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Sunday, July 3, 2016

How to and How Not to Pray

Notes: How to and How Not to Pray
Matthew 6
Greg Laurie
Steve Amerson
Harvest Worship Band
The Lord's Prayer
Sunday, July 3, 2016 — 8:00 a.m.

We are all looking for certain things in life. God is looking for things too.

1. God is seeking the lost.

Luke 19:10 NKJV
[10] for the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost."

Gods heart seeks us, like we seek a lost child.

2. God is seeking true worshippers.

John 4:23 NKJV
[23] But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him.

3. God is seeking spiritual fruit.

Luke 13:7 NKJV
[7] Then he said to the keeper of his vineyard, 'Look, for three years I have come seeking fruit on this fig tree and find none. Cut it down; why does it use up the ground?'

4. God is seeking people to stand in the gap.

Ezekiel 22:30 NKJV
[30] So I sought for a man among them who would make a wall, and stand in the gap before Me on behalf of the land, that I should not destroy it; but I found no one.

5. God is seeking intercessors.

Isaiah 59:16 NKJV
[16] He saw that there was no man, And wondered that there was no intercessor; Therefore His own arm brought salvation for Him; And His own righteousness, it sustained Him.

What if it was painful to pray? You should still pray.

Why don't we pray more:
1. We  think we don't have the time.

People check their social media accounts about 17 times a day. 5 hours a day watching tv! 

2. We don't think that prayer is that important.

Jesus spent a lot of time in prayer, He found it important.

Joshua learned how important it was to pray. They forgot God and lost the battle.

3. We think that prayer does not really work.

We need to learn how to pray. We need to pray the way Jesus has taught us.

James 4:2 NKJV
[2] You lust and do not have. You murder and covet and cannot obtain. You fight and war. Yet you do not have because you do not ask.

Struggles may come and we don't pray for help.

We also need to learn how not to pray:
Matthew 6:5-8 NKJV
[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. [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.

We can actually be sinning while in prayer. Focusing on the one praying and not focusing on who was being prayed to.

God looks upon our heart as we pray. That's why we don't need to memorize prayers, we need to know how to pray.

Some prayers that we teach kids seem almost scary... "If I die before I wake..."

It's possible to "pray" with no thought of God at all.

Luke 18:11 NKJV
[11] The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, 'God, I thank You that I am not like other men-extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this tax collector.

The Pharisee stood there and praised himself.

Some "pray" to praise themselves, sometimes to gossip, to impress others. Prayers like that go no higher than the ceiling.

The objective of prayer is to get your will in alignment with God's will.

God already knows everything, but you are to petition Him for your needs.

The objective of prayer is not to change God; its to change you.

You don't want to change God, you need to change you.

It's not to inform God, it's to get us closer to God.

Matthew 6:9-14 NKJV
[9] In this manner, therefore, pray: 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 this day our daily bread. [12] And forgive us our debts, As we forgive our debtors. [13] And do not lead us into temptation, But deliver us from the evil one. For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen. [14] "For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.

First three statements of the Lords Prayer deal with the glory of God, the final verses focus on our needs.

We don't want to think of God as an earthly father, but as the Bible looks at your Heavenly Father.

The word "hallowed" means to, "set apart."

God is set apart in your life, He is Lord over all. 

Can you write "hallowed be thy name" over your life and the actions in your life?

If you can't ask the Lord to bless it then don't do it!

Prayer is not getting my will in Heaven, its getting Gods will on Earth.

1 John 5:14 NKJV
[14] Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us.

Nothing lies outside the reach of prayer except that which lies outside the will of God.

John 15:7 NKJV
[7] If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you.

You can ask for whatever your heart desires... But are you walking in a living communion with God.

If you are in a boat and you throw your rope to the dock, are you pulling the dock to you or you pulling yourself to the dock?

God is like the dock.

Matthew 6:10 NKJV
[10] Your kingdom come. Your will be done On earth as it is in heaven.

What is the kingdom of God?
It is a relationship with Jesus Christ.

Luke 17:21 NLT
[21] You won't be able to say, 'Here it is!' or 'It's over there!' For the Kingdom of God is already among you."

God is here in our presence. What is your relationship with Him?

Sometimes we mix up God's kingdom with Man's kingdom.

We need to vote with the Kingdom of God in mind. It's the most powerful kingdom and God will reign.

What is "thy Kingdom come":

1. This is a request for the return of Jesus Christ to the earth.

Lord come back to Earth and do it really soon!

Do you want Jesus to return?

2 Peter 3:14 NLT
[14] And so, dear friends, while you are waiting for these things to happen, make every effort to be found living peaceful lives that are pure and blameless in his sight.

2. This is a personal request.

Lord, I give you access to my whole life to do your will.

3. This is a request for the salvation of those that don't know the Lord.

Do not give up on praying for others. Keep praying that the Kingdom will come.

Matthew 7:13 NLT
[13] "You can enter God's Kingdom only through the narrow gate. The highway to hell is broad, and its gate is wide for the many who choose that way.

God gives us a free will, so pray that God opens the eyes of nonbelievers.

Others can escape our presence, but they cannot escape our prayers.

There is a time to talk and a time to just keep quiet and pray.

Isaiah 53:12 NLT
[12] I will give him the honors of a victorious soldier, because he exposed himself to death. He was counted among the rebels. He bore the sins of many and interceded for rebels.

"Give us this day our daily bread" Matthew 6:11

A Jew during Jesus' time would have bread with every meal.

Jesus was tempted by the Devil to turn a rock into bread.

By praying the prayer for daily bread, you are acknowledging that God owns it. We are dependent on God and He is independent from me.

What we have has all been given to us from God.

Thank God for everything you have.

James 1:17 NLT
[17] Whatever is good and perfect is a gift coming down to us from God our Father, who created all the lights in the heavens. He never changes or casts a shifting shadow.

Deuteronomy 8:18 NLT
[18] Remember the LORD your God. He is the one who gives you power to be successful, in order to fulfill the covenant he confirmed to your ancestors with an oath.
Jesus does not tell us to pray for dessert, but for our necessities.

We should work hard, that is Biblical. It is also one of the things that made our country strong.

Daily bread, not monthly bread. The Lord parcels it out so we can keep going back to Him.

God never gives you less than you need. 

Prayer... What a privilege!

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