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Sermon on the Mount
“The 5 P’s of Prayer”
Prayer; vibrant, fervent prayer: prayer that truly touches the heart of God and changes the world is the most difficult of all responsibilities we have as believers.
What’s sad is that this is something God allows us to participate in regarding His work in our midst. In Ezekiel chapter 36 God was preparing Israel for a revival and said,
“I will also let the house of Israel inquire of Me to do this for them: I will increase their men like a flock.” (Ezekiel 36:37 NKJV)
It’s God’s desire that we seek to further His kingdom plans and purposes here on earth. It’s been said that no revival or work of God has ever taken off until God’s people set their hearts toward God and start calling out to Him. It’s important, therefore, that we keep an active prayer life, and that the spirit of prayer be alive in our hearts.
Bobby was a six-year-old only child. One evening he asked his father for a pet. His father said it was impossible, but if he prayed really hard for the next three months God will send him a baby brother.
Well Bobby prayed, but after a month and not see a baby brother he gave up. Two months later he saw his father holding his baby brother in his arms. But next to his mother was another baby brother, twins.
Bobby father’s said, “Aren’t you glad you prayed for a baby brother?” And Bobby replied, “Yeah, but aren’t you glad I stopped when I did?”
Most of us are like Bobby. We pray but after a while we become discouraged and our prayer life suffers, and for all intent and purposes, ceases.
Prayer is the one responsibility that I find the hardest to maintain. Give me a topic and I’ll research it to death. I love finding hidden nuggets in God’s word. But I admit that my prayer life falls short of where it should be.
There are times when I have felt like Isaiah before God’s throne hearing Him speak. But there are other times when I just can’t seem to get a connection. The reason may very well be the crowdedness and noise of life drowning out God’s voice, which in turn shortens my time in prayer.
We often fall short in our prayer life because we don’t understand its importance. Jesus realized this and so right smack dab in the middle of His sermon, as He was warning His disciples about religious hypocrisy, He took time to teach about the nature and character of prayer.
For us, prayer is merely the preparation for the battle, but for Jesus prayer was the battle.
Consider the Garden of Gethsemane. Jesus was in agony praying to the Father about His impending death while the disciples were sleeping through it. The results was that Jesus was able to face and triumph over the agony of the cross while the disciples ran in fear.
So what is Jesus teaching us about prayer?
First, prayer should not be a public spectacle, calling attention to ourselves. The only attention we should want is God’s attention.
Second, prayer shouldn’t be useless repetition. It’s not the length of a prayer that makes it effective; rather it’s the content and the heart behind it.
Read Matthew 6:5-15
Jesus said, “In this manner, therefore pray.”
Jesus is giving us a model that we’re to build our prayer life from, an outline if you would, which we’re to fill in. It’s a pattern by which we’re to follow, not an inflexible form to be repeated word for word. When that’s the case it becomes hypocritical and repetitious, two types of prayers denounced by Jesus.
John Bunyan said, “In prayer it is better to have a heart without words, than words without a heart.”
This prayer reveals the spirit by which we should pray
A Reverent Spirit – “Our Father…Hallowed by thy name.”
A Submissive Spirit – “Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done.”
A Humble Spirit – “Thy will be done.”
A Dependent Spirit – Give us this day…forgive our debts…lead us not into temptation.”
An Unselfish Spirit – “For Thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever.”
The 5 P’s of Prayer
Think about the significance of the name, “Father.” It should humble us to think that we can come to God as His child, and that He is our Father.
This word means
Jesus then goes on toe say, “Hallowed be Your name.”
By praying this, what we’re doing is asking God to set apart His name in our lives. But it’s more than just His name, because God’s name is virtually indistinguishable from His person.
When we say, “Hallowed be Your name,” we’re asking God to be God to us, to be God in our lives. We’re also asking that God would be honored in the way we live, and that His nature and character would be manifested within us.
In essence we’re asking God to do whatever is necessary so that His name will be held in reverence, even in spite of our shortcomings.
The best example of this can be found in God’s previous proclamation as He was preparing Israel for the revival to come.
