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Lord, Teach Us To Pray
Series Introduction: Please take your Bibles and turn to Matthew 6:9-13 and Luke 11:1-4. In this passage, we again find our Lord teaching on prayer. The disciples come to Jesus, as He is praying, desiring to be taught about prayer. Evidently, they had seen something in the prayer life of Jesus that they wanted in their own prayer life. Their request is revealing. They said, “Lord, teach us to pray. Their request is two-fold. First, they wanted to know how to pray and talk to God as Jesus Himself did. Secondly, they desired a burden to pray. They saw the priority prayer held in the lord’s life and they desired to be gripped by the same passion for communion with the heavenly Father.
In the words that follow, Jesus gives them the framework for praying that accomplishes both goals. You see, this prayer is not a prayer to be memorized and quoted as many do, but it is a framework around which we are to build our own prayers. It is a pattern, or a template from which we can build the structure of our own prayers. Hence, it teaches us how we should pray.
As we pray, according to this pattern, God will hear our prayers and He will answer them for His glory. As we pray, the answers to prayer and the communion we experience with God in prayer serves as a catalyst to a deeper and stronger prayer life. Thus, this model prayer teaches us both how to pray and to pray.
Over the next several weeks, I want to take this pattern for prayer and dissect it phrase by phrase. As each of these phrases is preached, it will become clear that even though the smallest child can understand the basic message of this prayer, even the most skilled of theologians could never hope to plumb its vast depths. What I hope we can take away from this series is a deeper and greater burden for prayer in our own lives. Therefore, I challenge you to take each phrase as it is preached and make it your goal to incorporate that phrase into your prayer life every day. If we will do that faithfully, we will be praying prayers built upon the pattern for prayer. We will be praying prayers that God will hear and that He will answer because they will be prayers that are prayed within the parameters of His perfect will.
PRAYER IS ABOUT RESTING
Our Father Which Art In Heaven
Intro: With those truths in mind, let’s begin our journey through The Model Prayer. Tonight, we will consider just that second clause of verse 9, “Our Father which are in heaven… These six words do not even comprise a complete sentence, but they contain a wealth of truth whose depths cannot be fathomed and whose breadth cannot be spanned. They teach the precious and powerful truth that Prayer Is About Resting. Notice with me the powerful a precious message contained in these six short words.
I. THEY SPEAK ABOUT A RELATIONSHIP
A. God is called “our Father. What a precious truth! This is the ground upon which we may approach Him with our prayers. Yet, it is a truth that we must not too lightly.
When God made man in His image, Gen. 1:26, God became the Father of the human race in creation. But, when man fell into sin, man received a new “father,” John 8:44. Now, the only way any person can experience the Fatherhood of God is through the new birth, John 3:3, 7. We must be born by His Spirit; we must be saved by His grace; we must be washed in His blood; otherwise we have no right to call Him our Father!
But, when the new birth does take place, we are immediately adopted into His family, Rom. 8:15; Gal. 4:5-7; Eph. 1:5! When we are saved, we instantly become the children of God, 1 John 3:1-2. This new relationship opens up the avenue of access into His presence as our Father.
B. Most ancient religions could not conceive of God as a “Father.” The Jews understood it better than most, but they had many names for God; names which they often used when they prayed. For instance, a man in need would pray to "Jehovah-jireh", Gen. 22:14, which means, "The Lord will provide." If they were anxious, they would call on "Jehovah-shalom", Judges 6:24, which means "The Lord our peace." If they were lonely, or afraid, they might call on "Jehovah-shammah", Eze. 48:35, which means "The Lord is there." If they need leadership, they would call on "Jehovah-rohi", Psalm 23:1, which means "The Lord our Shepherd." If they were sick, they would call on "Jehovah-rapha", Exodus 15:26, which means "The Lord our healer." The lost could literally go on for hours, but you get the point.
When Jesus instructed His men in prayer, He told them to forget the formulas and the complicated names, but to just call on the “Father.” What a blessing! I don’t have to try and figure out which name of God I need to use, I can just run to my Father and call out to Him.
C. Since God is our Father, He carries us in His heart and has our best interests at heart. You see, there are many men who can “beget children, but never father any. God not only births us into His family, but He had the will, the resources and the ability to Father us. He has promised to sustain us, supply us and care for us until we arrive home in glory, Matt. 6:25-34; Matt. 10:29-31; Phil. 4:19. We earthly fathers have the same desire within our hearts. We want to see the needs of our children met and we strive to do so. But, there are times when our resources are not sufficient to meet their needs. We should never fear that with our heavenly Father. He has all we need and more than we need, Psa. 24:1; Psa. 50:10, and He is well able to meet our needs, Eph. 3:20.
D. Thank God we can rest in our relationship with Him, knowing that when we call on Him, He hears us because He loves us and cares about what we face. He is our Father and He has called us into His presence, Jer. 33:3; Matt. 11:28; Heb. 4:16.
II. THEY SPEAK ABOUT A REALITY
A. The next two words “which art are filled with glory and wonder. They remind us that we serve a God Who exists and that He is more than a figment of our imagination.
In fact, faith in the existence of God is the very ground upon which we may approach Him, Heb. 11:6. That verse teaches us that we must believe God exists and that He hears and answers prayer, or we are merely praying to Him in vain. God is real! And, when you call on His Name, you are reaching up to One Who hears you and Who will move in response to your need!
