7/7/02 Visiting Speaker, Paul Civerolo:
"Lord, Teach us to Pray"
The Lord's twelve disciples were a rag-tag bunch: A tax collector, a rebel, a doubter -- and even
though they had been with Jesus for three years, and had seen his miracles and had heard him teach,
they still didn't catch on about who he really was, or about what his ministry was all about.
But they had seen him pray. And they had seen marvelous things happen after he had prayed.
So they knew that Jesus was an expert on prayer.
Not so the Jewish leaders. They were steeped in formalism, in outward show, in ritual,
but lacked compassion or power to help people.
So when the disciples wanted to learn about prayer, they went to Jesus, and not to the Jewish
leaders. "Teach us to pray", they said.
Some General Principles about Prayer: (quotes are from the NASB)
- Prayer is not a ritual.
"...And when you pray, you are not to be as the hypocrites; for they love to stand and pray
in the synagogues and on the street corners in order to be seen by men. Truly I say to you,
they have their reward in full. But when you pray, go into your inner room, and when you
have shut your door, pray to your Father who is in secret, and your Father who sees in secret will
repay you. And when you are praying, do not use meaningless repetition, as the Gentiles
do, for they suppose that they will be heard for their many words. Therefore do not be like them,
for your Father knows what you need, before you ask Him." --Matthew 6:5-8
- Be persistent.
And he said to them, "Suppose one of you shall have a friend, and shall go to him at
midnight, and say to him, 'Friend, lend me three loaves; for a friend of mine has come to me
from a journey, and I have nothing to set before him'; and from inside he shall answer and say,
'Do not bother me; the door has already been shut and my children and I are in bed; I cannot
get up and give you anything.' I tell you, even though he will not get up and give him anything
because he is his friend, yet because of his persistence he will get up and give him as much as
And I say to you, ask, and it shall be given to you; seek, and you shall find;
knock, and it shall be opened to you. For everyone who asks, receives; and he who seeks, finds;
and to him who knocks, it shall be opened.
Now suppose one of you fathers is asked by his son for a fish; he will not give him a snake instead
of a fish, will he? Or if he is asked for an egg, he will not give him a scorpion,
will he? If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more shall
your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him?" --Luke 11:5-13
- Don't be anxious; make your requests known.
Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with
thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which
surpasses all comprehension, shall guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. --Philippians
- Have right motives.
You lust and do not have; so you commit murder. And you are envious and cannot
obtain; so you fight and quarrel. You do not have because you do not ask. You ask
and do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, so that you may spend it on your
pleasures. --James 4:2-3
The Lord's Prayer as a Model:
|Will be done
|Power and glory
The Lord's Prayer is divided into two sections:
- The "Thy" petitions, and
- The "us" petitions.
- What does the Lord's Prayer teach us about God? About access to God?
["Abba" = "Daddy"].
- How do we honor God's Name? [By applying God's principles: build on the
Rock, not on sand].
- When can we and when should we pray the Lord's prayer? [Any time, anywhere, but use it
as a model for further prayer].
- Personalize the Lord's Prayer. [Change the plural pronouns -our- to
singular -my- etc.]