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Next Steps in Following Jesus: Prayer

The Verdict / John Munro
The Truth Network Radio
November 7, 2016 11:07 am

Next Steps in Following Jesus: Prayer

The Verdict / John Munro

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November 7, 2016 11:07 am

Dr. John H. Munro November 6, 2016 Matthew 6:7-14 To come before our Heavenly Father in prayer is a vital part of our personal relationship with God. Jesus gives His disciples specific instructions on prayer and demonstrates how prayer increases our faith and encourages us to live humbly before God, relying on Him for our daily needs.

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Lewis tells the story of a blind boy flying a kite's with the help of his father and someone watching this to ask the young boy the blind boy, what do you get out of this when you can't see the kites and the boys answer is a simple one.

I can see it's but I can feel the pool why pray to God that we can see one answer might be.

I can see what is happening, but I feel the pool.

It is true God is a spirit that we can see, but the impact of prayer in our lives and the lives of the world and lives of the church is incalculable. When we were in Israel. We saw the Jews praying at the Western wall. Some pictures of them. They are committed to pray largely reading prayers are some of the group praying at the Western Wall.

We also had over and over again throughout Israel and throughout Jordan. The call to prayer the Muslim call to prayer that we were in the land of prayer, a land where Jews pray a land where Muslims pray they are committed to pray. I saw when we were in Jordan behind a little stall. A woman on the carpet, praying the Muslim lady praying as they do five times a day and as I thought of the prayers of the Jews, and I thought of the prayers of the Muslims. I wondered why is it that we who follow Jesus, sometimes Paris so little in the series. The next step in following Jesus. The last time I spoke I spoke on the church today are subject is prayer and no one particularly to focus on your personal prayer life on what you are on your knees before God. You will never be a mature authentic follower of Jesus Christ.

Unless you have a vital prayer life.

I know all of us want to be Boys and Girls Club men and women of prayer, and I know that you sometimes feel guilty that you don't pray as you should but you sometimes think that your prayers are rather superficial, may be rather mechanical but we want to learn from the teaching of our Lord in this important subject of prayer. The only thing recorded in the Gospels that the disciples as Jesus to teach them was prayer they say and Luke 11 verse one Lord, teach us to pray and were going to think this morning. Very simply, of what the Lord says the Lord is going to teach us.

We should pray. Let stand and read the word of God visits find in Matthew chapter 6 verses seven through 14 reads with me from verse seven and when you pray, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do, for they think that they will be heard for their many words. Do not be like them, for your father knows what you need before you ask him pray then like this.

Our father 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 lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil. For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your father forgive your trespasses.

Please be seated. If you have your Bible open into that passage in Matthew chapter 6. Here is a biblical pattern for prayer.

First of all, we learn that we are to pray to our heavenly father. This is a command verse nine. Pray then like this. The command is to pray, Matthew six verse five and when you pray, verse six, but when you pray verse seven and when you pray, it is inconceivable that someone who is a follower of Jesus never prays as those who follow Jesus. We love Jesus. And when you love someone you love to speak to them going to join all of us here who are following Jesus Dupree. I'm sure there is not one person near who never prays, but the question is, is our prayer effective is our prayer environment is our prayer authentic throughout Scripture over and over again were commanded to pray. Luke 18 verse one. The art always to pray and not to lose heart. Many followers of Jesus are discouraged, we worry we Fred, one of the reasons is we are not praying cautions for verse two.

Paul says continue steadfast in prayer, being watchful and it with thanksgiving and then first Thessalonians 517 pray without ceasing, that is life is to be a life of prayer.

So this next step in following Jesus is not an optional extra prayer is commanded by God. Our enemy Satan himself hates it when we pray, but others are blessed we grow in their faith.

Others are blessed when we pray, the English Archbishop William Temple.

One said, people tell me that answers to prayer are merely coincidences. I can only reply that when I pray coincidences. Coincidences happen and when I start praying and they stop happening.

I hope you've noticed that in your life. But before dealing with the positives Jesus gives us a couple of negatives look back in verse five Matthew six verse five he says and when you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites, for they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners that they may be seen by others. Truly I say to you they have received the reward but when you pray going to your room and shut the door, pray to your Father who is in secret, and your father who sees in secret will reward you because prayer is a spiritual activity that is always the possibility that we become a bit hypocritical when we're praying. We pray to show off. We pray to impress others hear the Pharisees are accused of praying verse five that they may be seen by others. They stand in the synagogue, they stand in the junction in the street and there praying and there, praying not so much to pray to God but to impress others that can happen to us candidate was we pray we can pray with long and flowery language we can adopt a very pious look, we can adopt an ecclesiastical voice. We often hear much of why people do it according chapter and verse to God always find that very curious someone's praying to God and saying you know as Paul says in Ephesians 2, verses eight, nine, by grace are we saved as if doesn't God know that sometimes I forget that sometimes I think that we forget that were praying to God's and sometimes prayer can be an excuse to show our knowledge of Scripture on how spiritual we are Jesus is saying don't be hypocritical when you pray. Remember, your praying to God.

