has a foundation of manipulation. If I say the right things the gods will be happy with me and bless me.
  • But Biblical Christianity is not about manipulation. It is about a loving, caring God who is interested in a meaningful relationship where we share our fears, concerns, and needs.
  • After all, the text says the Lord knows about our needs anyway.
  • His ministry was starting.
  • People were tempting him to forsake his servant mission and take on their mission.
  • He was about to go to the cross and asked three times for reprieve from the cup of suffering.
  • Praying for our fall ministry.
    • We have our fall training this Wednesday night at 6:30. We want excellent Children’s ministries at both campuses. One of the ways we serve families is to provide age appropriate teaching that is faithful to the Scriptures and helps them learn to apply biblical truth in their homes and their schools.
      • If you are a teacher or assistant then your public ministry starts next Sunday. Are you bathing that ministry opportunity in prayer?
    • We want excellent ABFs and Faith Groups. Sunday morning service is a great start to Christian growth, but it will never be enough. We were designed to live in community.
      • If you are an ABF teacher, FG leader, or team leader … are you praying that God would give you a fruitful and effective ministry? The title means nothing if there isn’t the heart and work behind it.
      • Maybe you have been avoiding ABFs or FGs because it represents another level of commitment. Have you been asking the Lord to lead you to the places where you could serve others and be impacted the most?
    • Coffee servants and Ushers … believe it or not you are our “first impression.” You have a significant place in defining whether our church is a friendly church or not. Many people decide whether they want to return to Faith before the first minute of the service begins.
      • Are you praying for a smile, an opportunity to be encouraging, a help to a person who is new?
  • Praying for our mission.
    • It serves to move us from the things that waste our time and take our energy and puts us back on the right track.
  • Praying for the big issues in our lives. There was no bigger issue in Jesus’ ministry than the cross. It is one of the three times that Mark’s gospel emphasizes Jesus prayer. As you think about your life, can you identify a few areas that are particularly important.
  • Instead, it is a request that the Lord would help us (as a community) acknowledge him as holy, to want to honor him, to want God to be the center of the universe so that he always gets the glory.
  • When Jesus came to earth he first sermon was “Repent, for the kingdom of God is at hand.” Rather than accept Jesus as the king, the nation rejected him and requested the Romans to crucify him on the charge that he was a fake king.
  • The rejection resulted in a delay of the kingdom, but it is a kingdom still promised. I think this prayer request reminds us that our desire should be for the time when Jesus comes again to rule.
  • We would rather have time to see our children trust Christ.
  • We would rather have time to get to a particular stage in life and THEN Jesus can return.
  • We are asking that righteousness would be the standard even in the evil world in which we live.
  • At a minimum, it suggests that we should know God’s will. There are several places in the Word that explain God’s will and desires for our lives.
  • But more than just knowing it, this request is asking the Lord, by his grace, to help us live it.
  • There is a battle there.
  • It is yes, Lord I want your will. But sometimes your will is really hard and I don’t want to still be in it.
  • One day it seems easy to follow the Lord while the next day is incredibly difficult.
  • Every single time is a refocusing on God’s will.
  • There was a temptation to do valuable things, but not the mission he was given.
  • Even after his prayer in the Garden and God clearly reveals that the cup of suffering will not pass, Jesus then pursues God’s will. He does not simply accept it, he pursues it.
  • We might be concerned about our retirement, we might be concerned about paying for college education, but most of us are not wondering if we will eat today.
  • We can recognize that every gift we have (health, intellect, job, finances, friends, family) is a gracious provision of the Lord.
  •  Throughout Christianity people have confessed the many ways that God provided for them. In the NT period, many people were paid daily and the amount they were paid barely covered the food for the day. One day out of work was a day that food would be difficult to come by.
  • But one of the things that I am especially thankful for is that while we are in a position where the stock market is killing it, unemployment is so low that you basically have to not want a job not to have one, one of our expressions of dependence is giving.
  • We will use the money exactly as promised, but now that there is some left over, there is the opportunity to do additional work in Haiti and Latin America.
  • I think the Lord was honored by that kind of special giving that says, “we understand that everything we have comes from the Lord.”
  • We would rather have something to hold against someone rather than to free them from it.
  • We have to go before the Lord by ourselves and cry out to him about our hurts and ask for his grace not to allow those hurts to define us. A man named St. Francis of Assisi understood the essence of this request. Notice carefully his words….
  • It requires a recognition of our own weaknesses and our propensity to move in certain directions of evil.
  • The response to that knowledge is to ask God to move us toward righteousness instead.
  • Rather than allow his flourishing ministry to dominate his existence, he slipped away and dismissed crowds in order to be alone with the Father.
  • Then when he taught his disciples he showed that proper prayer includes a community element … we are not asking solely for ourselves but for our brothers and sisters as well.
  • Our focus is first on the Lord his name, his kingdom, and his will.
  • Then our focus turns to humankind our need of provisions, our need for be forgiving, and our need to move away from temptation and to righteousness.

