Tuesday, December 12, 2006

How to Pray from Matthew 6:9-13


Last week, we focused on Bible Study and teaching our families the Word of God. It is a daunting task that we cannot do in our own power. Other impossible tasks in the Bible:

1) Make disciples of all the nations (Matthew 28)

2) Love one another as Christ loves us (John 13:34)

3) Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord (Ephesians 5:22)

4) Husbands, love your wives as Christ loves the church (Ephesians 5:25)

5) Walk worthy of the calling with which you have been called (Ephesians 4:1)

6) Be perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect (Matthew 5:48)

CONCLUSION: We desperately need God to do something for us. We need to be on our knees in prayer before Him.

Therefore, we are going to look at how we should pray and for what we should be praying.

Matthew 6:9-13 – "In this manner, therefore, pray: Our Father in heaven, Hallowed be Your name. 10 Your kingdom come. Your will be done On earth as it is in heaven. 11 Give us this day our daily bread. 12 And forgive us our debts, As we forgive our debtors. 13 And do not lead us into temptation, But deliver us from the evil one. For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.

John Calvin - though Christ does not enjoin his people to pray in a prepared form of words, but only points out what ought to be the object of all our wishes and prayers. He embraces, therefore, in six petitions what we are at liberty to ask from God. Nothing is more advantageous to us than such instruction. Though this is the most important exercise of piety, yet in forming our prayers, and regulating our wishes, all our senses fail us. No man will pray aright, unless his lips and heart shall be directed by the Heavenly Master. For that purpose he has laid down this rule, by which we must frame our prayers, if we desire to have them accounted lawful and approved by God.

I. Recognize your need for Prayer

Matthew 6:5 – And when you pray
Matthew 6:6 – But you, when you pray
Matthew 6:7 – And when you pray

In these verses, Jesus assumes that His disciples will recognize their need to pray and will, therefore, be people of prayer.

The disciples did recognize this as shown in the parallel passage in Luke:

Luke 11:1 – one of His disciples said to Him, "Lord, teach us to pray, as John also taught his disciples."

Charles Spurgeon - “Make the most of prayer. . . . Prayer is the master-weapon. We should be greatly wise if we use it more, and did so with a more specific purpose…All hell is vanquished when the believer bows his knee in importunate supplication. Beloved brethren, let us pray. We cannot all argue, but we can all pray; we cannot all be leaders, but we can all be pleaders; we cannot all be mighty in rhetoric, but we can all be prevalent in prayer. I would sooner see you eloquent with God than with men. Prayer links us with the Eternal, the Omnipotent, the Infinite, and hence it is our chief resort. . . . Be sure that you are with God, and then you may be sure that God is with you."

II. Recognize that God wants you to pray

Matthew 6:9 – In this manner, therefore, pray: Our Father in heaven

God is our Father and wants us to come to Him.

Augustine - O my God, Light of the blind and Strength of the weak; yes, also Light of those that see and Strength of the strong: we turn and seek You, for we know You are here in our hearts when we converse with You; when we cast ourselves upon You; when we weep, and You do gently wipe away our tears, and also when we weep for joy because You who made us does remake and comfort us. Grant that we may entirely love You, even unto the end.

III. Pray Kingdom-Focused Prayers

A. Pray that God's name would be holy

Isaiah 6:1-3 – In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, high and lifted up, and the train of His robe filled the temple. 2 Above it stood seraphim; each one had six wings: with two he covered his face, with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. 3 And one cried to another and said: "Holy, holy, holy is the LORD of hosts; The whole earth is full of His glory!"

B. Pray that God’s kingdom would expand on earth

Matthew 16:18 – "And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it.

Acts 1:8 – But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth."

C. Pray that God’s will would be done on earth just like it is done in heaven

IV. Pray People-Focused Prayers

A. Pray for corporate needs (Give US this day)

1. Pray for your family

a. Pray that you would be godly parents, properly teaching and disciplining your children

b. Pray that your children would come to know the Lord

c. Pray that your children would live and die for the glory of God

d. Pray that your home would be a place of joy

e. Pray that your family would be a good witness in the community

f. Pray that your family would be good members of your church

2. Pray for your church

a. Pray for the leaders (IOUS from John Piper)

1) Incline our hearts to love God’s Word (Psalm 119:36)
2) Open our eyes to see wonderful things from God’s Word (Psalm 119:18)
3) Unite our hearts to fear God (Psalm 86:11)
4) Satisfy us with God’s steadfast love (Psalm 90:14)

b. Pray for the members

Ephesians 3:14-19 – For this reason I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, 15 from whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, 16 that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man, 17 that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, 18 may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height -- 19 to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.