How tragic it is when we use our prayer to impress others know when you pray, pray in secret.

If you want to pray long, did it at home. Don't pray that you may be seen by others and then there's another negative in verse seven as we read when you pray, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do, for they think that they will be hard for their many words know prayer is not a mechanical recitation.

God isn't impressed by mindless repetition, not just going over and over pious platitudes and repeating something. Sometimes people constantly say the name Jesus Jesus Jesus or God. God God our father father father or just just just as if a sign of spirituality is used by constant repetition. Jesus says don't do that don't heap up empty phrases the Gentiles do, that they think will be hard for their many words.

So to negatives formulated in regards. Secondly, when you pray, don't engage in mindless repetition, but neither the positive Jesus gives us a pattern for prayer verse nine. Pray then like this.

Now this is not a prayer that we repeat mindlessly but here is a pattern of prayer noticed the first thing the Jesus says pray then like this are father in heaven the incredible the gods Almighty God the God that we were singing about is able to do all things that God is my heavenly father and father as the old King James says, who art in heaven. Here is the privilege of prayer that through faith in my Lord Jesus Christ, I become part of the family of God. John says as many as received him, to them he gave the authority to become children of God. And so now through faith in Christ. I am part of the family of God and God know is my heavenly father where the privilege pulses of children and heirs.

Heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ. This is the incredible privilege of praying the God of the universe is my heavenly father and at any time.

I can go before him.

That is an incalculable privilege with the trip to Israel. We went to Shiloh which is in the so-called West Bank and there and Shiloh was the first place for the tabernacle was pitched by Joshua Shiloh. It was the center of the nation geographically said about in the center of Israel. It was there that Hannah went and prayed for a little boy and God graciously answered her prayer and there was the tabernacle. We also stood on the temple mines in Jerusalem with the dome of the rockers, but where Solomon's Temple was Red Hat's Temple was the second Temple was and we thoughts that there was the holy of holies there's the outer court of the tabernacle, the outer court of the Temple and then there's the holy place and then there is the holy of holies, into which the high priest could only goal. Many times, once a year to think of the order to go in before the ark of the covenants, the symbol of the very presence of God but God was there that God was dwelling with these people symbolized in the ark of the covenant with the mercy seat over it and the high priest representing the nation 110 once a year, but now that cartoon that veil between the holy place in the holy of holies is no rents there is Chelsea reminded us that is this new covenant in wind of the great privileges of the new covenant is this that any time because God is my father. I can go into his presence. We take that almost for granted only this is the privilege of praying to heavenly father and then this is a privilege of love the concept of praying to God as father implies an intimate and loving relationship. Yes, here is the great God, he is God Almighty is L #he is the Alpha and the Omega, but now with this concept that this great eternal God, who in the beginning, created the heavens and the art that this God is not my father implies that needed this very loving and intimate relationship. Just as a child comes to father who loves her and is welcomed with open hands so we come in prayer to our loving father did you conspire when you're printing your praying to someone who loves you.

We've all had the experience of going to someone in the time of trouble, perhaps with a request, perhaps with a favor to ask them for help in his work. Speaking to the person we have that dreadful links dreadful experience that are not really interested in us. We think well of come to the wrong person.

This person doesn't really care as a frightful experience is needed, that we've all had that never ever happens when you come to God. In this privilege of prayer you understand your praying to someone who loves you your praying to someone who always always acts in your best interest.

Once the very best for you responding all things for good to those who love him. This is the privilege of prayer. This is a loving relationship and we come with boldness, boldness really is not a little presumptuous that you would come to your heavenly father with boldness, but that's it. This boldness flows from the relationship we have with God as our father as a boy I was never afraid to run to my father with some request. No other children couldn't do that. It would be thought of and appropriate for other children to go to my father, but he's my father. He loves me.

He cares for me. He knew, he knows me he loved me he welcomed me and I came with boldness that another child might think is an appropriate but know this is my dad's. I know this man.

