Pray Like Jesus

The "Lord's Prayer" has often been misused over the last 2,000 years, but David explains Jesus' purpose of giving us a model prayer.

TRANSCRIPT

David Sorn

6/13/10

Renovation Church

Series:  “Sermon on the Mount – Section 3”

Topic:  “Pray Like Jesus”

 

 INTRODUCTION

Morning.  David Sorn.  Pastor of Renovation Church. 

Continuing in our Sermon on the Mount series

Last week, we took a week to cover a topic we skipped over in the Fall, and now we are going to resume where we left off in the Spring. 

The last topic we did in the Sermon on the Mount in the Spring was on humble prayer. 

To review, let’s read that passage we last read at the end of March

(Matthew 6:5-8) – NIV

 5"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 men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full. 6But 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. 7And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. 8Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.

Ok, so Jesus has just given some great advice on HOW to pray, and now, he’s going to give us some advice on WHAT TO PRAY ABOUT

 

 

THE PASSAGE

What he says might be incredibly familiar to some of you, and for others of you, maybe you’ve never heard it before in your life.  It probably depends on what your faith background is…if any. 

(Matthew 6:9-15) - NIV

 9"This, then, is how you should pray: 
   " 'Our Father in heaven, 
   hallowed be your name, 
 10your kingdom come, 
   your will be done 
      on earth as it is in heaven. 
 11Give us today our daily bread. 
 12Forgive us our debts, 
      as we also have forgiven our debtors. 
 13And lead us not into temptation, 
   but deliver us from the evil one.' 14For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.

 

 

THE SPECTRUM

These verses (9-13 anyway) in history, have been called the Lord’s prayer. 

This might be your first time seeing them, maybe you’re vaguely familiar with them, or maybe you could recite them from memory in perfect monotone. 

In a lot of Christian traditions, these verses are said every Sunday as a prayer.  Especially in Catholic churches or mainline protestant churches (Lutheran, Methodist, Presbyterian, Episcopalian, etc.)

In the church I grew up in before I became a Christian, we would say it every single week.  Right after the doxology.  J

Saying the Lord’s prayer was like walking.  You just did it.  And you did it a lot. 

However, in the evangelical church, The Lord’s prayer is hardly ever used.  And it almost feels wrong to pray it. 

“Oh…you’re praying the Lord’s prayer…”  L  

So we really have both ends of the spectrum in Christianity.  I think there’s a happy medium though. 

First though, I think it’s helpful to discuss how things got so polarized on opposite ends of the spectrum. 

The catholic and mainline churches rightfully took Jesus’ advice and prayed like he instructed; however, the mistake was made when it became a rigorous form rather than a model. 

In these verses today, Jesus is giving us a model for praying.  It’s a guide if you will.  A guide with some important things to make sure you get. 

Let me give you an example:  According to a recent poll, you know what the most common phobia in America is? 

The fear of public speaking. 

Followed closely behind by the fear of snakes.  Which are great to have show up in your apartment. 

Let’s say you have to give a speech (for class, for work, for a group)

Go to google and type in “How to give a speech”

You find a model for giving a speech.  It’s in 4 parts:

Introduce yourself

Tell a funny joke

Explain your topic

End with a witty quote

So you decide you’re going to give your speech based exactly on that format: 

Introduce yourself “Hi I’m David Sorn”

Tell a funny “Where does a turtle go when it’s raining…a shell-ter.”

Explain your topic:  Now I will tell you what my topic is about.  My topic today is about…

End with a witty quote:  And finally, “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.”

Say you had to give a speech a month later…….you wouldn’t get back up and say…

“I’m David Sorn...where does a turtle go when it’s raining?”

No, it was just a model. 

Models are great.  But you don’t just repeat the model over and over. 

And I’m caricaturizing a little bit, but that’s sort of what happened in much of our churches.  The Lord’s prayer was a model that turned into a “must-say word-by-word prayer.”

It’s a great model, but much like if I just told the same turtle joke every time I got up here, it would become boring and lifeless because it’s just repetitive mumbo jumbo. 

