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December 3, 2020 1:00 am
In the race of life, success with God depends on time spent with Him in secret—time given to the discipline of prayer. For many, prayer is mysterious, especially private prayer. Let’s learn what secret praying is all about.Click here to listen (Duration 25:02)
One race is looking to Jesus and perfecter in the race of life success with God on time. Time given discipline rare for many prayer is mysterious, especially private prayer to find out what secret praying is all about.
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This is Remington with Windows server whose clear teaching make it across the finish line. Estimates are your teaching us about sharing secrets with God.
I believe you're turning to Matthew chapter 6 today. Yes, Dave, and I'm speaking about secret praying.
Jesus said that we should go into the closet in the heavenly father who sees in secret will reward us openly. All I pray that God will help us to know that truth and it might sink deeply into our hearts. But before we go their own ask you a question. Was there a worldwide flood door was the flood local. How should we understand that does the fossil record fit into the Bible. How do we understand dinosaurs do they fit into the creation story of these questions, and a whole lot more are contained in a book entitled a closer look at the evidence written by two scientists now this book has 365 devotionals complete with beautiful pictures. It would be a tremendous blessing. It'll be a great opportunity for you to grow spiritually to be rewarded for your faith and will help those around you as they open it up.
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Now let's go to the words of Jesus about praying in that closet, praying takes work only desperate people pray that's why God keeps bringing enough trials into our life to make us desperate enough so that we will seek his face is another reason why prayer is so difficult and that is we are praying to an invisible being a little different if we are conversing together because we understand that but God can't be seen.
And so sometimes our minds wander and hopefully before this message is over. I'll give you some suggestions on how to take care of that. But our minds tend to wander and we begin to wonder whether this invisible being is actually watching us and listening to us now.
Prayer is emphasized in the Bible and the rabbis emphasized prayer. One of them said he who prays within his house surrounds it with a wall that is stronger than iron.
The problem was that during Christ time. The whole idea of prayer had really disintegrated into something that was not only displeasing to God but perfectly nauseating to him and the reason for this was because the prayers were formalized. You memorized them. Shammai Yisrael I deny the king at the night hero, Israel, the Lord our God is one Lord that was recited in the morning.
That was excitement recited again in the evening. In fact they knew when to recited in the morning because they were told the people were told that when it is light enough for you to be able to distinguish the colors. That's the time that you say that prayer I became old but they kept doing it. And then, in addition to that there were out all kinds of prayers up to 18 of them that were recited and it was almost like an incantation or a spell. People just did it by route.
They just did it because that's what you do. Another reason is because of the repairs for all occasions. There were prayers went lightning the repairs. When I pondered there were prayers that were used at meals. There were prayers that were used when not you are in difficulty prayers when you were joyful and so there was a circumstance and people would say to one another will what prayer shall we use for this and you imagine thinking of prayer in those terms. In addition to that there were set times for prayer, much like the Muslims have today ended tendency too long prayers because they thought that if we bang on God's door long enough, surely he will hear and maybe he can even be pestered into hearing.
Then, in addition to that there were people who were praying to be seen by others. You know Jesus will refer to this in the sixth chapter of Matthew, which is the passage we shall turn to in a moment, but there were those you know who pretended that they were so spiritual they couldn't even make it to the synagogue before they were praying and and so they just prayed on the steps of the synagogue and everybody walked by and thought my goodness he couldn't even make it another 20 feet.
He was so godly he had to pray right there and there were others who prayed in the marketplace.
You know the Jews when they prayed they lift their hands to heaven. Their palms toward God. Their head is bowed down and they would pray like this standing in the corners of the streets and in the marketplaces, and therefore a show Jesus said they would make a long prayers you imagine anything more nauseating than that to God and as well as to the people really not in that context that Jesus Christ offers some very important instruction regarding prayer Jesus think you took the heart out of it. You missed the point you will you don't understand what prayer is all about.
