• Matt Beaney

#356 - YOUR GREATEST PRAYER (24/5/21)


“This, then, is how you should pray…” (Matthew 6:9)

On Sunday we continued with our series on discipleship from The Sermon on the Mount. This week we continue to learn from Jesus about prayer from The Lord’s Prayer.


Why is it that I’m so easily distracted and demotivated about prayer? Why do I find it easier to watch television with Helen, my wife, than to pray together? Why do I find it easier to chat with a Christian friend than to pray with them?


Prayer is hard for all of us. Most of us believe that prayer is very important! We believe that prayer can change our lives, help those we love and change the world. We know that most moves of the Holy Spirit in revival are precipitated by prayer. We know that prayer is the key to a healthy and joyful relationship with God. We know that everything is better when we pray. So why don’t we pray?


Firstly, I want us to acknowledge that we are weak and need help. Now let’s be clear, this is not an episode of Oprah. You don’t get rewarded by the Father for being weak and helpless. The Father will reward those who know their inability to pray and so put their faith in God who will teach them and give them the Spirit to pray. True weak people grow and find victory. None of us have the right to exalt our weakness over God’s love and power!


So, the first thing to do is to pray about prayer. We need to do what those first disciples did,

“One day Jesus was praying in a certain place. When he finished, one of his disciples said to him, ‘Lord, teach us to pray, just as John taught his disciples.’” (Luke 11:1)

Jesus is ready and willing to answer this prayer. This section reveals His willingness to teach us about prayer. Here are his directives from this section,

“And when you pray, do not be like…But when you pray, go…And when you pray, do not…This, then, is how you should pray…’ (Matthew 6:1-13)

Praying this is like pushing against an open door. This prayer is His will for you. This prayer is His will for the church. One of the greatest privileges of salvation is prayer. You have been made a priest. You have the honour and responsibility to learn to pray.


RESPONSE

Today, let’s simply ask the Father to teach us to pray. However, let’s be clear, a prayer of faith will always be accompanied by expectant action. Peter had to walk on the water at Jesus’ command. Moses had to hold out his hand over the sea before they parted. You have to pray in faith that God will teach you to pray as you do so. Perhaps you’d like to pray something like this,

“Father, I thank you for adopting me into your family. I thank you that I can have confidence to enter your holy presence because of the blood of Jesus for my sin. Please forgive me where I’ve failed to pray as I ought. Please teach me to pray. Holy Spirit, give me words to pray. Help me to become like your Son, who set us the perfect example of prayer and obedience. In Jesus name, amen.”

For the rest of this week, we will be learning to pray through the four major themes of The Lord’s Prayer. If you’ve found this helpful, please share it with anyone else who might need help in learning to pray.


COMMUNITY GROUP STUDY - THIS THEN IS HOW YOU SHOULD PRAY

Notices

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


Suggested opener/Ice-breaker

Do you have any encouraging stories of answered prayer that you'd like to share?


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 continue to learn from Jesus about prayer from The Lord’s Prayer.


Please read Matthew 6:9-13 and Luke 11:1.


Let’s briefly look at The Lord’s prayer together. We're going to break this prayer into 4 themes. I don’t believe that Jesus is teaching us to repeat this prayer as a kind of mantra. Rather, He is teaching us the themes that should regularly feature in a healthy and well-rounded prayer-life. They are like the ingredients to a healthy diet.


1. PRAISE - WORSHIP

“…Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name…”

Prayer begins with looking up and recalling who God is. He’s our Father. He loves us. He’s with us. He’s for us. He ‘in heaven’. This speaks of His almighty power. He’s imminent and transcendent. He’s Abba Father and Holy, Holy, Holy.


2. PETITION

“Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us today our daily bread…”

Prayer also includes asking for things. Please prayers. Jesus teaches us to begin this section by praying ‘Your kingdom come, your will be done’. Not my kingdom and my will! We are to find out what God wants from His word and pray for that.

After praying for God’s Kingdom and will to be done, we turn to our needs. We are to pray for our ‘daily bread’, pray for the things that we need. Pray for other people’s needs.


3. PEACE - MAKING (RECEIVING AND GIVING FORGIVENESS)

“And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors…”

Penitence is a vital part of prayer as is forgiving others. I think that this is often overlooked in corporate and personal prayer. Many people change their friends and change their church because of unmet expectations. It’s easy to walk away, it’s Christ-like to forgive and love.


4. PROTECTION

“And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.”

We are to regularly pray for protection and pray for others to be protected from dark forces. Too many are unaware of his schemes. Too many of us don’t realise that we are in a war zone. We are not in peacetime.

Peter tells us that we are to be,

‘Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him,’ (1 Peter 5:8-9).

Discussion questions

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

2. Why is it important to begin prayer with praise and how do you do this?

3. Which of the four themes of prayer - praise, petition, peace-making and protection do you most overlook and why?

4. Our aim as a Community Group is for each of us to be growing in prayer. What steps does the Father want you to take in order to grow in prayer?


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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