He loves me and I come to him with boldness for the requests. Just as no my three grandchildren when they see me. What do they do they run to me. They fling themselves at me for forgetting how old or grand that is and that is a boldness.

There's a spontaneity there is a warm visitor why because of the relationship I have with them. What does the writer of Hebrews say in Hebrews 4, verse 16. Let us then with confidence or with boldness draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace in a time of need that this throne is not the throne of condemnation.

This is not a throne of judgment. This is a throne of grace, that when I need help I go to my heavenly father I pray my father who is in heaven. It is with confidence and I receive mercy. I find grace in my time of need. Why, then, brother.

Do you know pray more.

Why are we so casual and lackadaisical in our prayer life. It's a privilege is a loving relationship. It's one that we come to God with boldness and also there is security is my father.

Some of you who were raised in very insecure families will your father was very distant from your for some of you. You never even knew your father. Perhaps her father was hardly ever there for you. Some of you come from even more situations for your father was cruel, who was abusive, who was a bad father without heavenly father is different is better than the best Ashley father when I come to my father in prayer. I never need to wonder if you listen to me.

I never need to wonder if he's too busy for me. He never says John Galway and come back out.

I do other things on my mind up. I'll deal with this later.

I don't want to hear from you at this point he never does that never rejects me. I'm accepted in his son. Paul says that in Ephesians 1 Imus I'm accepted in the beloved.

But I'm an ear of God. I'm a joint heir with Christ. I'm blessed with every spiritual blessing in my heavenly father loves it when I come to him on a security or security.

You know there's nothing in this world, but even the bad election that can stop that this is one of the greatest greatest privileges we have and also it reminds us, doesn't it, that we are part of the family of God we have a family. He is a perfect father my earthly father was a good father he was a godly man but he wasn't able to give me everything I asked him I sometimes disagreed with his judgment. He sometimes misunderstood me. Sometimes being part of a large family. When I wanted to speak certainly was not available. That was all true but what a difference. Our heavenly father does the notice verse eight Jesus says your father.

That should heavenly father knows what you need before you ask, I like that before I come and articulate to my heavenly father. What I need. He already knows that you know that sometimes with your children or sometimes with your grandchildren before they come in.

I scared you already know what they need. You know their needs better than they do. Heavenly father always knows what I need before I asked him and he loves the loves when we ask him for good things. Look at chapter 7 verse seven is Jesus continues on what we call the sermon on the Mount. He says in verse seven of chapter 7 ask and it will be given to your seek and you will find knock and it will be open to you a SK asked, seek, knock, why don't you ask God for that.

Good thing, why don't you seek that. Why don't you knock for everyone who asks receives the one who seeks finds the one who knocks it will be open or which one of you, if his son asked him for Brad will give him a stone or if he asked for a fish, will give him a serpent.

If you then you were evil, know how to give good gifts to your children on June how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him something to think about couldn't be that you've not received a blessing from God because you've never asked. Here you are, when you're in a dilemma. You want God's guidance, but you've never asked God for guidance. Here you are in the situation and you and you feeling incapable, you feel so weak and you've never rise God for strength.

Heavenly father invites us to ask. He invites us to seek. He invites us to knock the point is keep praying to your heavenly father. That's where the little child us. Sometimes the child keeps asking us for a request and that drives us crazy doesn't it. But little children are persistent and even when you say to them, I hear what you're saying. A short time later, they'll be asking for the same thing.

Children never stop asking and we should never ever be afraid to ask her heavenly father for that which is good now. This intimates loving secure relationship with her heavenly father should never leads to over familiarity.

Look at verse nine.

Again, pray then like this are father in heaven, hallowed be your name, it's true I have a loving relationship with my father but I am never to take God's name in vain. I was the one of the 10 Commandments, wasn't it, to be hollow it is to be holy. It is to be reverent God alone is to receive the glory God's name is you need God's name is the sum of all that he is when you hear the name John Monroe either start think of my physical appearance you think of everything about me and so when Jesus is saying our father in heaven, hallowed be your name. He's referring to the essence of who God is, he is holy and is true. We have a loving relationship with them.

It's true, we come with boldness that should never ever lead over familiarity when my grandmother was was very old. She is about 94 finally had to go into a nursing home should dementia should do some nursing care and my mother told me the story that one day she went to see my gunfight grandmother in this home, and the owner of the home said to my mother. Well will have a cup of tea together in the biscuit a little cookie and so the three of them sat down my grandmother and my mother and the woman who was in charge of the home and so is my grandmother with pretty severe dementia and she is given this cup of tea and a little cookie my grandmother would walk with Christ. Verse all of her life was always our practice to pray and give thanks even for a cuppa tea and a little biscuit and so she bowed her head and she did that the owner of the home said to my grandmother calling her by name. She said well put in the word for the big guy upstairs, my mother thought that is not the thing to say to my grandmother.