B. I am grateful this evening that we serve a God Who “is. He is not a God Who was. He is not a God Who will be some day. But, as He told Moses in Exodus 3:14, His name is “I AM that I AM!” This reminds us that God is the self-existent, eternal One. He has existed unchanged from all eternity past, He continues to exist in the present and He will continue unchanged in to the vast reaches of eternity future.
As the “I AM, He does not dwell in the past, nor does He exist in the future, but God is always in the right now! Your past is His present; your future is His present as well. He sees all, knows all and comprehends all. He knows your deepest needs and even the secret needs of your heart. And, He is able to do something about them all.
C. Since God is real, and since He changes not, you and I can approach Him with confidence, resting in His reality. Prayer is not an exercise in futility! It is not merely sending words up into the ether of the air. No! Prayer is a humble heart approaching a holy, heavenly Father. Prayer is a redeemed saint entering the presence of holy God to transact heavenly business at His throne of grace. Because God is real, prayer is real! Because God is real, there is power in prayer. Rest in that hope and exercise your right to enter His presence!
III. THEY SPEAK ABOUT A REALIZATION
A. When the Bible tells us that our Father dwells “in Heaven,” it is telling us that He occupies a place of honor, glory and power. Since He is in Heaven, He is above the evils and the problems of this world. Since He is in Heaven, He is in a position to move in power in response to our petitions. Since He is in Heaven, He is in a position to be exalted and honored by those who dwell below.
B. This suggests a thing or two we need to take into account when we pray.
1. We should enter His presence humbly Our Father is God! He made this world. He is holy. He is wonderful. We, on the other hand, are vile and wicked, Isa. 64:6. If it were not for the cleansing brought about by the blood of Jesus, 1 John 1:7, we would have not right to enter His presence. In fact, when we do enter, we can only do so through Jesus, our Savior and Mediator, 1 Tim. 2:5. But, when we come in that Name, the Name of Jesus, we can be assured of an audience and an answer, John 14:13-14; John 15:16; John 16:23-24. Therefore, let us learn to approach the throne of grace humbly, remembering what we are and where He found us; remembering that were it not for grace and the blood of Jesus we would have no rights there at all.
2. We should enter His presence confidently That may sound like a contradiction, but it isnt. Even as we humble ourselves before Him, let us pray in faith believing that God will hear us and answer us for His glory. To approach Him in doubt is to slam the door of prayer, James 1:6-8; but to approach Him in simple faith is to guarantee the success of our prayers, Matt. 21:22; Mark 11:22-24; 1 Tim. 2:8.
3. We should enter His presence worshipfully More will be said about this in the next sermon, but when we approach the Lord in prayer, we need to remember to Whom we are speaking. He is God. He is Lord. He is awesome! Let us there for come into His presence to worship, honor and glorify Him. To do so, places us in a position of close communion with Him and opens the storehouses of His glory in our lives.
4. We should enter His presence hopefully What I mean is this: our Father is already in our heavenly home and He awaits our appearance there. Therefore, when we pray, we are merely turning our attention toward home. We look away, by faith, to that eternal homeland that awaits us. We are not seeking answers to pray that are rooted in the troubles and problems of this life. We are seeking heavenly benefits. We are seeking those things which originate in our new home. We do not want this world and what it can give, but prayer is born out of a desire to see Heaven blossom on earth.
is said that when
C. As we pray in faith, we can rest in the sure knowledge that our Father is God, that He is in Heaven, that He occupies the throne of glory, that He sees and knows everything there is to know about us, and that He will hear and answer from His lofty throne. Thank God that He is there and not here! When we pray, we are allowed to leave the burdens of the world behind for a time and enter into the rarified air of His presence. We are afforded the opportunity to step out of our reality into His for a little while. (Note: This is what Job did – Job 1:20-21.) What an honor and what blessing!
IV. THEY SPEAK ABOUT A RESPONSIBILITY
A. You will notice that God is called “our Father.” He is not just “my Father or your Father, but He is our Father.” This reminds us that when we pray we have a responsibility to pray as part of a family.
We have the duty before the Lord to pray one for another. We are to carry one another’s burdens to the
throne of grace, Gal. 6:2; Phil. 2:4. (
C. I must remember, as part of a family, that I have no right to pray for things that are selfish in nature. I must remember to structure my prayers so that they reflect that which is best for the whole family of God, not just what I think is best for me. For instance, when there is a situation at church that needs prayer, I should not ask God to work things out the way I want them worked out. I should pray that God will do that which is best for His family and for His glory, even if it isn’t what I want! He isn’t only “my Father,” He is “our Father!”
I can rest in prayer when I discharge my responsibility to pray for my
brethren and to pray for that which is best for the family of God. (
Conc: Have you learned the secret of resting in your prayer life? Has God touched an area or two that need His work this evening? If He has, and if you would like for Him to make your prayer life all it should be, then this altar is open for you. Come to Him, call on Him and get the help you need today.
There are others here who cannot call God your Father. You are not saved and if you die, you will die lost and perish in Hell forever. That does not have to happen! You can come to Him and be saved if He is calling to you Him. Just mind Him this evening!