Series: So Many Questions
Orchard Hill Church
July 1, 2012
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People have many questions about prayer. It can be confusing.
We received questions like:
- How does it work?
- Does God answer it?
- Why do we pray?
- If God’s gonna do what God’s gonna do then why do we have to pray?
[Now we watch Nooma video #19 “Open”]
Nooma – Open from juan pablo Steinmann on Vimeo.
Maybe you don’t remember your first prayer? Meal time? Bed time?
Prayer seemed like a formality. So that you could receive God’s benefit. Something “right” to say.
A script of words. Like, “Now I lay me down to sleep…”
Well, what if prayer has little to do with getting what we want?
Here are some things that Jesus said about prayer:
Matthew 26:36-39 NLT
Then Jesus went with them to the olive grove called Gethsemane, and he said, “Sit here while I go over there to pray.” He took Peter and Zebedee’s two sons, James and John, and he became anguished and distressed. He told them, “My soul is crushed with grief to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.”
He went on a little farther and bowed with his face to the ground, praying, “My Father! If it is possible, let this cup of suffering be taken away from me. Yet I want your will to be done, not mine.”
Jesus first asked for the cup to be taken.
Then he asked for the Lord’s will to be done.
Matthew 6:5-14 NLT
“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 people of other religions 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. “If you forgive those who sin against you, your heavenly Father will forgive you.
When it comes to prayer, location matters.
If your goal is to impress others then that’s all you get.
Instead, close the door and be real with God. You will gain much more.
Story: An intentional time to talk
It was a busy time when the kids were young
Doug and his wife needed to take time together, alone, to share about their day and then get squared away on the upcoming activities
If they didn’t take the time to do that they would slowly drift apart.
Could it be that God wants the SAME thing to happen with you and me?
God doesn’t always give you everything you want. It says, “God will reward you.”
God isn’t moved by quantity, quality, or volume of your words. He simply wants you. Alone. Honest. Open.
The point of prayer is not about asking for stuff and saying what you need.
Story: “I know you know this, but I’m going to tell you again.”
Ever have someone tell you a story and in the middle of it they say, “Have I already told you this?”
…and then they keep telling you anyway.
Same thing with God. Although he already knows what’s happened he enjoys the interaction with your sharing from your perspective.
Prayer is a relationship.
Yes, it can happen at worship service, small groups and other activities but that’s not enoughh
It’s about a time for you to be alone with God.
The reward you gain is a deep and lasting peace that comes from knowing that God is with you.
Place and time matter. Words not so much.
Pray the Lord’s Prayer.