And so I invite you to turn to the sixth chapter of the book of Matthew where Jesus discusses this in more detail. You know where speaking about secrets in the Christian life. And last time I spoke about secret giving. This time I speak about secret praying and I might say that this message could totally change your life forever. If you and I listen to it carefully and that if we obeyed the suggestions that I'm going to be giving some of you who have struggled with addiction. Some of you have problems in your life that God doesn't seem to solve a down deeply ingrained habits that that you can't get rid of this would do it if we really took this seriously this message along with the next one that is going to be on secret fasting. If we put the two of them together. You'll notice what Jesus says in verse five of Matthew six and when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by man I tell you the truth they have received their reward in full. They prayed to be noticed. People notice them and the deal but when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your father who is on the scene. Then your Father, who sees what you have done in secret will reward you. First of all, Jesus said pray secretly pray secretly that doesn't mean that we can pray publicly Jesus pray publicly the disciples pray publicly. But what Jesus is saying, most assuredly, please don't pray publicly unless you first of all, pray privately because our public prayer should be the expression of the secret prayers that we offer to God and make sure above all things to pray secretly why secretly number one because it helps keep our motives pure, because when we're praying in secret in the closet with the door closed were not praying that others would hear as were not praying, hoping that the members of her family will find us.
We are there. Simply because we want to be and it's between us and God and so we do that in order that we might keep our motives.
We also do it to to develop intimacy. That relationship, you know, there are times there are times when three is a crowd there are times like that and I want you to know that there are times in our relationship with God when when it's just us and God. As we go into the depths of our soul and tell God things that we could never tell anybody else get to the closets of the hardware. All of the things are hidden and we drag it out in God's presence.
We honestly tell him exactly how we feel and we begin to develop those secrets with him those good secrets of times of fellowship that we don't even have to explain to anyone else, and it happens there in private. You heard me quoted before, haven't you, my God and I walk the fields together.
We walk and talk as good friends should and do we clasp our hands, our voices rang with a laugh. Dirt, my God, and I we walk the Meadows through. There are some things that you can share only with God there in the closet you develop that kind of intimacy. Jesus said when you pray on your closet shut the door, pray secretly he said, pray, expect them play pray expectantly. You'll notice that the text goes on to say this, and when you pray, go into your room and closing Jesus said in verse seven, and when you pray, do not keep on babbling like the pagans were they think they will be heard because of their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you have need of before you ask, you know, the pagans have been paying the repetition and then they keep talking and babbling you member in the story of Elijah on Mount caramel. That's what they did the pagans cry to bail for 1/2 day, they kept saying here is old male hero. So bail here is old male hero. So bail Jesus at don't be like that they can be like that because they have to say that because males not listening when you talk to God he's listening.
If I may use the marriage illustration and take it a step further. You know some of us who are married. We know that when our wives talked was there to tell us the same thing again and maybe again in Navy again and maybe some of you guys are laughing and you know right well that that's you have a good reason to laugh and I heard an amen. Even from the choir and breeze. There is a man with so-so dad who hasn't listened to his wife say something like this. How many times do I have to tell you, or you weren't listening last time.
That's the way we are, but that's not the way God is not like that when his bride his people talk to him. He's listening and and therefore we don't have to use vain repetition now that does not mean that we can't mention the same request. More than once Jesus did that to the disciples did that folded that he said I besought the Lord three times that he might take this thorn away from me that's not the point. But what Jesus is saying is realize that when you pray God is immediately list. Thank you don't have to keep repeating the same thing. Why, because number one. He is very good years very good ears. He is listening and he is listening very carefully. In him we live and we move and we have our being. And God is there a clause. Also, it's because God has a good memory why you have to mention him again.
