The Believer's Prayer

Posted on 09/09/2007 by Rev. Benjamin R. Faust D.D.

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Good morning, and welcome to the gathering of the saints. We've come to worship and glorify God, and to seek after more of his Spirit in our lives.

Let's all stand to our feet and go to the Lord in prayer.

Lord God, thank you for this brand new day, and for a brand new opportunity to glorify and honor you with our lives.

We pray for the prayer request submitted this week.

We pray for Kimber who had cancer surgery, and collapsed and was rushed to the hospital. We ask that just as you brought her through this surgery, you would bring her all the way through. Bring her and her family comfort and peace, and wrap your loving arms around her, in Jesus' name.

We pray for Sonja who has been diagnosed with cancer that has spread to her spine. We ask for healing, and that through this time of suffering, you would help her find peace and strength in you.

We pray for Darryl, who is asking for strength and purification. We ask that you continue that work in Darryl, and pour out your joy and rest upon him as you continue to make him more like you.

And I pray for each one here, or reading or listening to this service later. Pour out your Holy Spirit upon them, and may we all be drawn into a closer walk with you.

And it's in Jesus' name we pray.

Amen.

Click-touch the pulpit or watch the overhead as we worship God with song.


WE BRING THE SACRIFICE OF PRAISE

We bring the sacrifice of praise
     into the house of the Lord
We bring the sacrifice of praise
     into the house of the Lord
And we offer up to you
     the sacrifices of thanksgiving
And we offer up to you
     the sacrifices of joy


I WILL BLESS THE LORD AT ALL TIMES

I will bless the Lord at all times
I will bless the Lord at all times
His praise shall continually
     be in my mouth


BLESS THE LORD O MY SOUL

Bless the Lord O my soul
     and all that is within me
     bless his holy name

For he has done great things
     he has done great things
     he has done great things
He's so good to me

He saved my soul
     he saved my soul
     he saved my soul
He's so good to me

He is coming soon
     he is coming soon
     he is coming soon
Bless his holy name


Thank you Lord for your sweet presence with us here today. Keep our eyes focused upon you, as we listen for your voice through the Holy Scriptures.

Open our eyes, and show us a little more of Jesus.

And it's in Jesus' name we pray.

Amen.


You may be seated.


In Matthew chapter six, we find what is generally called "The Lord's Prayer." And yet this is not a prayer that Jesus was overheard praying and which then was given that title. Rather, what we think of as the Lord's prayer is really the believer's prayer.

Before he delivers that prayer to his followers, he spoke these words, found in Matthew chapter six, starting with verse five:

5 And when you pray, you shall not be like the hypocrites. For they love to pray standing  in the synagogues and on the corners of the streets, that they may be seen by men.  Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward.
6 But you, when you pray, go into your room, and when you have shut your door, pray to your  Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly.
7 And when you pray, do not use vain repetitions as the heathen do. For they think that  they will be heard for their many words.
8 Therefore do not be like them. For your Father knows the things you have need of before  you ask Him.
9 In this manner, therefore, pray:


First Jesus tells us how NOT to pray -- he says not to pray like the hypocrites, standing where you can be seen so that you will look holy. He says that they have their reward, which is whatever approval they receive from those who see them praying.

Now what do you suppose would be a reward from God from praying? In the next verse Jesus says that when we pray we should go in our room and close our doors and pray to God in private, and God who hears in private will reward us openly.

So prayer, whether done correctly or with carnal motives, is rewarding. The question is from whom the reward comes and what that reward is.

For the hypocrite, their reward is that others will think they're holy (even though they are far from it), so they are rewarded with respect which is rooted in falsehood.

For the truly righteous, Scripture tells us they are rewarded openly. This reminds me of the stories I hear every week of answered prayer. The voice and the hand of God were sought rather than the approval of men, and God answered, or rewarded, openly.

So the first truth we learn in this passage about prayer is this:

1. Motive and Attitude are Prerequisites to Answered Prayer

If you pray to look holy or to ease your guilty conscience while continuing to pursue sin, then a little relief from conscience or the appearance to yourself or others that you're holy is your reward.

But if you pray because you want to get closer to your Heavenly Father, and perhaps because you have a need you are trusting him to meet, then he will hear you, and the answer to your prayer and a greater measure of the presence of God in your life are your rewards.


Next Jesus tells us another way we should not pray. He says, "And when you pray, do not use vain repetitions as the heathen do, for they think they will be heard for their many words."

So reciting prayers thinking they somehow make you holy or impress God just might not be the best thing to do. In fact, Jesus says that's what the heathen do. You see, the heathen practice religion. But we are called to practice a living relationship.

2. Simply Reciting Prayers is not True Prayer

Such is the folly of thinking that true prayer consists of kneeling in a "holy" position and saying, "Our father who art in heaven, hallowed by thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors. Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen."

So in verse nine, Jesus says these words: "In this manner, therefore, pray." He did not say, "Repeat these high and holy words," or "Record this in a prayer book and recite it every day," but rather, "In this manner, therefore, pray."

"In this manner" means the same as "After this model, in this way." And as we approach the words that follow as an outline for communion with God, the struggle of wondering how to pray without a prayer book we can recite ceases to be a struggle at all.

And so let's take a few minutes to look at the seven major components of the prayer outline Jesus gave us.


1. Our Father who is in heaven, Hallowed be Your name.

First we realize that God is our father, our heavenly father. And we are his children if we have been born into his family through Salvation. And just as a good father, we both respect and fear his authority, and also crawl up into his lap as he wraps us in his arms.

