Tom Scott - 20/01/2013
e-study for January 21, 2013
Winter has set in and the flu season is in full swing.† Some of us are looking forward to Spring and all that is brings.† The message this week came from Matthew chapter six.† In verses seven and eight, Jesus continues to talk about prayer as a prelude to the Lordís Prayer.† Last week we dealt with the issue of where we are to pray; this week we dealt with how we should pray.† In the King James Version it says that we should avoid using vain repetition when offering our prayers to God.†† These five questions will help us to understand how we should pray to God so as to prevent ourselves from slipping into meaningless babbling.
1.† The message opened up with an exercise to see how well we remember the prayers that we were taught as children.† Many of us grew up learning the Lordís Prayer at church, there was a bedtime prayer that mom or dad would recite every evening, and then there was the mealtime grace in which we asked for Godís blessings upon what we were about to eat.† Did your family have other prayers that were repeated in your home?
2.† Jesus tells his audience that when they pray, to avoid using vain repetition like the pagans do in their prayer times.† If we travel back into the Old Testament we get a feel for what the pagans did in their prayers that Jesus wanted his followers to avoid.† First Kings chapter 18 tells the story of the priests of Baal chanting for the better part of a day to their god in hopes that he would ignite a fire upon their altar.† Endlessly they cried out for an answer from Baal but there was no response.† Has there ever been a time when you felt that picture resembled your prayer life; you felt like you were saying the same prayer over and over again with no response?
3.† As Jesus continues on with his words in verse eight, he tells the audience that God already knows what they need even before they ask him.† In verse 32, Jesus will acknowledge that God knows that his children need these things such as food and clothing.† Jesus wanted people to simply ask God for what they needed without thinking that they needed to impress Him with their long prayers.† Are there times when we forget to simply ask God for the daily things that we need in our lives?
4.† When we pray to God, we should let our request be known to God.† We should pray in faith knowing that God can do the impossible.† Paul says in Ephesians 3:20 that God can immeasurably do more than what we ask or imagine.† That is a powerful statement there when you stop and think about what God has already done for us.† Jesus is looking for faith in our prayers.† Do we believe that God can cure the sick, heal the hurting, feed the hungry, and visit the lonely?† Is that faith reflected in the way we pray about the issues of the day?
5.† Something else that Jesus was looking for in our prayers was passion.† When Jesus prayed in the garden it says that he was in such anguish that his sweat became like drops of blood falling to the ground.† These prayers that Jesus offered up to God in the garden were coming from his heart and not just his head.† That is the problem we sometimes deal with when we keep repeating the same prayers all the time.† There is a lack of passion or sincerity in what we are saying.† A thriving prayer life is one full of passion and sincerity.† How is it possible for you to show passion in your prayer life without crossing the line into vain repetition?
With all the sickness going around; there is no greater time for us to be in prayer for one another than now.† Please keep your church family in prayer as we look forward to greater health.† Make it a great week in the Lord!