He remembers what you said yesterday. He's not like your husband. Ladies just cheer up Gerard please not that way. God knows any any understands. And then Jesus adds these very very beautiful words that ought to bless and warm our hearts, he says in verse eight do not be like them, for your Father knows what you have before you ask him. You come before the Lord and God already knows exactly what's on your heart. He understands the situation fully. It is not have to do any research to be caught up to date as to what is happening. You do not have to go to him again and again and again on the same issue as if he's not listening and can't remember what it is that you mentioned yesterday.
He's not like that he is God all knowledge old memory. All and all and and he's with us right there and that's why you can come before God and sometimes not use words don't always have to say things in God's presence. Sometimes you simply come and you simply rest in the Lord and you meditate on his promises.
And that's all that you do and that's all that you need because he that's what you need is prayer is the soul's sincere desire or unexpressed. The motion of the hidden fire that trembled beneath the breast you have a father cares about you. So how do we pray we pray secretly we pray expect Bentley we nobody's listening and we also pray thoughtfully, thoughtfully and here Jesus gives us a pattern for prayer, which is sometimes referred to as the Lord's prayer, and it's the Lord's prayer because he taught us to pray this way but strictly speaking, it is in his prayers.
The disciples prayer because he would never have to pray, forgive us our debts as we forgive those who have the debts against us and and so we wouldn't have to. He doesn't have to pray that way, but he's giving us a pattern for prayer and he didn't intend that this short prayer be memorized though.
It's fine to memorize it and to be recited regularly. He just said don't have vain repetition is that even there is a danger in memorized prayers. I think sometimes prayers can be memorized. Purse can sometimes be read and that's fine because there are ideas that you want to form and you want to form them properly and and that's fine but if there's no hard can it if this is just if this is just a prayer you're looking up what page it's on, you missed the whole point.
And so Jesus said at pray after this manner, pray in this way, he did not cite pray these word I wanted like to do in the next few moments is to give you a pattern for prayer based on what Jesus revealed to us that could be life transforming.
You know here at Moody church. We have what is known as the prayer wall. The prayer wall means that in addition to your regular praying that there is one hour a week designated when you especially need to the Lord just set aside and this time is for God.
Some of you are on that parable and perhaps your discouraged others of you have never signed up. I bet some people say will you know I pray a lot more than that. Why should I even be on the parable and I say will God bless you will get a special for you folks but there a lot of people here you've never signed up and you don't plan to. And I'll tell you why you say yourself, what on earth would God and I do together for a whole hour that's what you're thinking whole hour with a friend.
I mean, that's one thing but a whole hour with an invisible God.
What would be due. Don't we need to do.
We need to take some lessons from some of the folks who have preceded us some of the godly people you know what they would when they were in that closet they would always bring a Bible and a hymnal, a Bible and a hymnal absolutely essential for that hour. Your soul wants to be blessed, and if you want to honor the Lord.
Let me give you the pattern that Jesus at first of all, there is adoration, adoration, our father in heaven, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in, you'll notice that first of all, Jesus refers to dogs name our father and the Greek word is really the Aramaic which is really daddy or Poppa. And here's where you have the intimacy with God. The recognition that if you being evil, know how to give good gifts on your children, how much more shall your heavenly Father give good gifts unto you. God is really good. Now we see ourselves in distress we see on answered prayer with a heart ache and immediately we begin to think that God is not good and that's what keeps us from from really seeking him, we say well how do I know if at the end of the time of seeking him I'm going to get what I want all comment on that in just a moment, but I want you to know that all true prayer for the believer begins with the recognition that we are talking about an infinite being the universe 20 billion years across and God much greater than the universe God infinite and and were talking about him and were saying to him. Father father you'll notice father who art in heaven. Yes, although he's in heaven but is also on earth these transcendent and he is imminent as the theologians tell in India was a missionary who said that he saw people tapping on a tree or tapping on a stone and whispering, are you in there.
