Today’s message summary of February 19, 2017 from Assistant Pastor Travis Jackson:
1 John 5:14-15
Now this is the confidence we have before Him: Whenever we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears whatever we ask, we know that we have what we have asked Him for.
We have previously discussed a number of different postures of prayer, and each of these have helped us to identify how we approach God in prayer. Today we will look at an analysis of written prayers in the Bible.
There is a prayer in the Bible that we often recite. It is found in Matthew, Chapter 6:
Whenever you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites, because they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by people. I assure you: They’ve got their reward! But when you pray, go into your private room, shut your door, and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you. When you pray, don’t babble like the idolaters, since they imagine they’ll be heard for their many words. Don’t be like them, because your Father knows the things you need before you ask Him. Therefore, you should pray like this: Our Father in heaven, Your name be honored as holy. Your kingdom come. Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And do not bring us into temptation, but deliver is from the evil one. [For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.] For if you forgive people their wrongdoing, your heavenly Father will forgive you a well. But if you don’t forgive people, your Father will not forgive your wrongdoing.
This passage was part of the Sermon on the Mount. It was an extensive message that covers four chapters in Matthew (5-8), and this section in Scripture is often referred to as “The Lord’s Prayer.” That reference is not really correct in that the Lord Himself would not have prayed such a prayer. A closer reference to this passage for our purposes would be “How to Pray,” as it a means for how we should be praying to Him.
We know that Jesus Christ prayed often, and He prayed throughout His ministry…even as He was on the cross. He provides the example for each of us as to the importance of frequent prayer, and He went away and prayed in secret.
When it comes to prayer, you should ask yourself how long you pray, especially when you occupy your time to other things. How long we pray may be an indicator as to how deep your relationship is with God.
Jesus warns not to behave like the Pharisees, who were hypocritical in their practice of faith. We must also guard ourselves in this practice, as well. Our church practice is to go beyond religiosity. We are to fellowship with one another and live out or faith everywhere we go.
Jesus said that you should pray publicly if your intent is just to be noticed, then that is hypocrisy. There is nothing wrong with praying publicly, for it is perfectly good to pray over your meal in a restaurant or to speak to a person as the Spirit leads you, but the answer to this open prayer should be a humble approach of prayer in a private setting. We are to move away from people and pray in secrecy.
The result of your prayers in secret is the reward that you receive from God in your humility and sincerity.
Do you pray for someone’s healing, or a job for yourself, or even wisdom? Whatever the prayers are, they are to be specific and not so general as to lose their meaning. Repeating words over and over does not magnify the significance of your prayer. Jesus tells the people at the sermon to not be like the worshipers of Baal or the Gentiles who were looking to things other than God. Jesus wants us to pray in specificity. Know who you are praying to!
It is imperative that we continue our study of theology, because the more that we learn about theology, the more that it impacts our words and actions about God. This has an important effect on how we approach prayer.
God indeed knows our needs before we ask of Him. He is involved with every single detail of your life. He is the Alpha and the Omega. Since He already knows what we need, will he give it to us? It is important to distinguish needs from wants.
Lord, my every desire is known to You; my sighing is not hidden from you.
Where can I go to escape Your Spirit? Where can I flee from Your presence?
God provides what we need in accordance to His will. He answers the prayers of a humble heart and provides blessing as we learn more about Jesus Christ.
Our prayers to Him are to acknowledge that He is ever-present and that He is holy. Your prayers are to reflect that you recognize His holiness. Seeking God and uplifting His name is a contrast to uplifting ourselves or even the name of Satan.
His kingdom is a present reality, and He notes that you have dual citizenship on earth and in heaven (Ephesians 2:19). Our prayers should reflect the reverence of Christ as our coming King.
God’s sovereignty means that He is in control of everything in this world. God’s providence is that he will accomplish everything according to His will.
Everything that Jesus accomplished was done according to God’s will and His obedience to God.
We should be confident, in our prayers, that His will be done for all to see.
Your prayers reflect that God is the One who provides for you, and not so much that you rely upon yourself (Proverbs 30:8).
Prayers of forgiveness are to be common in that we are to ask Christ for forgiveness of sin, and that this same approach is to be given to others who sin against us. This is the essence of Christlike behavior (Romans 13:7-8).
When we ask God to not lead us into temptation, He responds. He will keep us from those things that are more than what we are able to bear (1 Corinthians 10:13).
God wants to see each one of us be filled with the Spirit in prayer, and to live according to His instruction as to how we are to pray. We are to pray to seek a greater understanding of Him and that we will live according to His will. Amen.