And we just want to spend time with him, not as a loan officer or a big pie in the sky handing out government cheese, but as our wonderful, loving heavenly father who just wants to spend time with us, love on us, meet our needs, and help us grow.

And as we approach him as our father, we are awe-struck by his character and his nature, refered to as his name.

"Hollowed is your name." This word "hallowed" means separated from profane things, set apart, pure, and holy. So we remind ourselves and praise God for his character, his nature, the fact that he is completely holy, he is completely good, he is both just and full of mercy, he is both righteous and full of compassion.

He is the creator and ruler of the entire universe, yet he is passionately in love with each one of us.

The names of God throughout the Bible reveal things about his character. I urge you to do a study on the names of God, because it will most likely reveal many aspects of God's nature to you of which you would never otherwise know.


2. Your Kingdom Come

What is this kingdom? The Greek word used here for "kingdom" can be translated like this:

Royal power, kingship, dominion, rule. The right or authority to rule over a kingdom.

Each one of us has a kingdom. We have the kingdom of our thoughts, our mind. We have the kingdom of those under our authority or within our sphere of influence.

Giving up control of that kingdom does not come naturally. And yet this should be something we seek at the beginning of each day, as we pray, "Your kingdom come."

Kingdom rule speaks of authority, and it also speaks of order. A kingdom without order isn't really a kingdom at all. There is order, there are laws, and there is authority and submission to that authority in every kingdom. And the Kingdom of God is the order, the laws, the authority, and the nature and ways of God. We should seek for THAT kingdom to be established in our hearts, our homes, and our lives.


3. Your Will be Done on Earth as it is in Heaven

All too often we pray that God would perform OUR will. And yet Jesus taught us to pray for GOD's will to be done. We often start our days with the whole day already planned. And our plans all too often are made without seeking the will of God.

So we should start each day with prayer, asking for God's will to be done. And we pray that it would be done on earth as it is in heaven.

How are God's kingdom order and will done in heaven? We know the angels worship night and day. We also know that when satan rebelled against God, he and all those who followed him were cast out of the presence of God.

Are we bold enough to pray for God's will to be done in and through his kingdom order in our lives?

These two things, kingdom and will, require obedience. If we are not obedient to God and his Word, then we are operating outside of both his kingdom and his will.

So this time in our prayer, we surrender ourselves to God's authority and kingdom order, and to his will, whatever that may be. And we seek him to establish more of his kingdom in our lives, performing his perfect will as we surrender to that will by the transforming power of the Holy Spirit.


4. Give Us this Day Our Daily Bread

We generally think of this as a request for provision. And I believe this can be taken that way. We should ask God for what we need, realizing that he is our provider and he will meet all our needs according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.

I believe this also applies to spiritual bread, for Jesus says, "Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God."

We need our physical bread. And we also need our spiritual bread. We should read the Scriptures every day, seeking for fresh bread from heaven as the Holy Spirit speaks to us, revealing the word of the Lord for us, our families, and our situations, today.


5. Forgive Us Our Trespasses, as We Forgive Those Who Trespass against Us

After finishing this outline, Jesus refers to this verse when he says, "If you do not forgive others for their sins, neither will my Father forgive you for your sins."

So we ask for forgiveness for our sins, just as the servant in the parable begged his master for mercy. And God, who is faithful to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness, expects that we will do the same for others.

Our sin against God was ultimate, for that is what separates us from him and that is what nailed Jesus to the cross, and piled shame and reproach upon him.

You see, ALL of our sins are against God, and since one sin separates us from God, just ONE of your many sins would have nailed Jesus to the cross. That is why God has promised to withold that desperately-needed forgiveness from us if we withold our forgiveness from others -- no matter what they have done.


6. Do Not Lead Us into Temptation, but Deliver Us from Evil

Scripture tells us that God does not tempt anyone. But there are many paths in life, and some of them lead us into temptation. While we cannot escape being tempted while in the world, we can be steered away from paths that would bring temptation to us.

And so, since we have sought the kingdom order and authority of God, and have surrendered ourselves to his kingdom and his will, since we have sought the voice and word of God, and since we have asked for and received forgiveness for our sins, we should seek for strength to stand and direction to avoid temptations, and since we know temptations will come, we should ask that God would deliver us from evil when it comes.


7. For Yours is the Kingdom and the Power and the Glory Forever. Amen.

Just as we started by worshiping the nature and character of God, we end with praise and worship. "For yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever! Amen."


So this is not a script for us to recite, thinking that God will somehow hear us for repeating words. Rather, it is a guideline written by God himself, and we would all do well to follow it.


The ministry team can come to the front now.


Will you commit to praying every day? Knowing that there is a clear and perfect road map to follow in your prayer takes away the excuse that we just don't know what to say. So today is the day to throw away that excuse and commit yourself to seeking after God every single day.

If you cannot call God your father because you have not been born again into his family, then today is the day to come home.

Just pray to God in your own words right now, and tell him, "Jesus, I want to be a part of the family of God. Forgive me for my sins, and wash me whiter than snow. Make me a brand new creation. Give me a brand new start. I want to have a personal, daily walk with you. And I will follow you all the days of my life. Amen."

This altar is open. If you would like to commit yourself to pray, or to pray more, or if you want to give your life or rededicate your life to Jesus, make your way to the front and stand or kneel in the presence of God.

If you would like prayer or ministry, instant message someone on the ministry team.

When you're ready to leave, please make your way to the room on your left, and we'll all meet there for fellowship.

Come.