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Foundations for Effective Prayer

Destined for Victory / Pastor Paul Sheppard
The Truth Network Radio
January 18, 2021 7:00 am

Foundations for Effective Prayer

Destined for Victory / Pastor Paul Sheppard

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January 18, 2021 7:00 am

The practical ways Jesus taught His followers to communicate with God; worshiping and honoring God as we pray; based on Matthew 6:5-9. (Included in the 5-part series "Foundations for Effective Prayer".)

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Come on somebody. Got a wonderful relationship. Everything's going. You're all clicking on all cylinders. You pray.

You're sick of one another. You still pray. And that's what you want to learn to do. Be a person who prays all the time because God is ready to manifest His glory in your life and so you need to develop an effective prayer life. Get an audience with the Almighty on this Monday edition of Destined for Victory with Pastor Paul Shepherd. Hello and thanks for tuning in. Well communication is the foundation for any healthy relationship.

In your marriage, with your friends and family, even with your boss and your co-workers, honest and open dialogue is a critical element in achieving relational or vocational success. It's the same way in your relationship with God. And today Pastor Paul wants to help you build or perhaps rebuild a solid foundation of prayer. Stay right here or listen online anytime at pastorpaul.net.

You can also subscribe to the podcast at pastorpaul.net, at Apple Podcasts, or wherever you go to download podcasts. And be sure to stay tuned after the message when Pastor Paul joins me in the studio. But first let's join him for today's Destined for Victory message, Foundations for Effective Prayer. Now I want to continue in the prayer theme and specifically what I want to do is talk to you about developing an effective prayer life. As I said in the previous part of the series, not if you pray, but when you pray. And I want to encourage some of you who don't come from a prayer background to learn to get comfortable praying on a regular basis in your life. You need to make prayer part of your everyday ongoing experience. You don't want to become a person who only prays nine one one prayers. You ever met the type that some folk only pray, you know they in trouble because they praying.

The people who know you ought to not know what's going on because you pray all the time. In the good times you pray. In the bad times you pray. Things going well you pray. Things going lousy you pray. Got money you pray. Broke you pray.

Come on somebody. Got a wonderful relationship. Everything's going. Y'all clicking on all cylinders you pray. Y'all sick of one another you still pray. And that's what you want to learn to do. Be a person who prays all the time because God is ready to manifest his glory in your life and so you need to develop an effective prayer life.

So here's what I want to do. I want to just talk you through a couple of keys that Jesus gave us for praying effectively. The first key is found here in Matthew chapter six. Go there if you have your Bible.

I want to give you two practical keys for developing an effective prayer life. Matthew's gospel chapter six. And the first thing I want to do is look with you at verses five and six. Matthew's gospel chapter six verses five and six. Jesus is speaking. He says, and when you pray you shall not be like the hypocrites for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the corners of the streets that they may be seen by men.

Assuredly I say to you they have their reward but you when you pray go into your room and when you have shut your door pray to your father who is in secret or some translation say the secret place and your father who sees in secret will reward you openly. So the first key I want to give you because I want everybody to learn how to pray even if you don't come from a prayer background I want you to be comfortable. You can't be a good follower of Christ and you can't experience God's glory and God's best in your life until you become used to being a praying person. And the first key is converse with God exclusively. That's the first thing Jesus teaches us here. Converse with God exclusively.

What do I mean by that? Even if other people are present they might hear you pray but you're not praying to them you are praying to God. In other words you have an audience of one when you pray.

Others might listen in but it's like you're on the phone with somebody you might be in the room but I'm not talking to you I'm talking on the phone. That's what prayer is. You might be there and hear me pray but I'm not talking to you I'm talking to the audience of one that really matters and that is God himself. I want you to understand what Jesus is saying here look again at verse five he said when you pray don't be like the hypocrites who's he's talking about religious people of his day.

The Pharisees and such would go out into public places he goes on to explain such as standing in the synagogue and also on the corner of the streets and that's where they would do their praying. Now look at what Jesus said they had their reward because their purpose in praying openly and in those conspicuous places is to be seen by other people. I want you to learn to pray not for the purpose of other folk knowing that you pray I want you to learn to develop prayer as a pattern in your life because you come to understand I am touching God himself when I pray. Now Jesus isn't saying you can't pray around other people that's not the point at all he's saying understand when you pray you might pray around people but you're talking to God.