You don't call God the big guy upstairs in my grandmother. Even with her dementia.

She put during the tea during the cookie and she looked at the woman and said don't you ever refer to Almighty God, who in his great love sent his son into this world to die for our sins.

Don't you ever call him the big guy upstairs. Mother said the woman was not pleased. The tall, and my mother thing was a little embarrassed when she told myself, my brothers, we thought yeah good for grandma but is 2000. This is not the big guy upstairs. I want my grand children to come and to love me and my son to come to me at any time, but there is the respect to center. I didn't call my father. The old man.

I didn't speak with him in a disparaging way. No heat and certainly when we think of God we think of God who is holy, we think of him as the Almighty all-powerful God and would overcome. With this we wonder that in the grace of God. You and I can approach God and pray to him at any time.

Nine. Notice that we are going to disagree with me on this, but here's the pattern. Notice that Jesus says when you pray, you pray to our father in heaven rather than to Jesus. I'm not saying it's wrong to pay. Pray directly to Jesus. But the pattern here on the apostolic pattern in the New Testament is that with a few exceptions.

Prayer is to God the father and we approach God the father in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and we pray in the pilot of the Holy Spirit in such a prayer. When we pray to our father in heaven, hallowed be your name, promotes the feel of the Lord which Solomon says is the beginning of wisdom.

So we pray our father in heaven, hallowed be your name. Notice verse 10 your kingdom come, your will be done on our earth as it is in heaven. We pray for God's will to be done. We pray for God's kingdom to be done. We pray for God's will to be done on earth as it is in heaven what are we doing were praying for the glory of God were praying for the kingdom of God were praying for God's will to be done. This is the opposite from the prosperity preacher presenting God as a genie in a bottle. Is there to do our will. Who will grant our request. God is not there to extend my personal kingdom. No, God directs the affairs of the nations as well as our personal affairs. He is sovereign, not us. Prayer is not trying to get God to join your team. Prayer is not trying just to get God to bless you plans that you have made is not dreaming your dreams and then asking God to help you to fulfill your dreams. It's not God delivering what you want.

It is rather your kingdom come, your will be done when were in Israel. Is it on Friday or Thursday. I forget where the garden of Gethsemane. What did we think with a time of meditation there we thought of the words of Jesus prior to the cross, not my will but yours be done.

It is true I'm to ask God for my requests. It is true that God wants me to pour my heart tired it is true I'm to ask and I'm to seek an emptied knocking them to be persisted. All of that is true. However, it must always be subject to the will of God as Jesus prayed, not my will but yours be done. This is a prayer that honors God basket you don't want anything do you that is not God's will. The children of Israel sometimes asked and in a sense God gave it to them, but sent them leanness of their soul. I don't want God to give me anything that is not God's will for me you want. Don't you to live a life to the glory of God, for God's will to be done to your life and if you are sincerely seeking to do God's will.

He is well able to give you the guidance you need to know very quickly. There are three specific requests here. First of all verse 11. A prayer for proof for provision. Give us this day our daily bread is for the present is a request Lord today give me my daily bread. As a parent you love it when your children ask you for good things.

But notice this request is for your daily bread.

I find that very convicting because I want bread, not just today I want my larger full of brides, not just for today, but for the next year, but the point is, each day God will take care of all of my needs.

The wisdom I need. Today God will give me the peace I need for today. God will give me. I may fret over what's going to happen tomorrow or next month or next year I may be concerned about all of these things, but as Jesus teaches in verses 25 through 34. I'm not to worry.

Verse 25 therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you shall put on. Don't worry about these things just pray give me this day my daily bread business. The way that God wants us to live a life daily. Depending on him not worrying not fretting one of the reasons we get so anxious about the future is that would not learn to pray this prayer I'm healthy today. Tomorrow I could be diagnosed with a serious problem today him and applied to tomorrow. I could be fired today on the mountaintop tomorrow. I could be in the valley but in each case, I'm good as God give me this day my daily bread.

