Friday, April 25, 2008

Are You Ready To Pray Your Own Prayer

INTRO - I’d like to start with an illustration I’ve taken from a skit on the model prayer. Imagine if you will, you’re on your knees reciting the a prayer and you receive an answer....
Our Father who art in heaven...
Don’t interrupt me. I’m praying...
But you called Me.
Called you? I didn’t call you. I’m praying. Our Father who art in Heaven.
There, you did it again
Did what?
Called Me. You said, “Our Father who art in Heaven.”
Here I am. What’s on your mind?
But I didn’t mean anything by it. I was, you know, just saying my prayers for the day. I always say the Lord’s Prayer. It makes me feel good, kind of like getting my duty done.....
Is what we call the Lord’s Prayer really the Lord’s prayer? Should we be reciting it as if it was our own? Or should we be learning from it so that we might pray Our own prayer?

I. PRAYER IS NOT AN OPTION - An Adult Sunday School class was discussing formal and informal prayer, when one man remarked, "I do some of my best praying while driving." From the back of the room, in a quiet voice, the man's wife agreed. "I, too, do my best praying while you are driving."
A. When Not If - The Bible says “when” not “if”
1. Lk 11:1-2
2. In Matthew 6 in the sermon on the mount Jesus brought up the subject of prayer by saying “When you...”
a. When you pray,(5a)
b. When you pray,(6a)
c. When you are praying,(7a)
d. Pray, then, in this way: (9a)
B. Pray, Pray, Pray. - The Model Prayer as it is better called, isn’t the only place we read about the necessity of praying.
1. Lk 18:1 at all times they ought to pray ,
2. Ep 6:18 pray at all times
3. 1 Th 5:17 pray without ceasing;
4. 1 Tm 2:8 Therefore I want the men in every place to pray

II. FANCY ORATIONS AND RECITATIONS IT’S NOT - Not everyone is familiar with prayer. Two men were out walking one day. One guy challenged his buddy by saying, “If you’re so religious, let me hear you quote the Lord’s Prayer. I’ll bet you $10 you can’t do it.” The second guy responded, “Now I lay me down to sleep, I pray the Lord my soul to keep. And if I die before I wake, I pray the Lord my soul to take.” The first guy pulled out his wallet, fished out a $10 bill and muttered, “I didn’t think you could do it!” - How many of you can remember learning this prayer as a kid. How many of you, if challenged is such a way could recite the “Lord’s Prayer?” - Mt 6:9-13 puts it this way in the NAS
'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. [For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.]'
A. Is It Just Fancy Talk? - When we pray, do we simply pray to sound good? It may be that we use flowery words so we make ourselves sound religious. It may be that we say things just so that we can say we said them. - Like a politician, we use a lot of words but never really say anything. Jesus talked about those who would want to sound good in their prayers.
1. Mt 6:5
2. Lk 18:10-14
B. Is It Just Repeating Words? - When the disciples said, “teach us to pray” they didn’t say “teach us a prayer.” It’s one thing to read or recite a prayer; it’s something else to know how to pray.

III. GOING ONE ON ONE IN PRAYER - The ship was sinking and the captain was passing out the life belts. Suddenly he called out to the passengers, and asked if anyone there knew how to pray. A preacher among the passengers eagerly announced that he did. "Thank goodness for you," said the captain. "We are short one life belt." - Time for fancy prayers? Time for reciting the “Lord’s Prayer?”
A. Getting Away From It All - While Jesus had much to say on prayer from which we can learn, we can learn from His example as well.
1. One thing Jesus often did was get away from it all..
a. Mt 14:23
b. Mk 1:35
c. Lk 9:18
2. Another thing Jesus did was let us see into His prayer. Jn 17:1-26 is what I would call “The Lord’s Prayer” for this is a prayer he prayed.
B. Personal, Honest And From The Heart - Is 29:13-14 - When it comes to learning prayer, there are many examples of those who went one on one with God in very personal and Honest prayers from the heart. After all, they had nothing to gain by saying something flowery and reciting another’s prayer well the timing wasn’t right:)
1. Jonah - While it wasn’t by his choice, Jonah got away to pray, one on one with God, in the stomach of a fish - Jo 2:1-9
2. Daniel - While he had nothing to do with it, Daniel was about to be executed. Time for some one on one with God, - Dn 2:20-23
C. Spending Time On A Two Way Street - All to often with think of praying as just talking, but praying is conversation with God and as such there needs to be times of listening as well so that God may talk.
1. God may not shout - 1 Kg 19:11-12 .
2. David knew about silence - Ps 62:1
3. Solomon knew too - Ec 5:1-2

CONCL. - How often are our prayers silent because we aren’t really praying - talking or listening? We don’t take the time to pray because:
▸ Prayer is boring
▸ We think we have nothing to say
▸ We don’t have time
▸ We can’t focus on praying
▸ We think we need a new way to pray
▸ We think God never listens
▸ I’m sure we could find more excuses
Jm 5:16 says Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another so that you may be healed. The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much. Maybe the reason a righteous man’s prayer accomplish is because their not someone else’s, they’re his from the heart. How about you? Are you ready to pray your own prayer?

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