These religious people that he rebukes in this passage are folks who want to be seen their whole motive is I want folk to think I am so spiritual. I want people to think that I'm really close with God and so really it is not about the audience of one it is about being seen of men. I came to tell you God doesn't care that you pray around other people but he wants to make sure you know you're talking to him and that he is the one who matters because to be seen of people Jesus said you have your reward whatever they think you got your reward. But how many know when I pray I need a reward from heaven I need God in heaven to hear me and answer me because God in heaven can do for me what none of these raggedy people around me can do. Why am I going to pray and try to impress you?

What you have for me? If you say oh he's so spiritual doesn't matter because if my heart's not right you can think I'm spiritual and God is looking at me saying mmm. I dare to tell you some of the folk you think are spiritual they are not what you think they are because man looks on the outward appearance but God looks on the heart and I hope you understand it's not important what people think of you it is important what God knows about you. So Jesus makes this statement because he wants to contrast people whose motive is to be seen of men against people whose motive is to be heard by God. And I don't know about you but I want a heavenly hearing when I pray. And he's not rebuking that when he says go into your your secret place and shut the door he's not giving you a legalistic standard like make sure nobody's listening to you when you pray.

No that's not the point at all. Look right through the scriptures there are times when people prayed and others were gathered with them. One person let out in prayer but they represented the hearts of all the people. Nothing wrong with that. That's what we do in church.

We have one person lead the main prayer in the service so that all of us can unite our faith together and agree with that prayer. Jesus isn't rebuking that. You can pray around people but you can't be praying to be seen of people. You get the difference because at the end of the day the people don't have anything that you could really use. If they think you're wonderful that's cause they don't know you. That's just the truth.

We just need to quit tripping. The people who think we're all that that's proof you don't really know me. Cause I'm some of that but I'm not all that. People who think you're all that they don't really know you. You're some of that and then you're some of some other stuff.

Oh I wish I'd get some folk in here to be honest for just a little while. Yes you do have your strengths. Yes you do have your great points. Yes there are some things about you that are bomb to be sure. But there's some other stuff about you that if God in heaven doesn't help you, doesn't do something for you, you are a mess on two feet.

You might as well just be honest. Quit thinking you're all that. You're some of that.

Next time you introduce yourself to somebody, hi I'm some of that. We're coming right back with more of today's Destined for Victory message from Pastor Paul Shepherd, senior pastor at Destiny Christian Fellowship in Fremont, California. If you love this program we know you'll enjoy watching Pastor Paul's best video clips on YouTube. Subscribe to Pastor Paul there or visit pastorpaul.net for links to all of his social media. That's pastorpaul.net where you'll also find a host of great resources at our online store. In your tithes and offerings, in your thought life and in your prayer life, the true test of your character is defined by what you do when no one else is watching.

Here's Pastor Paul with the rest of today's Destined for Victory message, foundations for effective prayer. You're not all that, but you're some. The Bible says don't think more highly of yourself than you are. Then it says to think soberly. Doesn't it say that in Romans 12? Think soberly about yourself. So the Bible doesn't say you got to have low self esteem, oh I'm nothing, I'm pitiful, I'm poor. No, doesn't say that. You can acknowledge your strong points.

I'm really good in this area. Thank God. You can give God the glory. He's blessed me to be this or that or the other. But then just know there's some other stuff you don't necessarily want to talk to folk about.

So let's just leave it at this. So Jesus is saying it's not that people can't be around, but your motive has to be to be heard in heaven. In fact, before he gets to this point in Matthew 6, Jesus says the same thing about your giving. Jesus says when you give your alms, don't do it to be seen of people.

Same principle. You can give offerings publicly. In fact, you should because we got to receive the Lord's offering so we collectively can advance the kingdom through our giving. They did it in the early church.

They pulled their resources so that they could take care of the needs of the people coming into the family of God in the days of the early church. And so there's nothing wrong with people knowing your giving. We take offerings and it doesn't have to be secret. Jesus even watched folk give. Do you know how the reason he was able to say about the widow who gave a mite? He said she gave more than all of y'all. Now how would Jesus know that if he wasn't looking at the offering while she gave it?

