“Be careful not to practice your righteousness in front of others to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven. “So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full.But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. “And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words.Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him. “This, then, is how you should pray: “‘Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation,but deliver us from the evil one." Matthew 6:5-13
Do you ever long for a more passionate and intimate relationship with Christ?
Have you ever wondered what it takes to maintain a spiritual relationship as intense as Jesus had?
Jesus says, "When you pray, pray sincerely!"
Sincere prayer means praying heartfelt prayer, honoring prayers, humble prayers and honest prayers. That's how Jesus prayed.
Here's what I know about relationships, the test of a relationship is how honest you are able to be with the other person. The more honest you can be the intimate you will be.
Do you have a relationship like that? Are you able to be completely honest with your spouse or are there things you have to hide from them for fear they would reject you or be upset with you?
Is your spouse able to be completely honest with you or are you easily offended or upset? Does your spouse find it necessary to walk on eggshells around you?
What would happen in your relationship if you lived sincerely as you pray. What if you were heartfelt when you shared with them? What if you were humble and honest and honored them above yourself?
Would that make your relationship healthier and more satisfying? Wouldn't it create more intimacy between you?
What if you began by learning to pray sincerely as Jesus taught? What if you learned how to pray heartfelt, honoring, humble and honest prayers to God? What if you discovered the power of praying heartfelt honoring, humble and honest prayers for your spouse and your marriage? What if you began to draw strength and security and confidence from God so you were able to risk building those qualities into your marriage relationship?
James said, "Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands,you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded." James 4:8
Finding intimacy with God through sincere prayer will strengthen all your relationships. Prayer really does change things! Beginning with you!
"When you pray, don’t be like those show-offs who love to stand up and pray in the meeting places and on the street corners. They do this just to look good. I can assure you that they already have their reward. When you pray, go into a room alone and close the door. Pray to your Father in private. He knows what is done in private, and he will reward you. When you pray, don’t talk on and on as people do who don’t know God. They think God likes to hear long prayers. Don’t be like them. Your Father knows what you need before you ask. You should pray like this: Our Father in heaven, help us to honoryour name. Come and set up your kingdom so that everyone on earth will obey you, as you are obeyedin heaven. Give us our food for today.Forgive us for doing wrong, as we forgive others. Keep us from being tempted and protect us from evil."Matthew 6:5-13
If Jesus teaches on prayer shouldn't you listen and learn from Him?
So far we have learned that when you pray you should pray sincerely, you should pray secretly and you should pray securely.
This morning I want to go into greater detail on what it means to pray sincerely. Jesus gives you insights into that topic through His pattern for prayer given to the disciples:
"You should pray like this: Our Father in heaven, help us to honoryour name. Come and set up your kingdom so that everyone on earth will obey you, as you are obeyedin heaven. Give us our food for today.Forgive us for doing wrong, as we forgive others. Keep us from being tempted and protect us from evil."
Out of this come four aspects of sincere prayer. Sincere prayer should be:
Jesus said, "When you pray don't pray like the Pharisees and religious leaders."
PRINCIPLE ONE OF SINCERE PRAYER:
“As the hart panteth after the water
brooks, so panteth my soul after thee, O God”Psalm 42:1
“The effectual fervent [one word in the
prayer of a righteous man availeth much”James 5:16
“Let us draw near with a true heart in
full assurance of faith”Hebrews 10:22
heartfelt prayers don’t even need words.
ever you go preach the gospel and when necessary use words.” – St. Francis
“In certain ways
we are weak, but the Spirit is here to help us. For example, when we don’t know
what to pray for, the Spirit prays for us in ways that cannot be put into words.All of our thoughts are known to God. He can
understand what is in the mind of the Spirit, as the Spirit prays for God’s
people.” Romans 8:26-27
to prayer fully focused and fully engaged.
to prayer giving God your best not your leftovers.
this is why fasting is so helpful. What do you think?
Do you offer heartfelt prayers
to God when you pray?
PRINCIPLE TWO OF SINCERE
"You should pray like this: Our Father in
heaven, help us to honor your name…
Honoring God means giving
Him His place. He’s God, you’re not!
Honoring God means
recognizing your place – dependent on Him!