And for a lot of people that’s what the prayer has become… 

(lifeless)  “Our father who art in heaven…hallowed be thy name….”

And even worse…sometimes the Lord’s prayer has been turned into almost ritualistic magic. 

People are advised…oh, you’re struggling with guilt and feel like God doesn’t love you?  Just say the Lord’s prayer 7 times…and you’ll be just fine. 

And oddly enough, Jesus says just 2 verses earlier, not to babble on mindlessly like the pagans. 

And it’s because of things like this that the Evangelical church has had an unwarranted overreaction and swung to the complete opposite side of the spectrum and thrown the baby out with the bath water. 

Oh, the Lord’s Prayer!  We don’t say that.  We don’t do that here. 

As if it was sinful to pray like Jesus instructed us to pray. 

 

 

A MODEL

And really the happy medium is understanding that Jesus is just presenting a model (a form if you will) for how to pray. 

It’s not, “This is what you should pray every time you pray and this only.”  But it’s more like:  These are some of the key things you should address in prayer. 

And we know that Biblically by reading the rest of the Bible.  The Bible tells us there are tons more things we should pray about…so we know we don’t just have to pray these words. 

And also by reading the rest of the Bible, we do see that this is actually a really good summary of what we should pray about. 

And let me also say this…it’s not bad to just sometimes pray this prayer exactly either. 

It’s a good reminder of the things we should pray about.  Sometimes at the end of my prayer time.  I’ll pray this prayer.  Just to make sure I’m really focusing on the things I need to be focusing on. 

And it’s not mindless.  Sometimes I’ll stop. 

“As we forgive those who trespass against us” (and I might stop and pray about that a while)

Where we’re going to focus on today is the model that is presented in the Lord’s prayer and how it can improve your prayer life, so you can pray more like Jesus. 

So as we go through these things, be thinking about if you’re doing them in your prayer life.  Maybe a piece of them is just completely missing. 

Or maybe you don’t really pray much.  May this be a good framework for you to start talking to God.  Even if it’s just a little. 

PRAISE

All right, let’s look at the first part of the prayer. 

(Matthew 6:9) - NIV

  9"This, then, is how you should pray: 
   " 'Our Father in heaven, 
   hallowed be your name, 

Jesus starts with “our father in heaven”

What’s interesting about how he starts the prayer, is that he actually uses the word “abba” for father….which is like what little kids called their father. 

So the best translation is like “daddy.” 

So prayer should start personal. 

Maybe you’ve always just approached God in prayer like he was this gigantic cosmic force far away.   Yet Jesus tells us we can approach him like a little child would approach his dad. 

If you’ve been praying for a long time…let me ask you…does your prayer look like that?  IS it like a kid talking to his dad? 

Something to think about. 

Jesus continues then with “hallowed be your name.” 

I’m actually really surprised they left “hallowed” in a lot of the modern translations.  It means nothing to pretty much everyone in modern times. 

I think they just did it because most people who have this prayer memorized, have the king james version memorized (which uses hallowed) 

Or if you’re extra holy you say “HAL-o-WED”

It basically means this:  “Let your name be made holy.”  Or  “Let your name be kept holy.” 

And the word “Holy” means to set apart.  Something that is holy is special and set apart from everything else.  And that is what God is.  He is Holy.  He is set apart from the rest of us in that he is without sin.  He is perfect. 

He is set apart from any other so called god or idol in that he is the only one that actually exists.  He is holy.  May his name be holy. 

So, it’s to come to God in prayer with two things in mind.  Two things that at first can seem like they’re opposites, but they’re not. 

On the one hand, we come calling him daddy…on the other hand, He is the Most High almighty and holy God. 

But that is truly who God is.  He is this loving father figure who is unbelievably in love with you AND at the same time He is perfect and majestic and awe-inspiring. 

And getting both ends of that spectrum is important. 

If I were to draw a continuum, what side do you think you’re on?