1) Pray that God would strengthen other believers in our church
2) Pray that God would cause their faith in Christ to increase
3) Pray that God would cause them to be firmly grounded (see Psalm 1) in the love He has for them, the love they have for Him and their love for one another.
4) Pray that God would cause them to get a taste of the incomprehensible love that Christ has for them.
5) Pray that they would be completely satisfied with all that God is for them.

c. Pray that we would reach the lost

Ephesians 6:18-20 – praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints -- 19 and for me, that utterance may be given to me, that I may open my mouth boldly to make known the mystery of the gospel, 20 for which I am an ambassador in chains; that in it I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak.

d. Pray that, ultimately, we would be to the glory of God

3. Pray for your city, state, country

1 Timothy 2:1-2 – Therefore I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men, 2 for kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence.

B. Pray for corporate forgiveness (forgive US)

Daniel 9:3-19 – Then I set my face toward the Lord God to make request by prayer and supplications, with fasting, sackcloth, and ashes. 4 And I prayed to the LORD my God, and made confession, and said, "O Lord, great and awesome God, who keeps His covenant and mercy with those who love Him, and with those who keep His commandments, 5 "we have sinned and committed iniquity, we have done wickedly and rebelled, even by departing from Your precepts and Your judgments. 6 "Neither have we heeded Your servants the prophets, who spoke in Your name to our kings and our princes, to our fathers and all the people of the land. 7 "O Lord, righteousness belongs to You, but to us shame of face, as it is this day -- to the men of Judah, to the inhabitants of Jerusalem and all Israel, those near and those far off in all the countries to which You have driven them, because of the unfaithfulness which they have committed against You. 8 "O Lord, to us belongs shame of face, to our kings, our princes, and our fathers, because we have sinned against You. 9 "To the Lord our God belong mercy and forgiveness, though we have rebelled against Him. 10 "We have not obeyed the voice of the LORD our God, to walk in His laws, which He set before us by His servants the prophets. 11 "Yes, all Israel has transgressed Your law, and has departed so as not to obey Your voice; therefore the curse and the oath written in the Law of Moses the servant of God have been poured out on us, because we have sinned against Him. 12 "And He has confirmed His words, which He spoke against us and against our judges who judged us, by bringing upon us a great disaster; for under the whole heaven such has never been done as what has been done to Jerusalem. 13 "As it is written in the Law of Moses, all this disaster has come upon us; yet we have not made our prayer before the LORD our God, that we might turn from our iniquities and understand Your truth. 14 "Therefore the LORD has kept the disaster in mind, and brought it upon us; for the LORD our God is righteous in all the works which He does, though we have not obeyed His voice. 15 "And now, O Lord our God, who brought Your people out of the land of Egypt with a mighty hand, and made Yourself a name, as it is this day -- we have sinned, we have done wickedly! 16 " O Lord, according to all Your righteousness, I pray, let Your anger and Your fury be turned away from Your city Jerusalem, Your holy mountain; because for our sins, and for the iniquities of our fathers, Jerusalem and Your people are a reproach to all those around us. 17 "Now therefore, our God, hear the prayer of Your servant, and his supplications, and for the Lord's sake cause Your face to shine on Your sanctuary, which is desolate. 18 "O my God, incline Your ear and hear; open Your eyes and see our desolations, and the city which is called by Your name; for we do not present our supplications before You because of our righteous deeds, but because of Your great mercies. 19 "O Lord, hear! O Lord, forgive! O Lord, listen and act! Do not delay for Your own sake, my God, for Your city and Your people are called by Your name."

C. Pray for corporate holiness (lead US not)

1 Thessalonians 3:12-13 – And may the Lord make you increase and abound in love to one another and to all, just as we do to you, 13 so that He may establish your hearts blameless in holiness before our God and Father at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all His saints.

In one region of Africa, the first converts to Christianity were very diligent about praying. In fact, the believers each had their own special place outside the village where they went to pray in solitude. The villagers reached these “prayer rooms” by using their own private footpaths through the brush. When grass began to grow over one of these trails, it was evident that the person to whom it belonged was not praying very much. Because these new Christians were concerned for each other’s spiritual welfare, a unique custom sprang up. When ever anyone noticed an overgrown “Prayer path,” he or she would go to the person and lovingly warn, “Friend, there’s grass on your path."