We were over and Jordan. We saw the wilderness as the children of Israel made their way up on the east side of the Jordan, the site of the Dead Sea, trying to get up before they crossed over into the promised land in this desolate place and we know from Scripture that the Lord gave them Brad Manna each day. Exodus 16 says it was a days portion every day on the sixth day they got provision for two days if they were greedy at some of them wearing and collected two days Manna when they went to eat the second day they find that the deterrent to worms and got molding multiplying was God wanted them each day to depend on him and God has his ways of doing somethings are likely for going so well are doing everything just fine with everything said God's and then God intervenes, because God wants us to live one day at the time, give me this day my daily bread that increases my faith. That makes me dependent on my heavenly father, little children, never worry about what's coming for breakfast little children never worry about what college are going to go to who the going to marry Noah pull derived your requests to the Lord each day.

Give us this day our daily bread. A prayer for provision and then a prayer for forgiveness verse 12. Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. This is not forgiveness by words but rather forgiving others is a demonstration that we are forgiven. If I understand God's forgiveness of me. I'm going to be quick to forgive others every day we sin every day.

We need cleansing every day we come and ask God to cleanse us knowing that the blood of Jesus Christ is sufficient and cleanses us from all sin and all unrighteousness. And then as we receive this forgiveness. We then forgive others, be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ has forgiven you will love being forgiven and when we mess up the wonderful things when someone comes to us and says I forgive you.

And we realize we don't deserve tremendous is the experience that has a human being someone's forgiveness but is there someone you need to forgive. Child, a brother sister someone here at Calvary. Notice the words of Jesus in verse 14, but if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.

But if you do not forgive others their trust, their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses member Jesus says of the women that the woman there. The person who can forgive the most is the one who has received the greatest forgiveness is woman in the Gospels, who obviously had come from the moral background and she experienced the forgiveness of God and she was able to love all the more because you had a great awareness of her need of God's forgiveness.

Why is it that bitterness and anger so often overtakes us as the people of God.

How can you expect God's forgiveness when you're slow to forgive others and then finally a prayer for protection. In verse 13 lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil. We were very cunning enemy don't way he wants us to stop wants to stop us from following Jesus. Every day I did put on the full armor of God him to live humbly I'm to ask God for his protection. Students going to school desperately need the protection of God. Students going to public schools going to universities and colleges need God's protection you going to your office, your bank, your hospital tomorrow.

Need God's protection. The world is a very evil place and today you may face the fiercest temptation of your life today you may be tempted to go down the wrong path. In this prayer of protection then should always be on our lips, father, lead me not into temptation but deliver me from evil. A Puritan said either praying will make you leave off sending or sending will make you leave off, praying with his new person of prayer. I want to encourage her to be a person of prayer. Jonathan Edwards said there is no way that Christians in a private capacity can do so much to promote the work of God in advance the kingdom of Christ, then by prayer. Paul says pray without ceasing 101 of the wonderful ministries we have at Calvary is watchmen print out real part of it is you leave this morning and you go into the Galleria. You'll see that power that foresight that foresighted tower. You can sign up and done so to pray. One hour a week you choose the time the day and the time we send you prayer requests from our staff of how we need your prayer. So if you're walking you can pray you're on the treadmill at the gym. You can pray your you in your office during your lunch hour.

You can pray whatever it is when you're doing the dishes in the kitchen. You can pray that we need to be brothers and sisters church that prayer prays this is the next step in following Jesus prayer I conclude with this.

Do you know God as your heavenly father do you have a relationship with Jesus Christ. If you don't confess your sin Lord Jesus came to die on the cross for your sins is open the way so that you can receive his salvation and know God as your loving heavenly father that you can go to at any time in the before we sing our final hymn. Can we just take a few moments of private prayer praying that God's would work in our hearts that we would have a deeper commitment to pray confessing your sins and also praying for our nation or nation is in a bad way, we see that with the selection and pray for the election on Tuesday.

Pray that God in his grace in a miraculous way report his blessing on this nation a nation which modern motors forgetting God and that we the people of God may shine as bright lights so that people may see our father who is in heaven.

And so glorify him stick a few minutes in silent prayer our father in heaven how would be your name we pray that we will more and more, spend time with her knees crying out to you, the living God, and we do pause in prayer again for the nation to bring the selection to your father. We know that you are in control, but we pray that you will be merciful to us because we deserve it but because you're a compassionate God because you're a merciful God, and hope you have blessed this country in so many ways so that from this country the glorious gospel can reverberate around the world, but only in Kenya but in many many different places and so helpless. Father, bless us, not photo and self-indulgence that we in turn may be blessing.

A blessing to others. Draw near to us. We do pray in this holy hour as we cry out to you in Christ name it meant

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