How Not to PrayJanuary 26, 2020 / 6
How Not to Pray
“The Lord’s Prayer”
There are two accounts of what we know of as “The Lord’s Prayer,” in Matthew and Luke. In Luke, the disciples come to Jesus and ask him, “Lord, teach us to pray, as John taught his disciples” (Luke 11:1). In Matthew’s gospel, the Lord’s Prayer stands at the heart of the Sermon on the Mount. The sermon is full of rich theology and is about concerns that Jesus identifies as essential to the Kingdom of God. The Lord’s prayer is not about the mechanics of prayer but about understanding the character of God. Before Jesus gives a model for prayer, He spends time talking about how we should not pray.
Reasons We Don’t Pray
- We have an of our own control
- We’re not .
- We’re so easily .
“How much more does a prayer need to have the undivided attention of the whole heart alone, if it is to be a good prayer.” -Martin Luther
- We feel like our prayers are .
- We don’t .
We have a Heavenly Father who your need.
- Don’t know how to pray.
“I pray because I can’t help myself. I pray because I’m helpless. I pray because the need flows out of me all the time, waking and sleeping. It doesn’t change God. It changes me.” -C.S. Lewis
“‘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 today 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 the evil one.’
Different Traditions of Prayer
Within the Christian tradition.
- Roman Catholic
- “Book of Common Prayer”
- Evangelical tradition
The Theology of Prayer
Our prayers are not isolated from .
2 Thessalonians 3:1-5:
God created us in His image and that means we have the capacity to .
We can pursue God’s glory by humbling ourselves .
Authentic prayer is never about impressing any person other than God.
Prayer is central to Scripture and to .
The God of the universe has invited us in and wants to hear from us!
Two ways God says not to pray:
- Do not pray like the hypocrites. (v. 5)
- Do not pray to impress (v.7)
Some truths we learn in the rest of Scripture about how not to pray:
- We aren’t to come to Him .
- Prayer is not about us but about .
Philippians 4:6, 7
- Prayer is not about persuading or manipulating God.
- Prayer is not telling God anything He .
“Real prayer comes not from gritting our teeth but from falling in love.”
Memory verse: “‘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. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full.” Matthew 6:5
Read Matthew 6:1-15. According to Jesus in verse 5, what wrong motivation prompts some individuals to pray?
What name did Jesus call people who pray for show? Why?
What common or overused phrases do you hear frequently repeated in people’s prayers?
Read Matthew 6:1-15. What role did prayer play in your family’s life when you were growing up?
How did Jesus command His followers to pray in 6:6?
If God knows what we need before we ask, why should we pray?
Read Matthew 6:1-15. What type of reward will humility in prayer bring? See 6:6.
According to verse 7 what did Jesus have to say about repetitive or long prayers?
If Jesus commands us to pray in secret, what is the value of public prayer?
Read Matthew 6:1-15. What insights or facts about God are revealed in this passage? See verses 6-9.
What should be our attitude toward God according to verse 9?
When you pray in front of a group, how can you concentrate fully on what you are saying to God rather than how your prayers sound to others?
Read Matthew 6:1-15. What should be our attitude toward God’s kingdom and will in verse 10?
What should be our attitude toward life’s necessities? See 6:11.
According to verse 12, what should be our attitude toward those who have wronged us?
Read Matthew 6:1-15. What should be our attitude toward temptation, verse 13?
Why is it crucial for us to forgive those who wrong us according to verses 14 and 15?
What changes do you need to make in your prayer life?