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Matthew 6





 

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TRANSCRIPT


How often do you pray? Or maybe a better question is how often should you pray? The

scriptures say in 1 Thessalonians 5:17 that we are to never stop praying. You’re

thinking, “But come on? Who really does that? How do you never stop praying? Who

has time for that?” Maybe you’re asking these questions yourself and already feeling

anxious.


When you look at the statistics, it gets even scarier. Less than half of American adults

pray daily. Studies conducted by the Pew Research Center show that just under 45% of

American adults pray on a daily basis. And over 32% of people said they seldom or

never pray.


The truth is, people and Christians alike are praying less than ever before. Why is that?

One of the most common answers given as to why people don’t pray is that they don’t

know how to pray. Some say that prayer feels as if you are just talking to yourself.

Others don’t believe it impacts their spiritual life or has no real significance. And others

just don’t make time or are too busy for this spiritual discipline. The good news is that Jesus taught us the very foundation of prayer and what it should look like.


In Matthew 6, Jesus is teaching about prayer and fasting and makes a few

significant statements about how our prayer life is supposed to look.


The first lesson He teaches is that we’re not supposed to pray to gain public recognition

or attention. In verses 5-6, Jesus teaches us to pray privately to our Father and that He

will reward us. Now don’t misinterpret this scripture – Jesus isn’t teaching that we

should never pray in public. Going back to the research, we’ve gotten this wrong as

well. 82% of praying adults pray silently and by themselves. Jesus is teaching about the

heartbeat behind our prayers. Are we praying to draw closer to our Father, or are we

praying to look extra spiritual in front of others?


The next lesson Jesus teaches us is that prayer is about depth, not length. Jesus says

that when you’re making a prayer of request, it shouldn’t be a bunch of repetition of the

same words over and over again. The Gentiles had made practice of doing this. They

would repeat the same things over and over again, thinking that would cause their

prayers to be answered. But Jesus says that our Father knows what we need before we

ever ask. Meaning that God doesn’t need to hear our requests over and over again. He

desires that our prayers would be deep, not necessarily long.


Jesus then continues by teaching us how to pray and gives us the Lord’s prayer. Now

I’ve heard entire message series in churches that cover the Lord’s prayer, and we don’t

have enough time to go into all the different theological aspects of it today. But I want to

leave you with a couple reminders in regard to the Lord’s prayer and how we should

pray.


The first example we need to note in this prayer is honoring the Father. Jesus says,

“Our Father in Heaven, hallowed be your name”. Hallowed is one of those terms that we

hear in church, but don’t actually understand. Hallowed means to be considered sacred

or holy. When Jesus says, “hallowed be your name”, He’s saying that the name of God

is holy and should be treated as such.


Essentially, Jesus begins this prayer with an intentional act of honoring and giving

praise to the Father. Jesus didn’t start the prayer by asking God for all of the things He

wanted or needed help with. He began by giving honor to His Father - to our Father. So often when we pray, we bring our laundry list of requests and needs to God without honoring Him. We need to remember, even in our times of need, that we are to honor God with our prayers.


Another example we need to note from this prayer is submission to the Father’s will.

Jesus says, “Your kingdom come, Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven”. Notice

that Jesus didn’t say, “My will be done on earth”. In praying for God’s will to be done on

earth, Jesus exemplified that we are to put God’s will above our own. This means that

we truly desire for God’s purposes, plans, and desires to be fulfilled in our lives. But this is

more than just words being spoken. When we pray, it realigns us with God’s heart, and

in doing so, it moves us into action.


As we conclude today, I don’t know where you’re at in your prayer life. Maybe you

haven’t prayed today, for a long time, or maybe you haven’t ever prayed. What I know is

that God designed prayer as an open line of communication between you and your

Heavenly Father. Prayer was never created to be an impossible task. Jesus taught us

how to pray and what it should look like. Find time today to make prayer a priority in

your life.

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