“Built For Community: Prayer” out of Matthew 6:5-13 was preached on November 25th, 2012 by Pastor Brett Baggett at the worship gathering of Ekklesia Muskogee. Week #3 in Ekklesia’s Built For Community sermon series.
The Bible is clear in teaching that as the redeemed people of God, we have access to pray to our loving Father and we should frequently avail ourselves to this privilege. Jesus tells us in Luke 18, that we should not merely pray once for certain things to happen, but we should keep on praying and not lose heart. Jesus essentially tells us he wants us to pray so much that it will seem like we are pestering God! In addition, James 4:2 tells us that “You do not have because you do not ask.” So, why do we pray for certain things to happen? Because Jesus tells us to, and because prayer causes things to happen that would not have happened if we had not prayed for them. God causes things to happen in the world, according to His sovereign will, that would not happen unless we prayed for them.
But how should we pray? In Matthew 6:5-8, Jesus teaches us that, in addition to spontaneous prayer, we should pray in secret. He teaches us that we should be disciplined, plan, and get alone with God in a place without distractions and without anyone else being able to see us. He even promises to reward us (Matthew 6:6). It’s as if God is saying, “Come be alone with me, I’ve got something great for you.” We know that the reward he has for us is more and more of himself, which satisfies.
A final question arises in talking about prayer- what should we pray for? Jesus, in the Lord’s Prayer, has given us an outline for what we should pray for. Jesus does not limit what we should pray for, but graciously helps us have a clear idea of things to focus on. He has given us two realities and 5 supplications to guide us as we meet with our Father in secret prayer.
REALITIES: 1) Pray for and in community (“Our Father” “Give us” “Forgive us” “Lead us“, 2) Pray in light of your adoption- the gospel.
SUPPLICATIONS: 1) Pray for God’s name to be hallowed (loved, adored, prized, glorified) above all. 2) Pray for God’s kingdom to come and his will to be done on earth as it is in heaven. 3) Pray for the earthly needs of God’s children. 4) Pray for forgiveness of sin as we forgive others. 5) Pray to be kept from evil. 6) Pray, in closing, confessing that it’s all about God’s kingdom, power, and glory forever.
And he told them a parable to the effect that they ought always to pray and not lose heart. 2 He said, “In a certain city there was a judge who neither feared God nor respected man. 3 And there was a widow in that city who kept coming to him and saying, ‘Give me justice against my adversary.’ 4 For a while he refused, but afterward he said to himself, ‘Though I neither fear God nor respect man, 5 yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will give her justice, so that she will not beat me down by her continual coming.’” 6 And the Lord said, “Hear what the unrighteous judge says. 7 And will not God give justice to his elect, who cry to him day and night? Will he delay long over them? 8 I tell you, he will give justice to them speedily. Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?”
5“And when you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites. For they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, that they may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. 6 But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.
7 “And when you pray, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do, for they think that they will be heard for their many words. 8 Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him. 9 Pray then like this:
“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 also have forgiven our debtors.
13 And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.
For yours is the kingdom
and the power and the glory, forever.
Q.1 Was there anything from Sunday’s sermon or the big idea that was new to you or had an affect on you? Did you hear anything that raised more questions in your mind?
Q.2 What does it mean to pray in light of our adoption? What does this look like? What dangers are there by not praying in light of our adoption?
Q.3 Why is it important that God Himself be the first and last subject of our prayers?
Q.4 Why is it also important to pray for your/others needs? What dangers are quick to come if we do not pray for daily bread, to be kept from evil, and for forgiveness?
Q.5 What things do you need to repent of in your prayer life?
Because of Jesus’ work for us we can pray to God as our loving Father. We know that God is 100% for us. We pray not so that God would be appeased- for Jesus has already won our acceptance; We pray so that God might be praised- as we enjoy Him and He is glorified in the world. What grace! Amen.