Now let’s push this train of thought another step further … If it is possible that we have taken a parent, spouse, or a roommate for granted then is it possible that we have also taken God for granted?

If we have or are taking the Lord for granted, then is it possible that the matter of prayer is one of those areas? Despite our clear access to prayer at any time on any day, we find that one of the things we neglect most is the very thing we need most.

Hebrews 4:16 Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

It may that the Lord seems distant in your life and maybe even as if he is not working very much, but maybe the real issue is that we are not using the gracious access that he provided and we are not asking for mercy and grace to help in our time of need.

Last week Pastor Viars began a new series entitled When Jesus was Alone looking at times when Jesus was alone and the lessons that we can learn in those moments.

The title of this message is Alone in Prayer.

The gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John) explain various aspects of Jesus’ praying and his teaching on prayer, but maybe the single most significant passage which not only explains Jesus’ own habits, but also what he asks of us is found in Matthew 6:5-13.

With that in mind I invite you to turn in your Bibles to Matthew 6. That is on page ____ of the back section of the Bible in the chair in front of you.

I would like us to consider 3 lessons about Jesus’ teaching and example about praying alone.

I.  Pray alone so that your focus can be on the Lord (Matthew 6:5-6)

Matthew 6:5-6 “When you pray, you are not to be like the hypocrites; for they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and on the street corners so that they may be seen by men. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full. 6 “But you, when you pray, go into your inner room, close your door and pray to your Father who is in secret, and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you.

Jesus raises several interesting points.

  1. When we pray in public there is a tendency to focus on care the people around us.

Some may struggle with wanting people to recognize them as great persons of prayer.  However, it might be more common for people to feel shy about praying in public because they are afraid of being embarrassed. They are afraid that they will say something that sounds childish or foolish. So, they would rather not pray at all.

In either case, there is a focus on people. What the Lord did and what the Lord encourages his followers to do is to be released from that pressure. Go into your inner room and close the door.

Maybe the struggle with public prayer is partly due to the fact that you have not spent enough time in private prayer where the tendency to care about what others think is no longer present.

Maybe the Lord encouraged us to pray alone so that we would develop the mindset that prayer is first and foremost a desire to connect to our father more closely.

In the ministry of Jesus, we often find him retreating alone in order to spend quiet time in prayer with his father.

The gospels present Jesus as having a very busy public ministry. He was able to cast out demons, he could give sight to the blind and hearing to the deaf.

That is why he actually had to slip away, that is why he had to send the crowds away.

Luke 5:16 But Jesus Himself would often slip away to the wilderness and pray.

Matthew 14:23 After He had sent the crowds away, He went up on the mountain by Himself to pray; and when it was evening, He was there alone.

Luke 6:12 It was at this time that He went off to the mountain to pray, and He spent the whole night in prayer to God

Even Jesus who was one with the Father nevertheless ensured that he spent time praying to the father by himself.

Friends, if we are going to have a meaningful prayer life we are going to have to find time in our schedules in order to do just that.

Bill Hybels wrote a book Too Busy NOT to Pray [Show a copy of the book cover on ppt]. It is such a vital part of our spiritual life that Jesus himself took the necessary time to step away from the busyness of life and pray to the father.