Honoring God means giving Him
first place in your heart and mind.
honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me.” Matthew 15:8
told a story to some people who thought they were better than others and who
looked down on everyone else:Two men went
into the temple to pray.One
was a Pharisee and the other a tax collector.The
Pharisee stood over by himself and prayed,“God, I thank
you that I am not greedy, dishonest, and unfaithful in marriage like other
people. And I am really glad that I am not like that tax collector over there.I go without
eatingfor two days a week, and I give you one tenth of all I earn.
”The tax collector stood off at a distance and did not think he was good enough
even to look up toward heaven. He was so sorry for what he had done that he
pounded his chest and prayed, “God, have pity on me! I am such a sinner.”Then Jesus said, “When the two men went home,
it was the tax collector and not the Pharisee who was pleasing to God. If you
put yourself above others, you will be put down. But if you humble yourself,
you will be honored.” Luke
PRINCIPLE THREE OF SINCERE
“Come and set up your kingdom, so that
everyone on earth will obey you, as you are obeyed in heaven.”
Jesus is saying that
humility is a matter of knowing whose Kingdom it is AND being happy about it –
welcoming it and promoting it and extending it!
doubt the Scriptures that say, “God truly cares about the Spirit he has put in
us”?In fact, God treats us with even greater kindness, just as the
opposes everyonewho is proud,but
he is kind to everyonewho is humble.”Surrender to God! Resist the devil, and he
will run from you.Come near to God, and he will come near to
you. Clean up your lives, you sinners. Purify your hearts, you people who can’t
make up your mind. Be sad and sorry and weep. Stop
laughing and start crying. Be gloomy instead of glad.Be humble in the Lord’s presence,
and he will honor you.” James
Humility is understanding
you are under authority and being grateful about it.
“An African tribe expresses gratitude in a similar way by
saying, “I sit on the ground before you.” When someone wants to make his
gratitude known, he goes and just sits quietly for a period of time in front of
the hut of the person to whom he is grateful.
One of the fundamental qualities invariably found in a grateful
person is humility. Gratitude is the overflow of a humble heart, just as surely
as an ungrateful, complaining spirit flows out of a proud heart.
Proud people are wrapped up in themselves. They think much of
themselves and little of others. If people or circumstances don’t please or
suit them, they are prone to whine or become resentful. This month’s study
reminds us that “God opposes the proud.” The concept is that He stiff-arms
them, He keeps them at a distance, He “sets Himself in battle array” against
But when we choose to humble ourselves, as we are exhorted in
James 4, God draws near to us and pours His grace into our lives. His Spirit
does a cleansing, purifying work in our hearts; gives us victory over the
noisy, demanding tyrant of self; and enables us to be thankful people, even in
the midst of challenging circumstances.
Humble people are wrapped up in Christ. A humble person thinks
much of God and others, and little–if at all–of himself. He recognizes that
anything he has is better than he deserves. He does not feel anyone owes him
anything. He does not feel entitled to have more, or for life to be easy, or
for everyone to love him and treat him well. He is grateful for the least
little kindness that is extended to him, knowing it is more than he deserves.” NANCY DeMOSS – “Decision Online”
PRINCIPLE FOUR OF SINCERE
“Give us our food for today. Forgive us for
doing wrong, as we forgive others. Keep us from being
tempted and protect us from evil."Matthew
“OK, GOD, HERE IS WHAT I
THINK I NEED BUT I ALSO UNDERSTAND YOU KNOW WHAT I NEED.”
“Your Father knows what you need before you ask…”, Matthew 6:8
HONESTY PROTECTS YOU FROM WORRY
you not to worry about your life. Don’t worry about having something to eat,
drink, or wear. Isn’t life more than food or clothing?Look at the birds in the sky!
They don’t plant or harvest. They don’t even store grain in barns. Yet your
Father in heaven takes care of them. Aren’t you worth more than birds?Can worry make you live longer?Why worry about clothes? Look how the wild flowers grow. They don’t work
hard to make their clothes.But I tell you that Solomon with all his
wealthwasn’t as well clothed as one of them.God gives such beauty to
everything that grows in the fields, even though it is here today and thrown
into a fire tomorrow. He will surely do even more for you! Why do you have such
little faith?Don’t worry and ask yourselves,
“Will we have anything to eat? Will we have anything to drink? Will we have any
clothes to wear?”Only people who don’t know God are always
worrying about such things. Your Father in heaven knows that you need all of
these.But more than anything else, put God’s work
first and do what he wants. Then the other
things will be yours as well.Don’t worry about tomorrow. It will take
care of itself. You have enough to worry about today. Matthew
ANOTHER KEY TO
HONESTY IS COMING INTO AGREEMENT WITH GOD.
