Shift, Part 1 – Parade to Private Prayers

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S.O.A.P. – “Scripture, Observation, Application, Prayer”

If you were to assess your “spiritual nutrition,” where does “prayer” fit into your “diet”? Is it an enjoyable part of your daily “food”? Is it a “supplement” that you only take when needed?

Scripture:

“When you pray, don’t be like the hypocrites who love to pray publicly on street corners and in the synagogues where everyone can see them. I tell you the truth, that is all the reward they will ever get. But when you pray, go away by yourself, shut the door behind you, and pray to your Father in private. Then your Father, who sees everything, will reward you.

“When you pray, don’t babble on and on as the Gentiles do. They think their prayers are answered merely by repeating their words again and again. Don’t be like them, for your Father knows exactly what you need even before you ask him!

Pray like this: Our Father in heaven, may your name be kept holy. May your Kingdom come soon. May your will be done on earth, as it is in heaven. Give us today the food we need, and forgive us our sins, as we have forgiven those who sin against us. And don’t let us yield to temptation, but rescue us from the evil one. For yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen. Matthew 6:5-13 NLT

Sermon Insights:

Jesus is not teaching or advocating a magic formula, and he is not advocating ritual or rote prayers. Rather he is trying to tell us that God is more interested in our hearts than in our words.

God knows our needs, and he expects us to come to him, but not with an abundance of empty words and repetitive phrases like we are somehow trying to get God’s attention. We should pray earnestly using our minds and own words from our hearts.

Our God is a big God, a powerful God, a God who is strong enough to save sinners from their sins. And we can approach God’s throne in confidence that he hears us.

Jesus indicates that you will be rewarded sometime in the future for private prayer to our Father. How does that change your perspective?

“Our Father” – Are you responding to God as a close Father? Why or why not?

“…in heaven” – Pastor Greg said, “I think by the context that the intended meaning that Jesus gave us is this: ‘Our Father, the God of the heavens, who is all around us just like the very air we breathe…” How is it beneficial to think of God not as “far away” but “very close all the time”?

“…may your name be kept holy.” – God is strong enough to save us from our sins. How are you approaching God’s throne with confidence?

Lord, thank you for being my Father who is near all the time and is powerful enough to forgive my sins and assure me of your love. Help me to trust you and keep you in the forefront of my mind and heart.