In order to grow we need to communicate
2. Communicating in Prayer
What’s your experience with prayer? Ask your Growth Coach to share their experience with you.
Sometimes teaching on prayer is a little confusing. Jesus seems to almost confuse the issue in His sermon on the mount. He says
“When you pray, don’t be like the hypocrites who love to pray publicly on street corners and in the synagogues where everyone can see them. I tell you the truth, that is all the reward they will ever get. But when you pray, go away by yourself, shut the door behind you, and pray to your Father in private. Then your Father, who sees everything, will reward you. Matthew 6:5-6
OK. We get that. Don’t pray for show. Then He says…
“When you pray, don’t babble on and on as the Gentiles do. They think their prayers are answered merely by repeating their words again and again. Don’t be like them, for your Father knows exactly what you need even before you ask him! Matthew 6:7-8
And then in the same sermon, in the next chapter He says:
“Keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks, receives. Everyone who seeks, finds. And to everyone who knocks, the door will be opened. Matthew 7:7-8
He tells us not to babble, then tells us keep asking, keep seeking and keep knocking. What’s going on?
Earlier in His sermon, He’s talking about praying for what we need. Since we have a good Father who wants good for us, we don’t need to convince Him to give us good things that we need. So we don’t need to babble.
In Chapter 7 He’s telling us to not judge others and He knows this isn’t easy. Whatever we need to grow in, we should keep on asking, keep on seeking and keep on knocking. We’re relying on Him to finish the good work He’s started in us (Philippians 1:6). It’s too easy to try to finish in the flesh what was started in the Spirit.
So what does Jesus say about prayer?
In Matthew 5 Jesus teaches his disciples to pray. Here are the highlights.
Verse 9: Jesus says we should give honour to God and His name.
Verse 10: We are to pray for His Kingdom to come, and for His will to be done, like it is in heaven. If it’s not in heaven, we know it’s not God’s will for it done on earth.
Verse 11: We are to pray for daily provision.
Verse 12: We are to pray and ask for forgiveness for our sins, and for others who have wronged us.
Verse 13: We are to pray and ask God to keep us from being tempted, and to deliver us from Satan and his power.
In Luke 18 Jesus tells us parables so that we will “always pray and never give up” and He assumes we’ll pray (Matthew 6:5).
Paul, in Philippians 4:6, says that we should pray for everything with thanksgiving and in 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 says we should pray without ceasing.
Peter, in 1 Peter 5:7, exhorts us to cast all our care upon God, because He cares about us.
James says we can pray and ask God for wisdom, but this should be done in faith (James 1:5) and in James 4:1-4 says that when we pray, we often pray or ask out of our own selfish ambition. James 4:15 exhorts that we need to pray for God’s will to be done in our lives.
In this journey you’re on, you need to pray. But the secret isn’t just to pray, it’s “pray and obey” what feels right to you and the Holy Spirit.
He’s a tool to help you start to have a private time of prayer.
Tool – The ACTS Method of Christian Prayer
Adoration: Give God praise and honour for who he is as Lord over all.
Confession: Honestly deal with the sin in your prayer life.
Thanksgiving: Verbalize what you’re grateful for in your life and in the world around you.
Supplication: Pray for the needs of others and yourself.
Pray every day using the ACTS method and don’t be afraid to talk to God throughout the day.
And here’s one more hint for you – if you can ever leave a time of prayer without having peace – you’ve been complaining and not praying. Prayer is an exchange of our concerns with His peace.
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