"Again I say to you, that if two of you agree on earth about
anything that they may ask, it shall be done for them by My Father who is in
“If we confess
(honestly agree with God) our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our
sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” I John 1:9
"When you pray, don’t be like those show-offs who love to stand up and pray in the meeting places and on the street corners. They do this just to look good. I can assure you that they already have their reward. When you pray, go into a room alone and close the door. Pray to your Father in private. He knows what is done in private, and he will reward you. When you pray, don’t talk on and on as people do who don’t know God. They think God likes to hear long prayers. Don’t be like them. Your Father knows what you need before you ask." Matthew 6:5-8
Jesus says that when you pray you should pray sincerely. All this week I have been sharing some classic Biblical prayers that capture the intimacy and intensity of sincere praying.
I want to share two more powerful prayers before I recommend four characteristics of sincere praying.
This first prayer is what we call the "Lord's Prayer" but is more accurately the "Disciples Prayer" since it is the prayer Jesus taught them to pray. I'm sure you have prayed it numerous times!
"You should pray like this: Our Father in heaven, help us to honoryour name. Come and set up your kingdom, so that everyone on earthwill obey you, as you are obeyed in heaven. Give us our food for today. Forgive us for doing wrong, as we forgive others. Keep us from being tempted and protect us from evil." Matthew 6:9-13
And, here is the actual Lord's Prayer! This is the prayer Jesus prayed to His Father near the end of His earthly ministry. It is perhaps the most intense and moving prayer among many in the Bible.
"After Jesus had finished speaking to his disciples, he looked up toward heaven and prayed: Father, the time has come for you to bring glory to your Son, in order that he may bring glory to you. And you gave him power over all people, so that he would give eternal life to everyone you give him.Eternal life is to know you, the only true God, and to know Jesus Christ, the one you sent. I have brought glory to you here on earth by doing everything you gave me to do. Now, Father, give me back the glory that I had with you before the world was created.You have given me some followers from this world, and I have shown them what you are like. They were yours, but you gave them to me, and they have obeyed you. They know that you gave me everything I have. I told my followers what you told me, and they accepted it. They know that I came from you, and they believe that you are the one who sent me. I am praying for them, but not for those who belong to this world. My followers belong to you, and I am praying for them. All that I have is yours, and all that you have is mine, and they will bring glory to me.Holy Father, I am no longer in the world. I am coming to you, but my followers are still in the world. So keep them safe by the power of the name that you have given me. Then they will be one with each other, just as you and I are one. While I was with them, I kept them safe by the power you have given me. I guarded them, and not one of them was lost, except the one who had to be lost. This happened so that what the Scriptures say would come true.I am on my way to you. But I say these things while I am still in the world, so that my followers will have the same complete joy that I do.I have told them your message. But the people of this world hate them, because they don’t belong to this world, just as I don’t.Father, I don’t ask you to take my followers out of the world, but keep them safe from the evil one. They don’t belong to this world, and neither do I. Your word is the truth. So let this truth make them completely yours. I am sending them into the world, just as you sent me. I have given myself completely for their sake, so that they may belong completely to the truth. I am not praying just for these followers. I am also praying for everyone else who will have faith because of what my followers will say about me. I want all of them to be one with each other, just as I am one with you and you are one with me. I also want them to be one with us. Then the people of this world will believe that you sent me.I have honored my followers in the same way that you honored me, in order that they may be one with each other, just as we are one. I am one with them, and you are one with me, so that they may become completely one. Then this world’s people will know that you sent me. They will know that you love my followers as much as you love me.Father, I want everyone you have given me to be with me, wherever I am. Then they will see the glory that you have given me, because you loved me before the world was created. Good Father, the people of this world don’t know you. But I know you, and my followers know that you sent me.I told them what you are like, and I will tell them even more. Then the love that you have for me will become part of them, and I will be one with them." John 17:1-26
Wow! Thank you, Jesus for praying for me! I want to live up the standard expressed in this prayer. Will you please help me, Jesus?