Sunday, April 1, 2012

Sunday 11am message from 4/1/11 - Study of Prayer

Listen here for the full audio version

TEXT: LUKE 11:2-4
·       We must first enroll in the School of Prayer. There is one requirement: ask the question – Lord, teach us to pray.
·       Once we have become students of prayer, Jesus begins to teach us what we need to know so that we may begin to pray in earnest.
·       This prayer listed here could be considered the BASICS OF PRAYER.
·       By no way, shape, or means, is this supposed to be a prayer that is just said repetitiously day after day with no thought or meaning.
·       This basics of prayer is recorded both here in Luke and in Matt 6:9-13.
o  Matthew’s comes from the Sermon on the Mount.
o  Luke’s account comes sometime later and was taught in a much smaller setting.
o  But why are they not the same?
o  I believe one reason is that God never intended Christian’s to repeat this pray word-for-word every day.
o  It is a “beginner’s guide,” if you would.
·       McGee - In answer to their request the Lord gives them this. I do not believe He intended it to become the prayer I hear so often in public services.
o  It is not to be a stilted form for public services, but a spontaneous, personal prayer, like a son talks to his father.
o  God the Father knows me and I do not think He wants me to put on airs, assume an unnatural voice, and use flowery language.
o  I think He wants me to talk like Vernon McGee. Nor does He want me to be “wordy.” I get so weary of “wordy” prayers—and I think God does also.[1]
·       So, what are some of the basics of the study of prayer we learn from Jesus?
I.                  WE PRAY FOR GOD’S PRIORITY
a.   Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name
b.   #1 – Our Father – Who We Pray To
                                                i.      Everything has a beginning, and our prayers should begin with a focus on God.
                                             ii.      These two words help us to focus our spiritual gaze upon God and not other people, problems, etc.
c.    #2 – Which Art In Heaven – Where We Pray To
                                                i.      Psalm 121:1–2 (KJV 1900)
      1      I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills,
                  From whence cometh my help.
            2       My help cometh from the LORD,
                  Which made heaven and earth.
                                             ii.      You help is not coming from the bank, your boss, or your buddies – but Heaven!
d.   #3 – Hallowed Be Thy Name – Worshipping Who We Pray To
                                                i.      Hallowed = consecrate, honor as holy
                                             ii.      We worship God by respecting and revering His name as He deserves. We do this through worship.
                                          iii.      Too often we look at prayer like a business transaction when it should be a time of worship.
II.               WE PRAY FOR GOD’S PLAN
a.   Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, as in heaven, so in earth.
b.   #1 – Thy Kingdom come – The Prophecy of God’s Plan
                                                i.      When we, as believers, pray for the coming Kingdom, it is a reminder to us that in all things God has a plan.
                                             ii.      This world is not my home, I’m just a passing through.”
c.    #2 – Thy Will Be Done, As In Heaven, So In Earth – The People of God’s Plan
                                                i.      This phrase speaks to our submission to God.
                                             ii.      If we are not willing to be fully submitted to God’s plan for us here on this earth, then we will never experience a full and meaningful prayer life.
a.   Give us day by day our daily bead.
b.   #1 - Give Us – Source Of Our Needs
                                                i.      We need to recognize that we are needy people – and we cannot provide any kind of meaningful, lasting fulfillment.
1.   EX: Job
                                             ii.      Also speaks to intercessory prayer – give US.
c.    #2 - Day By Day – Schedule Of Our Needs
                                                i.      We are always looking for and worrying about tomorrow when we should be praying for today.
d.   #3 - Our Daily Bread – Substance Of Our Needs
                                                i.      God will provide all of our needs, when we need them.
                                             ii.      We often focus our wants and ignore those things that we truly need.
                                          iii.      This prayer refocuses us on God, who supplies to us all of our needs.
a.   And forgive us our sins; for we also forgive every one that is indebted to us
b.   #1 - And Forgive Us Our Sins – We Need To Experience Forgiveness
                                                i.      We experience the forgiveness of God by 1st recognizing and admitting our sin.
                                             ii.      You cannot be forgiven until you first repent of your sin.
                                          iii.      And this is a daily process.
c.    #2 - For We Also Forgive Every One That Is Indebted To Us – We Need To Express Forgiveness
                                                i.      Our willingness, or lack thereof, in forgiving others reveals the spiritual condition of our heart.
                                             ii.      In this prayer, the assumption is made that if we are asking for God’s forgiveness, then we have already forgiven those who have wronged us – BUT CAN WE MAKE THAT ASSUMPTION TODAY?
a.   And lead us not into temptation; but deliver us from evil.
b.   #1 – And lead us not into temptation – Recognition Of Our Nature To Sin
                                                i.      After spending time confessing our sin, it should always be evident to us that we have a sin problem.
                                             ii.      Prone to wonder, Lord I feel it. Prone to leave, the God I love.”
c.    #2 - but deliver us from evil – Recognition Of Our Need For Sanctification
                                                i.      Sanctification is an ongoing process in the believer’s life.
                                             ii.      While we will never be sinless on this side of eternity, sanctification is the process of the lessening of sin’s stronghold in our life and the growing into more Christ-likeness.
                                          iii.      It should always be our prayer to grow in grace and truth.
·       One reason the disciples may have asked now that they were alone was because they wanted some special “inside secret” about prayer.
·       But there is no secret – only the basics.
·       McGee - We do not need more preachers, churches, or missionaries, but we do need more people who know how to pray.[2]
·       As we have studied prayer in the classroom of Jesus today – how does your prayer life stack up? Where are you lacking? Where are you excelling?
·       Let’s take the lesson we have learned today and begin a renewed prayer life today.

[1] McGee, J. V. (1991). Vol. 37: Thru the Bible commentary: The Gospels (Luke) (electronic ed.). Thru the Bible commentary (143–144). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.
[2] McGee, J. V. (1991). Vol. 37: Thru the Bible commentary: The Gospels (Luke) (electronic ed.). Thru the Bible commentary (144). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.

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