While Jesus never condemns the right use of public prayer it seems that most of our prayer time should be alone where we are not distracted by others.

I am fairly certain if the Lord could make time to pray to the Lord then we can do the same.

  1. When we pray in private we have the joy of watching the Lord answer

The value is not restricted to our alone time with our heavenly father, our spiritual daddy.  The Bible tells us that the Father rewards what is done in secret.

I enjoy seeing God answer corporate prayer. I remember well our day of prayer about Faith West and we, as a church, watched God answer in some mighty ways.

Let me suggest a couple of possible implications:

But Jesus’ alone times for prayer were not for meaningless purposes

II. Pray alone with meaningful words and concerns of the heart (Matthew 6:7-8)

Matthew 6:7-8 “And when you are praying, do not use meaningless repetition as the Gentiles do, for they suppose that they will be heard for their many words. 8 “So do not be like them; for your Father knows what you need before you ask Him.

At times, it would appear that Jesus’ prayers were fairly short. Even in the Garden of Gethsemane he speaks of one hour and part of that time was not actually praying but interacting with the disciples. Yet other times, the Lord’s journeys into prayer took many hours including an entire night.

But regardless of the length of time that Jesus spent in prayer what was included in the Lord’s prayers was substance. They were meaningful. There were important concerns on his heart that he wanted to express to his father.

The warning of v. 7 is that words that do not come from the heart are meaningless, void of value, and only for show and manipulation. 

The gospel of Mark which we have been studying in our Adult Bible Fellowships this year includes only 3 passages of Jesus praying.

Mark 1:35 In the early morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house, and went away to a secluded place, and was praying there.

Mark 6:46 After bidding them farewell, He left for the mountain to pray.

Mark 14:35-39            And He went a little beyond them, and fell to the ground and began to pray that if it were possible, the hour might pass Him by. 36 And He was saying, “Abba! Father! All things are possible for You; remove this cup from Me; yet not what I will, but what You will.” 37 And He *came and *found them sleeping, and *said to Peter, “Simon, are you asleep? Could you not keep watch for one hour? 38            “Keep watching and praying that you may not come into temptation; the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.” 39       Again He went away and prayed, saying the same words.

In each case, the prayers come during a very important time of ministry.

  • Mark 1:35 is the prayer at the start of Jesus’ public ministry
  • Mark 6:46 is the prayer where the Lord reiterates his mission to the Father as opposed to the mission to be king that the people want him to take
  • Mark 14:35-39 is the prayer prior to his suffering

Edwards writes, “Each prayer is at night and in a lonely place, each finds the disciples removed from him and failing to understand his mission, and in each Jesus faces a formative decision or crisis.” (James Edwards, The Gospel According to Mark, Eerdmans: Grand Rapids, 2002, 197)

When Jesus prayed there was something important to pray about.

Friends there are a number of implications for you and me. If we follow Jesus’s example of praying alone about important decisions then it is reasonable for us to consider using some of our prayer time along these same lines …

If Jesus is praying for his ministry then we can pray for ours.

There are about 3 areas in my life that trip me up regarding my mission. They are roadblocks in accomplishing the mission God has given me. Jesus after feeding the 5,000 is tempted with the wrong kind of kingship. The people were ready to revolt and make Jesus king by force.

Jesus dismisses everyone and prays. The very next scene in the text is the servant Jesus doing what he came to do. Prayer reorients us to our mission.

If you are looking at your life and seeing a little mission drift maybe that mission drift is a result of a lack of prayer that reorients your life in the right direction.

As I was writing this sermon there were 6 issues that are very large in my life right now. Frankly, the 6 combined could be paralyzing. They are not life ending, but each of them represents its own stage of life alteration. What about you? What are your big issues?  Maybe you could write them out on your program before this sermon is over.

Then, the next question … and one that I have been asking myself this week … is how much have I been praying about it?

The beauty of this passage is that the Lord already knows what I need. My prayer does not provide the Lord with information. It acknowledges my dependence.

