PRAYER BASICS – Part 1

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PRAYER BASICS – Part 1

TEXT: Matthew 6:5 “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.[b] 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. 

INTRODUCTION: In this message we are going to be looking at three principles that emerge from our text that relate to having a prayer life that honors God and is known in Heaven.

1. PRAY TO BE HEARD BY GOD NOT SEEN BY MEN

Matthew 6:5 “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.

A. Hypocrisy in this context is being more concerned about what men think about you than what God thinks about you.

B. The love of men's praise equals slavery to the fear of man. Hugh Black reminds us that "Fear of God kills all other fears." We must fear God more than we do men. In the Church, we can become guilty of serving men for their approval and turning our backs on spending time with God so we can have His power in our lives.

C. Consciously doing spiritually things in order to impress people results in the loss of Heaven sent rewards. All you get is the pat on the back from people who then walk away thinking "What a prideful religious jerk!" or people being deceived into believing you are the man of power for the hour. Get this–Heaven does not "Amen" this kind of religious showboating for the applause of men. 

D. When our prayers are prayed to impress a human audience we have become a "prostitute" of religion instead of a man of God.

2. PRAY IN THE SECRET PLACE TO SEE YOUR REWARDS IN THE OPEN PLACE 

Matthew 6: …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. 

A. We all need a place to meet with God in private. This keeps it all about meeting with God and not impressing people. If you set aside an hour to pray in your room only to be able to testify about in Sunday School you still invalidate what Jesus was meaning. 

B. Notice Jesus said the focus was to "pray to your Father who is in the secret place:…" Meeting with God just to be with Him and Him alone moves His heart. Why? Because you are moving your heart toward Him when you do this. He has promised to draw near to you when you draw near to Him.

C. The secret place is the place where there are no external distractions.

ILLUS– How many of you guys have gotten a verbal rebuke or a deathly look from your wife when you was trying to converse with you while you watched the ballgame? Yeah, doesn't work does it? She wants to know she is worthy of your time and attention. Your bobbing head and grunts between plays isn't what she is after. She is after your heart. God is after your heart too.

D. Father wants one on one with you. The truth is God enjoys you and enjoys you enjoying Him. We see His heart in the Garden of Eden when He created the first man and woman and spent quality time with them. Do you realize that before Adam met Eve he first had met with God? Do you realize that before Eve met Adam, she too, had first met with God. This makes our lives, our marriages, our families and our communities better when we first meet with God before we meet with each other. 

E. God promises to reward you openly. What could this mean?

     1) By answering your prayer
     2) By favoring you among men 
     3) By bringing people to you who need ministry
     4) By releasing grace upon you for your true humility
     5) By sharing His secrets with you which in turn become keys for you to use in the Kingdom

3. PRAY TO CONNECT WITH GOD'S HEART NOT TO CONVINCE GOD'S WILL

Matthew 6: …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. 

A. Prayer is not about changing God's mind or circumventing God's will. It is about getting God's heart, knowing God's will, and agreeing with God and allowing Him to use you to bring about His will. 

B. Prayer is a partnership. God invites us to join with Him in changing things in the earth. There are things that will happen because we connect with God and pray that do not happen when we don't pray. God wants His will done. We do not have to convince Him to do what He wants to do. We have to learn to position our hearts and listen. 

C. Your vocabulary is not your greatest weapon, it is your faith. Some people pray like God was a student in school who needed to be informed of how to run the world. Some people pray as if God were ignorant of what is happening in the world, and they are like news anchormen informing God about what is going on. 

D. Faith means you know God knows what needs to be done and you are connecting with His heart and His promises and joining Him in getting it done by using your prayers. He tells us to pray that His will would be done on earth. So prayer connects us with seeing that accomplished.

E. The length of your prayer does not equal the depth of your prayer. Keep it simple and childlike and faith-filled to see Heaven moving to earth in power. 

ILLUS– Speaking of simple and childlike, here's some humorous children's prayers:

Dear God: Please send a new baby for Mommy. The new baby you sent last week cries too much. Debbie, 7

Dear God: Who did you make smarter? Boys or girls? My sister and I want to know. Jimmy, 6

Dear God: How many angels are there in heaven? I would like to be the first kid in my class to know the answer. Norma, 8

Dear God: This is my prayer. Could you please give my brother some brains. So far he doesn't have any. Angela, 8

Dear Lord: Thank you for the nice day today. You even fooled the TV weather man. Hank, 7

Dear God: Please bring me a new brother. The one I got socks me all the time. Agnes, 6

Dear God: Please help me is school. I need help in spelling, adding, history, geography and writing. I don't need help in anything else. Lois, 9

Dear God: Do you have any helpers in Heaven? I would like to be one of Your helpers in Heaven when I have summer vacation. Natalie, 7

Dear Lord; Tomorrow is my birthday. Could you please put a rainbow in the sky? Susan, 9

Dear God: I need a raise in my allowance. Could you have one of your angels tell my father. Thank you. David, 7

Dear God; I am saying my prayers for me and my brother, Billy, because Billy is six months old and he can't do anything but sleep and wet his diapers. Diane, 8

CONCLUSION: 

First, let's repent of the sin of wanting to impress people

Secondly, commit to receiving God's grace to help you draw aside just to be with God

Thirdly, willingly engage God and His heart in prayer casting aside your "religious verbage" and just relate to Him as Father.

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