Tom Scott - 13/01/2013
e-study for January 14, 2013
Do you ever struggle with your prayer life? Maybe you have experienced those moments when your prayers felt robotic in nature. There have been those moments when you wondered if God was listening to what you had to say. The disciples came to Jesus and one of them asked for some instructions on how to pray. These followers of Christ wanted to pray like Jesus did. In his sermon recorded for us in Matthew chapters five through seven, we find Jesus addressing the subject of prayer. It is in chapter six that we find what has come to be known as the Lord’s Prayer. In this message I addressed the question of where we are to pray. Some individuals will debate the issue of position and place when it comes to having an effective prayer life. Here are five questions that will help you reflect upon this message from verses five and six of Matthew chapter six.
1. For those of us who grew up in church we may have been taught the correct position for effective prayer. Some learned to kneel, others to bow your head, and others to stand up straight. You may have been taught to pray a certain way or in a certain place. If someone called you up on the telephone and conducted a survey on the topic of prayer, what answer would you give to this question: Who taught you how to pray as a child?
2. The first half of the sermon was devoted to sharing the story of six individuals who went off to find a place where they could pray. I mentioned people like Paul, Daniel, Jonah and Jesus from the Bible because these individuals valued their prayer time. Susanna Wesley and George Washington likewise had a special place to go when they wanted to pray. Do you have a special place that you like to go to when you want to pray about something?
3. Jesus would give us warnings to those listening to his sermon in Matthew chapter six. In the message I pointed out three warnings that Jesus shared with his audience. Jesus talked about how the hypocrites love to stand up in front of people and show off. These individuals love the praise of people and Jesus states that they will receive their just reward. An example of this is found in Luke 18:11-12. What is your reaction when you hear someone praying in this fashion?
4. The focus of the message was on the fact that Jesus wants us to build a prayer closet where we can go and pray to God. He gives a three step process to building this sacred place in our lives. The first step is to go to our room. Different translations use different words for “room,” but what Jesus is suggesting here is a quiet, secluded place where we can be alone with God. The second step is to close the door so as to shut out all the distractions of life. What can we do to close the door when it comes to our prayer time?
5. Jesus gives a third step to building a prayer closet in verse six. He says that we need to pray to our father. This seems simple, but there is a profound truth here. We are not praying to the minister, family members, or audience when we pray. Jesus is telling us to direct our prayers to our Father which art in Heaven. It’s that simple and yet some of us struggle with this. We struggle with finding the time and place where we can go and be alone with God. Jesus wants us to talk to God about what is going on in our lives. There is no secret position or place where our prayers become more effective. If we want a thriving prayer life, then we need to go and find a place where we can be alone with God. What is keeping you from that place today?
Prayer is such a powerful weapon in the hands of God’s children. My desire is that through this sermon series our prayer life will grow stronger as we seek to thrive in the Lord.