• Matt Beaney

#352 - PRAY TO YOUR FATHER (18/5/21)


On Sunday we continued with our series on discipleship from The Sermon on the Mount. This week we began looking at Jesus’ teaching regarding prayer.

“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. But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.” (Matthew 6:5-6)

i) Pray to the Father

Prayer is vital, but it can go wrong. There is a danger of praying so as to look like a successful Christian. We can become hypocritical as we put on a good show but our hearts are not truly engaged. Jesus urges us to pray to the Father. We are to be careful to pray with our attention on the Father. Pray to Him because He is actually with you.


ii) Address Him as Father

Throughout this chapter, we see that the truly righteous person relates to God as Father. ‘Father’ (Patér - ‘Abba' in Aramaic) speaks of a tender and dependent relationship. Jesus wants us to address the Father as He Himself did,

“Abba, Father,” he said, “everything is possible for you. Take this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will.” (Mark 14:36)

For example, when Paul prays for the Ephesian church, he uses Father,

‘I have not stopped giving thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers. I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better.’ (Ephesians 1:16-17)

RESPONSE - RECOLLECT

Let’s make a habit of consciously remembering what we are doing when we pray. Lloyd Jones wrote,

‘The one thing that is important when we pray anywhere is that we must realise we are approaching God. That is the one thing that matters. It is simply this question of `recollection', as it is called. If only we would realise that we are approaching God everything else would be all right.’

Don’t rush into the throne room ill-prepared. Remember the blood of Christ which grants your free access. Recollect that you are coming to your Father. Pray to the Father and let’s keep bringing our minds back if they should wander - which they often do!



COMMUNITY GROUP STUDY - PRAY LIKE GOD IS YOUR FATHER

Notices

It might be good to begin with notices. Please share from this week’s Church News.


Suggested opener/Ice-breaker

What is the happiest moment that you can remember about your parents?


Recap of Sunday's message - please share in your group

On Sunday we continued with our series on discipleship from The Sermon on the Mount. This week we began looking at Jesus’ teaching regarding prayer.


Please read Matthew 6:5-8


This parallels what we looked at last week about wealth from Matthew 6:1-4. Likewise, we are to pray to our Father, but not for a show.


1. When you pray

Jesus expects His disciples to pray. If we are to do this, we must believe that it's important. Secondly, we must make a plan; it's important that we plan when and where we will make time to be alone with God each day.


2. Pray to the Father

Effective prayer is mindful of the identity of God as Father. Without this, our prayers can go bad; we can come to believe that we must use many words and perform well if we are to get God to listen and act.

Our confidence in prayer is that Jesus has given us His perfect righteousness and adopted us into the family of God.


3. Your Father knows your needs

Finally, we are told that our Father already knows our needs. We come to one who loves us and is willing to do what's best for us.

This also means that we are to listen to the Father - principally as we read scripture - to hear what He tells us that we need. When God reveals His will and promises in scripture, we are then to pray the promises and according to His will.


Discussion questions

1. What did God speak to you about from Sunday's message?

2. Why is it helpful to address God as Father and what does this mean?

3. When and where do you pray?

4. Jesus reveals His promises in scripture so that we can trust and pray them. Do you have examples of doing this?


Serving, Investing and inviting

1) Have you got any encouraging stories of serving, investing and inviting that you'd like to share?

2) Who has God put into your life that we could pray for together?

2) How are you planning to serve invest and invite?




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