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PRAY LIKE THIS

Date: 
March 19, 2017
Speaker: 
Rev. Terry Martinson
Reading: 
Luke 11: 1-10

THEME: The purpose of prayer is to deepen our relationship with God

INTODUCTION

  • How did you learn to ride a bicycle?... by riding a bicycle… yes, you may have taken a tumble or two, but you learned to ride.
  • How did you learn to swim?... by swimming… yes, you may have swallowed a mouthful or two of water, but you learned to swim.
  • How did you learn to pray?... by praying… and most of us are still learning how to pray even if we have been praying our whole life…
    • We don’t need books about prayer to learn how to pray, even though there are more than 5,000 books on Christian Prayer available through Amazon…
    • We don’t need studies and seminars on prayer…
    • We already know enough about prayer… we just need to pray.
    • We learn to pray by praying.
  • Prayer is not meant to be complicated, complex, and left to professionals… prayer is for all of us.
  • “Prayer is simply offering the fears, needs, hopes, longings, and questions of our minds and hearts to God as honestly, earnestly, and accurately as we can.” (R. Job)
  • The purpose of prayer is to deepen our relationship with God…
    • Prayer is about relationship… it is about who you pray to… (Doherty)
    • Prayer grows out of and is built upon God’s relationship with us and our relationship with God (R. Job)
    • Prayer nurtures our relationship with God…
    • “The benefit of prayer is that we come to see, to know, and to feel more deeply the loving relationship that God already has with us.” (Doherty)
    • “Nurturing and maintaining a loving relationship with God in prayer helps to remind us that God is always with us.” (Doherty)
  • When you pray, trust that your needs will be satisfied… God is willing to answer our prayers… God is always more willing to answer, than we are to ask. “For everyone who asks receives, and everyone who searches finds, and for everyone who knocks, the door will be opened.” (Luke 11:10)

 

THE DISCIPLE’S QUESTION

  • Prayer was very much a part of Jesus’ life… He was in the habit of praying regularly…prayer sustained him…
  • There was something about Jesus’ prayer life that prompted one of his disciples to ask him about prayer… “Lord, teach us to pray, as John taught his disciples.” (Luke 11:1)
    • The disciples saw Jesus praying and they liked what they saw…
    • They saw Jesus talking to God like a Father, like a beloved confidant and friend, and thought: how does he do that?
    • They saw how Jesus could walk and talk and live and breathe in communion with God all the time, and thought: We want to be connected to God as he is.
    • Cindy Fiscus reminded me this week of the musical Fiddler on the Roof in which Tevya speaks to God as One with whom he spoke often… One with whom he had an enduring relationship… Tevya’s prayers are like a conversation with a trusted friend…
  • “Lord, teach us to pray, as John taught his disciples.” (Luke 11:1) It was common for religious leaders, like John, to teach their followers a simple prayer that they might habitually use… sometimes it was the prayer that identified whose disciple they were…
  • “Lord, teach us to pray.” - The disciple’s request may seem to be an odd one… after all, the disciples were Jews, and daily Jewish prayer was already a highly ritualized art form…
    • There were three scheduled times for prayer each day with set prayers for each time…
    • Good Jews learned the prescribed prayers by heart as small children and prayed them three times a day, day in and day out, until they died…
    • In addition, there were prayers for Shabbat, for services in the Synagogue, for ritual occasions, for sacrifices, weddings, circumcisions, and all of life’s events and occasions.
    • In other words, the disciples were not men new to prayer. They prayed all the time.
  • But clearly there was something about the way that Jesus prayed that prompted the disciple’s question.
    • Perhaps after watching Jesus pray they had a sense that they weren’t doing it quite right…
    • Or maybe their prayers didn’t produce the expected results…

JESUS’ ANSWER

  • “Lord, teach us to pray.”  Jesus taught them to pray by praying.
  • In response to the disciple’s request, Jesus taught the twelve a very simple and profound prayer…
    • He didn’t preach a sermon about prayer…
    • He didn’t give them a prayer to be memorized…
    • He offered them a model  for prayer – “a deeply, beautiful and simple model of how to engage in conversation with God.” (Disciple Blog)
    • Jesus did not intend that the prayer he shared with them should be repeated over and over again… these were not magical words to be prayed repetitively  – the Lord’s Prayer was a pattern for prayer…
  • The pattern is: praise… intercession… petition (rerquest)
  • The Lord’s Prayer focuses on the Kingdom… as Kingdom people we ask little for ourselves – only daily bread, and to be compassionate and forgiving, and not to be tested so severely that we abandon our faith and fall away.
  • The Lord’s Prayer covers all of life: present need, past sin, and future trials. (Barclay)
  • It is a prayer for necessities, forgiveness, and protection, but reverence for God comes first…
  • Rev. Anna Doherty wrote, “What I love about the Lord’s Prayer is that it is about the basics of what we need to be sustained by God: enough food to feed us… God’s forgiveness… and our ongoing preservation and blessing by God… that’s all we need. (Doherty)
  • We are forgiven, and we must also be forgiving… we are fed, and must also feed… we are blessed and we must also be a blessing. (Doherty)

 

CONCLUSION

  • “Someone has said that the Lord’s Prayer has two great uses in our private prayers. If we use it at the beginning of our devotions it awakens all kinds of holy desires which lead us on the right pathways of prayer. If we use it at the end of our devotions, it sums up all we ought to pray for in the presence of God.” (Barclay)
  • Perhaps you still have questions about prayer, but “this morning I invite you to do something simple: to join with the disciples in asking Jesus, ‘Lord, teach me to pray.’ Just lay aside for the time being the questions of when and where and how, with what words, how to fold your hands, or whether to sit or stand or kneel, or anything else. Let’s just ask:
    • Lord, show me how to lead a life full of prayer.
    • Lord, teach me to commune with you through the hours of the day and night, the darkness and the light.
    • Lord, teach me how to open up my whole life to you in prayer.
    • Lord, help me to look for the signs of your grace everywhere I go.
    • Lord, teach me to wait for you in the silence of my own heart, to stop chattering and to start listening.
    • Lord, teach me to live my whole life like one long, living, unbroken conversation with the Son, Spirit, and Father.
    • Lord, teach me to pray.”   (Jesus Scribbles)

Sermon Seeds

  • Listen ~ Praying in a Noisy World – Rueben P. Job – Abingdon Press – Nashville – 2014
  • Daily Study Bible – Luke 11:1-10 – William Barclay
  • Life Application Bible Commentary – Luke 11:1-10 – edited by Tyndale
  • A Devotional Guide to Luke – John Killinger
  • Belief Commentary – Luke – Justo L. Gonzalez – published by Westminster John Knox Press
  • Lord, Teach Us To Pray – a sermon by Rev. Anna Doherty – solid resource for this sermon
  • Lord, Teach Us To Pray – sermon – author unknown https://jesusscribbles.wordpress.com/2013/07/30/lord-us-to-pray-sermon-o...
  • Teach Us To Pray – Blog Post by Disciple – 1/1/15

Worship Bulletin (9:00)

Worship Bulletin (11:00)