** In one of the more interesting stories in Mark Jesus gave his disciples the ability to cast out demons and heal the sick. But on this occasion, there was a demon possessed boy and the disciples were not able to cast him out. Jesus makes this statement …

Mark 9:29 And He said to them, “This kind cannot come out by anything but prayer.”

It was a recognition of dependence. That what prayer does … it helps us adopt the mindset of dependence before the Lord. It says that whether I have done this a 1000x or whether I am doing it for the first time I recognize Lord I need your help.

In Matthew 6 we find that we should follow the example set by Christ of praying alone so that our focus would be on the Lord. But once we begin our prayers they flow from a heart crying out to God rather than serving as a manipulative tool to get what we want.

Jesus did not stop there. He also explained what normal, everyday praying would include.

III. Pray alone according to the model provided by Jesus (Matthew 6:9-13a)

Matthew 9:9-13a “Pray, then, in this way: ‘Our Father who is in heaven, Hallowed be Your name. 10 ‘Your kingdom come. Your will be done, On earth as it is in heaven. 11 ‘Give us this day our daily bread. 12 ‘And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. 13 ‘And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from evil.

Outside of this passage (and its companion texts in the gospels) we do not have a record of Jesus praying exactly like this. That reminds us that this is not a formula, but rather a guideline. It may be that one of the issues included in the passage is more meaningful on a particular day than another.

A. The opening reminds us of community (v. 9)

Biblical Christianity is a community affair. The opening line does not say “My Father” but rather “Our Father.” It reminds us that in our western culture we must not take individualism too far. Thus, many of these requests reflect an attitude I should have toward my brothers and sisters and not just for myself.

B. The opening reminds us of our relationship with the Lord (v. 9)

By using the term “Father” we are reminded that we have a special relationship to the Lord. While he is the sovereign king of the universe we also have the privilege of calling him daddy.

1 John 3:1a See how great a love the Father has bestowed on us, that we would be called children of God; and such we are.

C. Three petitions related directly to God

1. That we would Revere God and His Name (v. 9)

God’s name is holy, hallowed, or sanctified. This request is not trying to give God a name that he does not already have.

  • Instead, it is a request that the Lord would help us (as a community) acknowledge him as holy, to want to honor him, to want God to be the center of the universe so that he always gets the glory.
  • When Jesus came to earth he first sermon was “Repent, for the kingdom of God is at hand.” Rather than accept Jesus as the king, the nation rejected him and requested the Romans to crucify him on the charge that he was a fake king.
  • The rejection resulted in a delay of the kingdom, but it is a kingdom still promised. I think this prayer request reminds us that our desire should be for the time when Jesus comes again to rule.
  • We would rather have time to see our children trust Christ.
  • We would rather have time to get to a particular stage in life and THEN Jesus can return.
  • We are asking that righteousness would be the standard even in the evil world in which we live.
  • At a minimum, it suggests that we should know God’s will. There are several places in the Word that explain God’s will and desires for our lives.
  • But more than just knowing it, this request is asking the Lord, by his grace, to help us live it.
  • There is a battle there.
  • It is yes, Lord I want your will. But sometimes your will is really hard and I don’t want to still be in it.
  • One day it seems easy to follow the Lord while the next day is incredibly difficult.
  • Every single time is a refocusing on God’s will.
  • There was a temptation to do valuable things, but not the mission he was given.
  • Even after his prayer in the Garden and God clearly reveals that the cup of suffering will not pass, Jesus then pursues God’s will. He does not simply accept it, he pursues it.
  • We might be concerned about our retirement, we might be concerned about paying for college education, but most of us are not wondering if we will eat today.
  • We can recognize that every gift we have (health, intellect, job, finances, friends, family) is a gracious provision of the Lord.
  •  Throughout Christianity people have confessed the many ways that God provided for them. In the NT period, many people were paid daily and the amount they were paid barely covered the food for the day. One day out of work was a day that food would be difficult to come by.
  • But one of the things that I am especially thankful for is that while we are in a position where the stock market is killing it, unemployment is so low that you basically have to not want a job not to have one, one of our expressions of dependence is giving.
  • We will use the money exactly as promised, but now that there is some left over, there is the opportunity to do additional work in Haiti and Latin America.
  • I think the Lord was honored by that kind of special giving that says, “we understand that everything we have comes from the Lord.”
  • We would rather have something to hold against someone rather than to free them from it.
  • We have to go before the Lord by ourselves and cry out to him about our hurts and ask for his grace not to allow those hurts to define us. A man named St. Francis of Assisi understood the essence of this request. Notice carefully his words….
  • It requires a recognition of our own weaknesses and our propensity to move in certain directions of evil.
  • The response to that knowledge is to ask God to move us toward righteousness instead.
  • Rather than allow his flourishing ministry to dominate his existence, he slipped away and dismissed crowds in order to be alone with the Father.
  • Then when he taught his disciples he showed that proper prayer includes a community element … we are not asking solely for ourselves but for our brothers and sisters as well.
  • Our focus is first on the Lord his name, his kingdom, and his will.
  • Then our focus turns to humankind our need of provisions, our need for be forgiving, and our need to move away from temptation and to righteousness.

