Rev. Sanette Francis
Let is just around the corner. What is lent, and why do we call it such?
Sermon Series on Prayer Review
We are being called to be:
"House Prayer, a House of Surrender to the Lord Jesus Christ."
What Is Prayer?
Prayer is talking and listening to God. It is the means by which we communicate with Christ. It is no different from us picking up the phone and calling our neighbors. We talk and they listen, and likewise, we listen as they speak.
While prayer is our way of communicating with God, it is not merely a means of communication in the worldly understanding.
quality time spent in prayer or communication with Christ means that we are getting to know the God we serve better and better. Jesus said, in the Gospel of John “I Am the Good Shepherd.” “The sheep hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes before them, and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice.
Quality time spent in prayer or communication with Christ means that we are getting to know the God we serve better and better and as a result we are able to discern His voice.
Our Challenge #1: spend some quality time with Christ, in His Word, in speaking with Him, and in listening to Him.
Our Challenge #1b: We pray and God listens, but He not only listens He answers our prayers our. Spend a portion of that quality time with Christ in silence reflecting on his word but not speaking.
Is There A Formula To Prayer?
In the scripture passage we read from the Gospel of Luke 11:1 "One day Jesus was praying in a certain place. When he finished, one of his disciples said to him, 'Lord, teach us to pray, just as John (and that is John the Baptist) taught his disciples"
Jesus said, “In this manner, therefore, pray:....” and He went on to pray the Lord's Prayer which we often pray today. Is this a formula? Not necessarily for these primary reasons:
this was not the only prayer or way of praying Jesus taught us either explicitly or implicitly. In others words Jesus taught us to pray in many ways, by teaching verbally and by teaching us by His own example.
Romans 8:26-27 In the same way, "the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God." Hence, in the Lord's prayer Christ taught us to pray, He taught us to also remember that God knows what is best for us, He has a good and perfect will for us that we cannot fathom. Thus when we pray we ought to remember “Thy or God's will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.”
Jesus tells us that there are wrong ways to pray but equally many right ways to pray...
1. Matthew 6:5-8 And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others...."But you, when you pray, go into your inner room, close your door and pray to your Father who is in secret, and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you. And when you are praying, do not use meaningless repetition as the Gentiles do, for they suppose that they will be heard for their many words. So do not be like them; for your Father knows what you need before you ask Him.…
There's much to learn from this passage from the Gospel of Luke and Matthew beyond the significant Lord's Prayer that follows it. For one, we learn that what sparked the unnamed disciples' curiosity to learn about prayer was the fact that he saw Jesus in prayer. Remember, Jesus also taught us to pray by His example not just by what He taught verbally. We also learn that John the Baptist taught his disciples.
Isn't it interesting that out of all the disciples only one of them asked Jesus to teach them to pray? It sometimes seems the church is in a similar situation today regarding prayer. We talk about prayer, we study prayer, we say our prayers, but how many of us actually seek earnestly for God to teach us to pray?
The first kind of prayer then is acknowledgment: And remember that acknowledgment is first and foremost us opening up that line of communication. If this line of communication is not open, then who are we praising, who are we telling thank you, who are we asking for help? We would be no different then the hypocrites for they were not praying with the intention of communicating with God. Our first response as a people called to be a house of prayer a house of surrender is to ensure that our line of communication is open.
Our Challenge #2: As we continue to seek Christ teaching on prayer, on how to communicate with Him. Let us remember to ensure that the line of communication is open. Remember we do not need to start with lofty words or meaningless repetition. Just acknowledge Him and be you.
Just acknowledge Him.
Acknowledge Him before your meals... Lord I thank you for this food
Acknowledge Him for traveling mercies... Lord help me to get their and back safely
Acknowledge Him about decisions in your like. Lord what should I do, what is the best choice
He did say that if we acknowledge Him in all that we do He will direct our path.
Our Challenge #2b: Once you feel as though the line of communication is open begin to ask Him, Lord, teach me how to pray. Even in prayer we have to acknowledge our need and dependency on Jesus Christ our Lord and Saviour. And again, spend a portion of the time listening by silently meditating on His Word.
Different Kinds Of Prays.
I do believe there is a language to prayer. If our prayer lives are to be effective, if we are to learn to discern the voice of the Good Shepherd and grow in an intimate relationship with the almighty God we must first learn the language of Jesus Christ and it begins with "Lord, teach me how to pray." Next, we need to know what His word says about prayer.
We begin again with Matthew 6:5-8 And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others....But you, when you pray, go into your inner room, close your door and pray to your Father who is in secret, and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you. And when you are praying, do not use meaningless repetition as the Gentiles do, for they suppose that they will be heard for their many words. So do not be like them; for your Father knows what you need before you ask Him.… In this manner, therefore, pray, "Our Father In Heaven Hollowed be Your Name...""
One way Christ reveal we should pray is by: going into your inner room, some translations say into your closet or secret place. Once there, we are to close the door and pray to your Father who is in secret.
This is a kind of prayer Jesus taught us to pray verbally and by His own example.
In Luke 5:16 – But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.
John 6:15 – Therefore, when Jesus knew that they were about to come and take Him by force to make Him king, He withdrew again to the mountain by Himself.
Matthew 15:21 – When Jesus left there, He withdrew to the area of Tyre and Sidon.
Matthew 14:13 – When Jesus heard about John, he withdrew in a boat to a deserted place by himself.
Another Kind of Prayer Jesus taught us: "... your Father knows what you need before you ask Him.… One can ask the question, what is the point of prayer if before we even ask something of God He already knows.
First of all, Jesus established God's authority by the statement that He knows what we need even before we ask. If He did not know then He would not be God. Because we know we serve a God is all knowing. If indeed He is the God we serve, then He should know what we need before we ask Him. Otherwise, He would not be God.
By this statement also, Jesus was saying you and I do not need to come before God and pretend to be somebody we are not, don't feel like you have to come with eloquent words, or lengthy prayers.... Because God is in fact God All Knowing.
There is nothing wrong with long prayers is they are genuine prayers of the heart. If we are actually focusing on God. Remember, Moses would withdraw from the children of Israel to pray to God, or communicate with God. It is recorded more than once that He would be talking to God for 40 days. Now that's a seriously long prayer.
It is clear that God want a relationship with us. He already knows all that we need, in fact His Word Tells us....In Philippians 4:19, “But [our] God shall supply all [our] need according to his riches in glory by Christ in Christ Jesus” Matthew 6:30-33 -----But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace, will He not much more clothe you? You of little faith! 31"Do not worry then, saying, 'What will we eat?' or 'What will we drink?' or 'What will we wear for clothing?' For the Gentiles eagerly seek all these things; for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things.… But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.”
Our Challenge #3: Our great God, already knows what we need and He is more than willing to supply them by His riches and His Glory in Jesus Christ. Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things shall be added unto us. Seek Him first. God wants a relationship with us. In your prayers, tell God, "Jesus I want a relationship with you. I want to hear you better, I want to see you, I want to be under the authority of your good and perfect will for my life. Jesus I want more of you, here I am Lord."
Our Challenge #3b: In everything we do talk to God, and listen for His voice.