Prayer (2)

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Intro: Introduction Questions
Have you ever heard of the Lord’s Prayer?
It’s one of the recorded prayers of Jesus
Matthew 6:9–13 (ESV)
Pray then like this: “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
It’s a beautiful prayer, and Jesus even tells us to pray like that when He begins the prayer by saying, “pray then like this”
But we don’t always pray like this!
Even Jesus didn’t always pray like that!
It’s not like every time we pray, those are the only words that we’re allowed to say
So, we’re going to ask three big questions to understand prayer a little bit better today.
What is prayer
Why do we pray
How do we pray

What is Prayer?

Let’s first ask, what is prayer?
Put very simply, prayer is just talking to God.
What do we do the most in prayer?
We ask for stuff!
That’s the primary way that most of us pray, right?
“God, please let this food be good.”
“God, please don’t let me fail my test”
“God, I need you to get this girl to like me.”
We love asking for stuff, but
Prayer isn’t just asking, it’s communicating.
A big way of defining prayer that scholars will talk about is that prayer is “communicating with the divine”
That’s a lot of big words, but all that it means is that you and I have access to talking to the God of the universe!
This is different than any other faith system because it means that God is listening!
He’s anxiously hearing everything you have to say, from the most eloquent of us to the ones who don’t do words good, He loves talking to you!
Hannah in 1 Samuel 1:15 calls prayer, “pouring out her soul” to the Lord.
That’s the kind of prayer I want to do!
That means that prayer is intimate, it’s something so beautiful and simple and divine and human that it can’t just happen when we go to bed, when we eat, and when we need something!

Why do we Pray?

Then, the question becomes, why do we pray?
If it’s not just to get stuff, what’s the point of doing all of this stuff?
Jesus values prayer
Mark 1:35 ESV
And rising very early in the morning, while it was still dark, he departed and went out to a desolate place, and there he prayed.
Luke 5:15–16 ESV
But now even more the report about him went abroad, and great crowds gathered to hear him and to be healed of their infirmities. But he would withdraw to desolate places and pray.
Luke 6:12 ESV
In these days he went out to the mountain to pray, and all night he continued in prayer to God.
So, if Jesus takes this much time to be in prayer, that clearly means it’s important!
So, first reason that we pray is because Jesus prayed. Anything Jesus says is important, we should do!
Prayer is effective!
James 5:16 ESV
Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.
Prayer is incredibly valuable, it’s powerful! There’s story after story in the Bible, in my life, and in the lives of tons of others when prayer was needed, and effective!
But, does this mean that every one of your prayers is going to be answered with a yes?
Absolutely not!
Just because we’re praying for something doesn’t mean that we’re going to get it!
I prayed that I could get superpowers when I was 5, that doesn’t mean I can fly now!
But, God grants the prayers that need to be granted. You might not get Ferrari, but He just might answer the prayer that your friend would come to know Jesus.
Prayer is a way to connect with God.
You have parents or guardians in your life who want to talk to you. They want to connect with you.
If you just talked to them about what you wanted, that wouldn’t be connection, that would be demanding.
Neither would just thanking them for everything!
They don’t just want you to ask for everything, and they don’t just want you to thank them for everything.
They want to hear about your day and know your likes and dislikes, and they want you to know about them and who they are and their heart for you!
And God wants that with you! He doesn’t just want a 1 minute to do list, He wants full access to the person that He created lovingly!

How do we Pray?

Now that we know some of what prayer is and why we do it, let’s end with how we do it.
Matthew 6:7–8 ESV
“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. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.
You don’t need fancy words or impressive vocabulary, all you need to pray is you and God.
Spend some time praying, don’t just go through a list
Jesus spent a long time praying, maybe try to pray for 2 minutes instead of one, 4 instead of 2, and so on.
Ask, but don’t just ask.
You’re allowed (and even encouraged) to ask God for things! But, that doesn’t mean that everything is an ask. Spend some time talking to Him.
There’s an acronym that I use for praying sometime, it’s called ACTS
Supplication (asking for stuff)
We have a God who is loving and beautiful and kind and lovely. Spend some time talking with Him. And if you don’t know Jesus yet, this is an opportunity for you to respond in love to the God who loves you and died for you!
Now, let’s take 5 minutes and pray together.
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