Is this a normal part of our prayers in the quiet moments of our lives? Are we asking that God work in our lives to make more of him and less of us?

2. That we would desire His coming Kingdom (v. 10)

This request is not about God’s universal sovereignty for that will always be in force. This request is more specific.

Yet sometimes we struggle wanting that … we would rather have time to get married.

This prayer reorients our thoughts about the future and reminds that the Lord and his coming kingdom should be the center of our priority.

3. That we would follow His will (v. 10)

This request centers on God’s will being done. The ethics of the kingdom given throughout the sermon on the mount emphasize righteousness.

Thus, this request places obligations on us.

Have you ever been in a situation that was difficult but you also knew it was the will of God?

Friends, that is why we need to be alone praying. Earlier I spoke about the 3 times Mark records Jesus praying.

If the Bible records Jesus as needing to pray to do the will of God, then surely that is the case for us. Get in your closet and ask God to help you want and pursue his will.

D. Three Petitions related to Man

After we have thought properly about our great God then we turn our attention to our own needs and the needs around us.

  • That God would provide for our needs
  • That we would be a forgiving person
  • That we would be led away from temptation and toward righteousness

Let’s face it, we are living in a day and age where the concern for daily sustenance is hardly at the forefront of most of our minds.

But that does not mean we cannot live dependent lives on the Lord?

He does not owe us those gifts.

God would not be unjust to take us back to those days.

Last week the Haiti offering was off the charts. Over $50,000.

Maybe, God will use us to be an answer to their prayers, “Give us this day our daily bread.”

The reason that we have to forgive is that someone hurt us. But there are times when we, in moments of hurt, would rather have revenge.

That is why we have to pray. We have to ask God to give us this heart of forgiveness.

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.

Where there is hatred, let me sow love;

Where there is injury, pardon; …

O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek

To be consoled as to console,

To be understood as to understand,

To be loved as to love.

For it is in giving that we receive,

It is in pardoning that we are pardoned,

And it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.

The final request asks God to lead us away from temptation and thus in the direction of righteousness.

When is the last time you prayed for that?

Friends, the gospels explain not only Jesus’ teaching about prayer, but also some of the times he actually prayed.

Being alone with the Father not only gave him the opportunity to focus on the Lord, but to pray about crucial decisions and ministry.

May God help us pray more effectively as we watched Jesus Alone in Prayer.

 


Rob Green

B.S. - Engineering Physics, Ohio State University
M.Div. - Baptist Bible Seminary
Ph.D. - New Testament, Baptist Bible Seminary

Pastor Rob Green and his wife, Stephanie, joined the Faith staff in August, 2005.  Rob’s responsibilities include oversight of the Faith Biblical Counseling Ministry and teaching New Testament at the Faith Bible Seminary. He serves on the council board of the Biblical Counseling Coalition and as a fellow at the Association of Certified Biblical Counselors.

Read Rob Green's Journey to Faith for the full account of how the Lord led Pastor Green to Faith Church.