It’s Time to Pray – Matthew 6:5-8 06/12/2022

It’s Time to Pray – Matthew 6:5-8 06/12/2022

Our text is Matthew 6:5-8, which I leave to you to read through for yourself. Apparently, there is a right way and a wrong way to pray. What determines which is which? Intent. Are you trying to impress God? Are you putting on a show for the people around you? Or… are you simply speaking with God? That’s the right way to pray.

I believe that God is preparing us for something. There is a sense of expectancy in our church… I don’t know what God is up to yet, but I sense that He is moving. Therefore, our topic today is brief and practical. We’re going to examine “prayer.”

Many times we hear prayer referred to as a spiritual discipline, and in some ways I agree that it is. It takes self-discipline to intentionally come to God on a consistent basis. There are many distractions. However, I also think it’s time to challenge this view. We often say prayer is a conversation with God. It is, and that should draw us into His presence, there should be nothing else that offers more appeal to us than that. But… do we really believe that, or is it just another holy sounding platitude?

It seems to me that the practice of prayer, like everything else we actually do, reflects what we really believe. So first off, let’s note that prayer is not primarily about getting things from God, it’s about aligning ourselves with Him. It’s about our relationship, our friendship with Him, if you will. Jesus said this to His disciples, and I think it applies equally to us; John 15:14-15, we are His friends. Think about that for a moment.

If that’s the case then, fundamentally, prayer is not about technique, it’s about relationship. The idea that we need to practice a particular technique for prayer to be effective betrays a mistaken view of prayer and of God. It reveals that we really think of prayer as a way of getting something from God. In reality, prayer is about giving something to God, permission to change us… and in the process He often chooses to move in surprising and powerful ways.

Now, there’s no denying that we’re told to come to God in faith, He tells us to ask for those things we need, trusting that God knows best and is able to do whatever we ask; Mark 11:24. But if we’re going to ask without doubting, how are we able to ask in this way? It comes back to relationship. Have you come to know Jesus and His purposes so well that you’re able to ask “in His name,” which is to ask according to His purposes and His will? John 14:13-14.

When we come to God in prayer we pray to the Father through the Son by the Holy Spirit who indwells us; Ephesians 6:17-18. We actually enter into the very presence of God, and we are invited to do so boldly! Hebrews 10:19-22. And then, even when we don’t know what to pray for or how to ask, we find the indwelling Holy Spirit actively intervening; Romans 8:26-27.

So here’s what I want you to do: stop and pray. Be fully present, it is entirely too easy to let your mind wander. Be fully honest, it is entirely too easy to put on a face in prayer, you won’t fool God. Be prepared to make changes; is God asking you to step into the gap and serve? Get with it! Is God asking you to step into the gap with your giving? Get with it! Is God asking you to make life style changes? Obey!

Just pray.

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