“I do not do this for your sake, O house of Israel, but for My holy name’s sake, which you have profaned among the nations wherever you went…and the nations shall know that I am the Lord when I am hallowed in you before their eyes” (Ezekiel 36:22-23 NKJV)
We’re asking God to lift up His name, for His holy names’ sake so He will be lifted up.
Jesus tells us to pray with expectations looking forward with expectancy toward His future kingdom where Jesus will be ruling and reigning.
“Your kingdom come. Your will be done On earth as it is in heaven.” (Matthew 6:10 KNJV)
It’s about our attitude that now should be the time God sets up His kingdom. If this is our heart’s desire then our lives should reflect this request. Are we living as though the Lord could return at any time?
If we’re sincere about wanting God’s kingdom to come, then we should stop building our own kingdoms and start asking God to set up His kingdom within us and among us. It’s asking God to tear down our kingdoms so that His kingdom would rule and reign. So His will would be done on earth as it is in heaven.
“Give us this day our daily bread.” (Matthew 6:11 NKJV)
Bread represents that which is necessary to sustain life. Our prayer is for God to give us what we need, not what we desire.
This word, “daily,” is an interesting word. This is the only time it’s used in the Scripture. The word has been found written on ancient papyri, and it was actually someone’s grocery list. They wrote this word next to perishable items. It meant only enough for a day’s usage.
This, however, is somewhat foreign in our culture. Our foods are meant to last for more than a day, so they put in all these additives. Today we can buy food that will last for years.
We also live in a highly materialistic culture that says the person who dies with the most toys wins. Yet Jesus said what good is it if you gain the whole world but lose your soul in the process, Matthew 16:26.
Daily we are to look to God to provide our needs. Jesus said this is what we should be concentrating upon, not tomorrow or the next day. The reason is that today has enough trials and problems on its own and we really don’t need to be adding the worries of tomorrow to our already long list of worries that we have today, Matthew 6:34.
“And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.” (Matthew 6:12 NKJV)
Debt is used as a metaphor for sin, and what we know from God’s word, and the reality of our lives is that we’re all sinners.
The point Jesus is trying to get across is that there is a direct relationship between the way we forgive others and God’s forgiveness of us. Jesus reinforces this later on.
“For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.” (Matthew 6:14-15 NKJV)
If we want God’s forgiveness, then we need to be forgiving others what they’ve done to us. However, I’ve also heard this word used without any meaning or sincerity. They say, “I’ve forgiven them,” but in reality they haven’t. They still harbor bitter feelings and a grudge.
And so when we ask God to forgive us, the question becomes, “Have we forgiven others?”
God’s forgiveness is linked to our forgiveness. That’s really scary when you think about it. What’s we’re saying is for God to forgive us the same way we forgive others. Therefore it’s too our benefit to be forgiving.
“And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.” (Matthew 6:13a NKJV)
It’s important to understand that God doesn’t tempt anyone to sin.
The Apostle James says,
“Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am tempted by God”; for God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He Himself tempt anyone.” (James 1:13 NKJV)
What we’re asking for is God’s protection from Satan during the time of temptation and trials, and that’s because it’s at these times we’re most susceptible to attack.
There’s a game that father’s plays with their children. They hold a coin tight in their fist and the child tries with all their might to get it. They pry one finger loose after another until they get the coin. Then they run away laughing because they got what they wanted.
This is how we are with our heavenly Father.
We come to Him like that child, that is, interested in the coin in His hand, which represents things like finances, relationships, healings, job, home, family, and friends.
And God, as our loving Father, grants our request. But when we get the coin we push His hand away running with glee because we now have what we wanted.
When we come to God let’s stop being so intent upon the coins in His hand, because it’s not the coins that are important. It’s the hand that holds the coins, because it’s the hand of our loving heavenly Father.
Do not push away God’s hand and run away happy that you’ve got what you wanted; instead hold onto His hand, because it’s the hand of our heavenly Father that provides our daily needs, pardons our sins, and protects us.
Therefore, we should reach for God’s hand, not for the coins within. It’s His hand that upholds us.
Wednesday Evening Bible Study