Because we certainly can swing too far to one side…

If you swing too far to the daddy side (you can forget that He is also awesome, he can do all things, sometimes he gets angry, sometimes he’s gonna put you through trials). 

But if you swing too far to Great and HAL-o-WED side, you can forget that he is often gentle, so kind, and your friend. 

So both are important in prayer. 

But let me point out here, that this model prayer…or checklist prayer…(it’s almost like a list of good things to cover in prayer)…the model prayer starts out with addressing and praising God

How do most people using start prayer?

Two words:  “I need” 

But PRAISE is also an essential part of prayer. 

 

 

PRIORITIES

Let’s look at the next part of the prayer…

(Matthew 6:10) – NIV

  10your kingdom come, 
   your will be done 
      on earth as it is in heaven. 

Jesus says…”your kingdom come.”  In the Bible, Jesus speaks often of “The Kingdom of God.”  Which is simply “the dome in which God is king.”  The sphere of life in which God rules. 

And with the ushering in of Jesus to earth…the Kingdom of God starting reigning ever more on earth.  God is starting to rule in people’s hearts all over the world. 

But the other part of the kingdom of God is that sometime, God will reign supreme over absolutely everything.  When the end of days comes and Jesus returns to earth. 

So we pray.  We pray for both. 

We pray mostly that God would reign in our lives.  And in the lives of people around us.  That he would rule.  That we would worship him like a king. 

And we tell him that we are excited and can’t wait for the day until the kingdom of God reigns over everything. 

And in a really similar manner, we also pray that God’s WILL would be done here on earth…as it is in heaven. 

Because in heaven, God reigns absolutely.  Everything in his will happens there. 

But on earth, in the weird paradox that is his plan and our free will, there is a place that we have to ask for his will to be done.  We ask him to move. 

Which may seem kind of weird because we think…well doesn’t He have it under control? 

But yet, well wouldn’t prayer be pointless then too? 

But there’s something about praying…and praying for his will to be done that is helpful.  IT does something!

So we ask him for HIS will to be done. 

Which again, is often not the way we pray. 

And is yet another reason why this prayer is helpful. 

Because sometimes what I’m praying for isn’t even the right thing to pray for. 

It’s like young kids. 

I think the best phrase kids ever say is:  “But I neeeeed it.” 

Oh, like, you mean if you don’t get that Barbie…you would die.” 

Yes, that’s exactly what I mean. 

Sometimes kids don’t have the best grasp on what they need

And if you think that’s true, I guarantee you that OUR grasp on what we need is way worse than that of any child. 

God has an even greater understanding for what you need than any parent does for their child. 

And so we pray for things and actions that we think we need done…but always with an acknowledgement like Jesus prayed in the garden, but Father, “not my will, but your will be done.” 

So, we’re beginning to see how Jesus feels about setting up prayer.  It starts not only with an acknowledgement of praise, but with an acknowledgement of setting our priorities right. 

And if we first establish in prayer that God is king and ask for His will to be done, we’re really then a lot less likely to pray selfishly.

 

 

PROVISION

But, prayer is not all just about praising and setting our priorities right.  God understands that a lot of prayer is asking.  Asking God to provide.  And so Jesus continues. 

(Matthew 6:11) – NIV

  11Give us today our daily bread. 

Part of praying is just asking God to meet our needs.  Both physically and spiritually. 

This is more important than you might think.  Especially for us.

We often have a tendency in America to be quite self-reliant.  There are some good things about that.  And some bad things as well. 

The more that we have, the harder it is to rely on God.  It seems kind of counter-intuitive…but hear me out

The more you have…the less you need to rely on him.  Because…well…you can rely on yourself.  You’re not worried about getting bread today, getting fed today.  You’re not worried about shelter, etc.

But as some have learned, even in this recession, things can go away quickly.  And daily dependence on God is important. 

And not just for our physical needs.  Spiritual as well.  We need to depend on him every day to fill us up!  Every day!