She just outgave y'all. Why? Because he looking. It's not that you can't give publicly. In fact, in a local ministry like the one I pastor, we need you to be on the record giving because we need to know who we can count on, who is advancing the kingdom through their giving so that we can know that you are a member in good standing. I need to know you come regularly. I need to know that you're willing to serve in the kingdom to help us do the ministries and I need to know that you will give faithfully so that we can advance the kingdom collectively through our giving. That's what we call in our church a member in good standing. I'm telling you right now, don't write me needing a reference. Pastor, I need a reference and you don't give on the record, you don't come all the time and you don't serve any time.

Don't call me asking for a reference because I'm going to write the people you need the reference from and say I don't know. I need to be able to say no, no, he or she gives faithfully, they're here regularly, they attend regularly and they serve, they help us, they pray, they support. That's a member in good standing. If you're not that, you're just a member on paper.

Amen. Be on the record. It's not so you can brag, I don't want the credit.

Fine. You don't need to get any credit, but I need to know if I'm a steward, then I'm accountable for stewardship and the Bible says all of us are stewards. Everybody is a steward and therefore you want to be counted on. You want to be somebody we can rely on and so don't do that false piety. No, no, I don't give. That's why I don't give.

Use the envelopes. You might end up with a benevolence need. Pastor, can the church help me? I'm going through a crisis right now.

Can the church help me? I'm going to say I don't know. Because I don't know if you are sowing, serving, giving, I don't know you. Who Pastor type buddy right today? I don't know you because you haven't let us know.

Be on the record. It's a wonderful privilege to help you because you are one of the people we count on to move forward. Not that we wouldn't assist somebody who's brand new in some way that we can do it, but the fact of the matter is develop a track record.

You see what I'm saying? Because people have to know you. It's a principle. It's just a principle of stewardship and it is true in the kingdom of God and so we talked about giving in the first several verses of Matthew six and then here in verses five and six he talks about praying and he says converse with God exclusively. People can be around, but how many know there are some things you need to pray about and people don't need to hear that. Have y'all got to the place where there's some stuff you need to say to God and you look round first, see if anybody in the house.

Because I need to talk to him about some things that are so close to my heart. Some of them are delicate situations and you can't afford to be overheard. So sometime, okay, I'm in here now, but I don't know if somebody, because some of y'all have a house somebody could slip into and you never heard them. Some prayers then you need to pray in near the door. So if anybody, if you hear a key in there, I'll talk to you, I'll finish talking to you about this Jesus later.

I'm not telling y'all what I think, I'm telling you what I've done. You have them people slipping on you and they catch you in one of those real situations and you pouring out your heart. When you say amen, you open your eyes and they look at you. Listen, there are times when you got a best thing for you to do, get in your car and drive somewhere and pray. I'm trying to help you develop an effective prayer life. Get in your car, drive somewhere, talk to God.

I'm serious, y'all. There are going to be times you got to get as far away from people as you can. Why? Because I got to pour out my heart to God. So to develop an effective prayer life, you want to converse with God exclusively. Make sure even if people are present, there's an audience of one.

It's okay for people to be present, but make sure you know who you're talking to. You want to pray real prayers. You want to get through to heaven. And so let God hear from you exclusively.

You know that he is the audience of one. If other people are around, they can agree in prayer if they want or not, doesn't matter. And when prayer becomes effective and regular in your life, it's almost like breathing. You get into prayer all the time. It's nothing special for me to pray because I'm in prayer mode all the time. I'm talking to God all the time. And that's why it's not a religious practice.

It's just what I do. I'm getting ready to eat. He provided, the Bible says learn to appreciate the fact that he provided this for you and you give thanks as you get ready to eat.

That's what grace was. If some of us little Sunday school children would tell you all who didn't grow up in church, we were taught to pray these little prayers over your food because they were just getting us into the habit of prayer. How many of y'all learned to pray as a child going to bed? Now I lay me down to sleep.

Stuff like that. Pray to Lord my soul to keep. If I should die before I wake, pray to Lord my soul to take. They were just teaching us how to engage God. I pray at night now but I don't say those words.