Are you in there because of the pantheism that nature is God, and objects are God and what you have is therefore the idea that God resides in wealth will yes we as Christians believe that God resigns in but is also independent of the universe, and therefore he is our father in heaven and he's also our father on earth and we don't have to tap to see whether or not he's there is immediately present to us and so we say how low would be thy name. Thy name be honored by name is holy. Now notice under adoration. We are first of all, the name of God the name of God and what you can do is set during this time that you are there in the closet spending your hour with God. You can meditate on his names. Their various books and various hopes that remind us of all of the names of God as to who he is. You'll notice the kingdom of God dying that I, your kingdom, and we are praying not merely for the present kingdom of God and the future kingdom. The millennial kingdom which is maybe what Jesus had in mind here, but the eternal rule of God and what weird praying when we say those words are reciting the Lord first.
We are praying for the rule of God in the hearts of people. Isn't that what you pray for when you pray for the members and friends of Moody church when you pray for your staff and the elders of the leadership that you're praying for for the rule of God is sovereign work of God in the hearts of this people, your kingdom, and were also praying for the return of Jesus Christ to earth. The name of God the kingdom of God. The will of God, thy will be done on earth, even as it is in heaven. The will of God done in heaven.
I would think that the will of God would be done in heaven and end the will of God done in heaven. May it be so even on earth now theologically we have to distinguish between two different wills, there is the will of God that is always done on earth. God rules all things after the counsel of his own will and has to do with the providence of God. But there's another sense in which the will of God is not often done on earth that is the revealed will of God that we are to live by his precepts that we are to live in. In devotion to him and he'll goodness to him.
But what we're praying when we pray this is saying all God your wheel which is so perfectly done in heaven and so imperfectly carried on earth million we all God that the will of God be done here, just as it is being done there you see in this prayer adoration, yes, but you also see the submission that is involved here. The recognition of who we are in relationship to God is so what do you do when you're there in the closet. How do you and God get along for that hour. You begin to begin with adoration. Secondly, you begin with supplication, supplication, you'll notice that the text says give us today our daily bread, or perhaps as is prayed in City Hall. Every once in a while. Give us this day our daily. I'm sorry for that. I thought that was. I know that was a little better than it turned out to be, but what we say. Give us today our daily, our daily bread, our daily bread.
Now folks, as I look at this I can see for example believe the the detail the detail with which we can pray is not interested in what we eat is he interested in whether or not we get that low for the day. The answer is yes, yes.
Not one hair of your head falls out, but that God recognizes it and takes note of it. I know in my case he's been doing taking a lot of notes written right you glad that God looks upon his people. I see the details of the prayer.
I also see the faith that is involved because he's not saying, Lord, give me enough bread for the rest of the month or give me enough bread for the rest of the year. Art give me enough bread for retirement. What he saying is give us today our daily bread satisfies today and then you know you have to do tomorrow you have to do it all over again because today's bread does not last until tomorrow.
This is Pastor Luther that's certainly a lesson that God taught the Israelites is in the manner would get old. By the next day. Jesus is making a point and that point is simply this, that we should depend upon him daily.
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We answer the questions that listeners have. We want to see their faith deepened and to encourage people as we run the race of life. Thanks in advance for helping us if you would like to become an endurance partner that someone who stands with us regularly with their prayers and their gifts. Here's how you can find out more information.
You go to RTW offer.com. Let me give that to you again. RTW offer.com when you're there, click on the endurance partner button and it'll let you know and give you the information that you are seeking or if you prefer you can call us at 1-888-218-9337. Let me give you time to find that pan so that you can write this down 1-888-218-9337 you can write to us running to win 1635 N. LaSalle Boulevard Chicago, IL 60614 the Lord's prayer, Jesus showed us how to pray next time I'm running to win. We continue our look at the meaning latent in these sacred words and will gain insights on the way we should each approach God with our positions running to win is all about helping you understand God's roadmap for your race of life.
Thanks for listening for Dr. Erwin certain this is Dave Hollister running to win is sponsored by the Moody church