D.L. Moody once said, “A man can no more take a supply of grace for the future than he can eat enough today to last him for the next 6 months, nor can he inhale sufficient air into his lungs with one breath to sustain life for a week to come. We are permitted to draw upon God’s store of grace from day to day as we need it!”  

And thus depending on God…praying to God…has to be a daily thing.  We NEED to each and every day…whether we think we do or not.   WE DO!

 The prayer then continues with our daily needs and spiritual life

(Matthew 6:12) – NIV

  12Forgive us our debts, 
      as we also have forgiven our debtors. 

Debts is kind of a funny word.  (not talking about financial debts) The Luke version of this prayer actually just says sins. 

And they’re basically the same word, but “debts” brings out the fact that we owe something to God.  We’ve fallen short of his standard.  And thus, we owe obedience. 

As 1 Corinthians says, we were bought (Jesus died for us) with a price. 

And thus we ask him to forgive us for where we fall short. 

But the prayer says that we are ALSO to forgive our debtors.  Or some of the translations just say, “Those who have sinned against us.”

And later in verses 14 and 15 Jesus goes as far as saying:   14For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.

Which is basically just a strong way of saying that if you’re not forgiving those who sin against you, you must not really understand how much debt (sin) God forgave you of. 

But asking for our own forgiveness and forgiving those who have hurt us are important hallmarks of a good prayer life. 

Are they in your prayer life? 

Again, it’s easy to get caught up in, “Help me with this, give me strength here, help me with this job…”

But prayer is so much more. 

And forgiveness (understanding grace) needs to be a key part of our conversations with God.  

And Jesus concludes the prayer with just simply saying…

(Matthew 6:13) - NIV

 13And lead us not into temptation, 
   but deliver us from the evil one.' 

Which we’ve talked a lot about in our Hooks temptation series, but asking God to deliver you from evil is important. 

And I like that the prayer says “lead us not into temptation.” 

May  we be bold enough to ask that God would not just get us out of the tempting places we’ve gotten ourselves into but that he would help us to not even get into them in the first place

 

 

   CONCLUSION

If you memorized the Lord’s prayer as a kid or anything, you might know that it typically has an ending too.  It goes like this:  “For yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever.  Amen.”  Or really spiritual people add forever AND EVER AMEN.” 

Interestingly enough, those words aren’t actually in Jesus’ original prayer.  They were just added later to I suppose give it a more natural ending. 

But then again, it wasn’t necessarily supposed to have an “ending” to begin with because it’s meant to be a model…  A form of prayer…

And it’s a broad form that really helps us keep our prayers God focused and God centered

Some commentators have separated the Lord’s prayer into three sections:  Praise, Priorities, and Provision. 

Starts with praising him, focus your priorities (about his kingdom, his will), and then ask that he would provide. 

And those are three things always worth covering in your prayer life. 

Another really good prayer system that I think is really helpful and lines up decently well with what the Lord’s prayer covers is the ACTS prayer method: 

(put up ACTS slide)

Adoration

Confession

Thanksgiving

Supplication

So my challenge to you this week is to audit your prayer life.  Maybe you go home and open up the Bible this week to the passage we read today (mt 6) and start thinking about those different aspects of the Lord’s prayer. 

To start auditing your prayer life. 

Are you leaving out Adoration and praise?

Are you forgiving people? 

Are you asking that he would provide?

Or maybe this is just a week where you just start praying again…  Maybe it’s been a while.  And maybe this is just a form (or something like the ACTS method) that you can use to get you started again

And I pray you do.  He’s worth talking to. 

Let’s pray together. 

And I’m actually going to pray the Lord’s prayer as it’s written in the Bible.  But I’ll do it slowly, so think about it in your heart as I pray. 

   " 'Our Father in heaven, 
   hallowed be your name, 
 10your kingdom come, 
   your will be done 
      on earth as it is in heaven. 
 11Give us today our daily bread. 
 12Forgive us our debts, 
      as we also have forgiven our debtors. 
 13And lead us not into temptation, 
   but deliver us from the evil one.'    AMEN


Copyright: David Sorn
Renovation Church in Blaine, MN

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