Why? Because that was just getting me in the habit of talking to God. When we prayed over food as kids. God is great. God is good and we thank him for this food. By his hand we all are fed. Give us Lord our daily bread. Amen. Chow down. They were teaching us thank God for the food and to pray and recognize him and then pray. See what I'm saying?

Doesn't matter what your words are, it matters where your heart is. And you don't have to be a religious terrorist. If you're dining with people who don't pray, don't make everybody in the table pray. I touch it.

You ever met those kind of people like that? They terrorize the table. You don't have to do that. I'm going to pray over my food. If everybody at the table knows the Lord and we can say, hey, y'all want to stop and pray?

Good, because I know it's not going to be a problem. But sometimes I'm dining with people, they don't know the Lord. I'm not going to make them pray and if we're in talk, they can keep on their talk. And I bow my head and I just pray over my food.

And it's up to them whether they pray over theirs. I'm covering this. This is blessed. This right here, I'm getting ready to eat. This blessed. Y'all good luck.

You see what I'm saying? I hope you're blessed. I know this is blessed. You know why I'm praying over here?

It's not religious. It's because I don't know who's back there in that kitchen. I don't know what kind of day they had. I don't know what they're going through. I don't know who they mad at.

You know, if they back there and they don't care one way or the other what happens today. And then I'm about to put it in my mouth. I need to talk to God. God bless this. The inference is if they put something in here that's not supposed to be, intentionally or inadvertently, take it out, Lord.

Neutralize its impact. Amen. Shoot, I'm not going to put myself in your hands. I'm putting myself in the Lord's hands. And so you have to learn to pray. Pray about everything and make it normative.

And the way to do that is always know I'm talking to an audience of one. Thanks so much for being here for today's Destined for Victory with Pastor Paul Shepherd. This message, Foundations for Effective Prayer, as well as any recent message from Pastor Paul can be found on demand at pastorpaul.net.

That's pastorpaul.net. And Pastor Paul Shepherd joins me now from his studio in California. Well, here we are at the beginning of a new year and Pastor, this is always a time for reflection and setting new goals. Are you ready for the new year after what we went through in 2020?

What do you think? I can't wait to get into 2021. Boy, this has been some year. Tell our listeners what God has put on your heart as we start 2021. Well, as we begin the broadcast year, they'll hear me open with a couple of messages where I'm just kind of setting our focus and helping us to realize that we must keep eternity in view. And I go back to the resurrection of Christ.

The reason why he was raised from the dead was to give us life abundant and eternal. And I set our focus there. And then you'll hear me begin to teach on the matter of prayer, because if we're going to get through 2021, we're only going to do it through prayer. We got to get through the rest of this pandemic and all of its fallout and it's going to take prayer. And we need to make sure prayer is always firing the winning shot saying, Lord, we don't have the power, but you have the power to help us get through this.

And so I'm looking forward to helping people refocus and helping us center ourselves in things that are most important. Prayer and keeping an eternal perspective are among them. I'm reminded of the words of 20th century Christian apologist C.S. Lewis, aim at heaven and you'll get earth thrown in.

Aim at earth and you'll get neither. Thanks for that great reminder Pastor Paul as we head into this new year. Helping people keep their focus on Jesus is what Destined for Victory is all about, but we can't do it without your help. And as our way of saying thanks for your generous gift this month, we'll be happy to send you Pastor Paul's booklet, It Pays to Serve Jesus. As you dive into this resource from Pastor Paul, you'll be encouraged to remember that every promise God makes is a promise God keeps. Again this booklet is called It Pays to Serve Jesus and it's our gift to you by request for your generous gift to Destined for Victory today. So call us at 855-339-5500 to give your gift over the phone or mail it to Destined for Victory Post Office Box 1767 Fremont, California 94538.

And of course you can also make a safe and secure donation on our website PastorPaul.net. Here's the way Jesus put it in Matthew 7. Ask and it shall be given. Seek and ye shall find. Knock and the door will be opened.

What's the inference? If you don't seek, don't expect to receive. If you don't seek, don't expect to find it. If you don't knock, nobody's going to open the door. You haven't shown that you are proactive in seeking. That's tomorrow in Pastor Paul Shepherd's message, Foundations for Effective Prayer. Until then remember, he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion. In Christ, you are destined for victory.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-01-02 23:25:50 / 2024-01-02 23:35:02 / 9

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