a simple guide for normal people
Sep 30 // IMITATION
WHAT’S THE POINT?
Knowing and having our thin place is important, but knowing how to pray and how to listen are key points to our battles.
Matthew 6:6-13 (NASB Version) “But you, when you pray, go into your inner room, close your door and pray to your Father who is in secret, and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you. And when you are praying, do not use meaningless repetition as the Gentiles do, for they suppose that they would be heard for their many words. So do not be like them; for your Father knows what you need before you ask Him. Pray then this way: Our Father who is in heaven hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come. Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.”
Matthew 7:24 (NASB Version) “Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and acts on them, may be compared to a wise man who built his house on the rock.”
Proverbs 2:2-3 (NASB Version) “Make your ear attentive to wisdom, Incline your heart to understanding; 3 For if you cry for discernment, Lift your voice for understanding; 4 If you seek her as silver And search for her as for hidden treasures; 5 Then you will discern the fear of the Lord And discover the knowledge of God.
Start off with an introduction or little game which will lead into the message. If you have your own idea you’d like to use feel free. Below is an option.
So for a brief moment I am going to test your ability to finish my sentences, they could be from a song, movie, or popular slogan. Remember you have to listen carefully in order to get them!
- “we were on a…” (break- Ross & Rachel from friends)
- “bada bada baaa…” you’ll have to sing this one (I’m lovin it- Mcdonalds)
- “just…(do it- Nike)
- “maybe she’s born with it…” (maybe its Maybelline- makeup)
- “like a good neighbour…” (state farm is there- insurance company)
- “may the…” (force be with you- Star Wars)
- “my mama always said…” (life was like a box of chocolates you never know what ya gonna get- Forest Gump)
- “some people are worth…” (melting for- Oalf from Frozen)
- “cause I don’t care when…” (when I’m with my baby yeah- Ed Sheeran)
- “I hopped off the plane of lax…” (with a dream and my cardigan- Miley Cyrus)
- “and if you feel your sinking…” (I will jump right over into cold water- Justin Bieber)
Last one “Our father, who art in..” (Heaven)…
Thats right we are talking about prayer but most importantly today the Lord’s prayer. But before we get into that how many of you have come up with your thin place. Because when it comes to prayer we need a space cleared in order to focus, pray and listen to what God has for us when we take the time. If you haven’t I want to encourage you to really think about that and carve out time for prayer in your life.
So first things first when you think of prayer you may be trying to come up with the right words, or the things you think God may want you to say, but in reality the first thing we need to do is LISTEN.
LISTENING for many of us can be a challenge. One study showed that in a typical day of our waking hours we spend about 9 percent writing, 16 percent reading, 30 percent speaking and 45 percent listening. You may think you already do enough listening but how many of us actually take the time to listen without distractions. You may be listening right now as we teach, but you may also be on your phone, or whispering to a friend next to you. Listening requires full attention.
Theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer once said, “A child learns to speak through listening to their father speaking.”
We are God’s children, but how many of us actually take the time to listen to God in order to understand what he is saying to us? And how do we communicate to Him and connect to Him if we never listen or talk back when He does speak? A lot of us probably have a one sided relationship, God talks but we miss it cause we’re not listening, or we request and pray for our need only when we need something, not to communicate with Him on the daily.
You see prayer is our connection to God, it’s what has given us a voice and ability to feel connected to Him. It’s also a tool for battle when things come our way. We should be praying about it trusting that God will help us fight the battle. But unless we are dedicated to praying and listening to where God is leading as an every day discipline its going to be hard to be strong and prepared for the things ahead. As the verse in Proverbs says our ears need to be attentive in order to hear from the Father.
So before you pray take a moment to sit (if thats in your thin place great) but sit in the quiet and listen. You may have to ask God to help you in this if you get distracted but take a moment to breathe and listen, shut off all distractions and listen to what God has for you.
From there we see HOW WE SHOULD PRAY.
Many of you probably know of the Lords prayer and it comes from the context of the sermon on the Mount but there’s a part in there that says, “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” That verse explains that those who listen to Jesus come to understand what He means by “poor in spirit” is that on our own we are unable to do anything, we are unable to live holy, to be righteous in our lives, and to keep Gods commands. In our relationship with God we bring nothing but our desperate need of Jesus and His grace, mercy and teachings in our lives. Furthermore it continues to let us know that our heavenly Father who we pray to knows what we need (Matt 7:7-11).
So when we pray we begin with “Our Father, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come your will be done.” Our Father, this is telling us that by His death and resurrection Christ has brought us into the family and we are His sons and daughters, brothers and sisters in Christ. Hallowed means set apart with a special purpose. It is a petition to keep God’s name holy. God is our holy Father but he has also set us a part for a special purpose and has made us as His children holy. We are not holy by our works but made holy on account of Christ’s sacrifice for us. So when we come to pray we come with a reverence but also understanding that none of this is on our own but rather provided by the Father and his Kingdom set out for us. It is with this in mind that God is the lead in this and it is his guidance and will that is done. We as followers stepped out into faith following God, just as we follow his ways and other disciplines, we trust that God’s will is better than anything we could ever imagine as humans.
“give us this day, and forgive us…” give us, sounds like we may be requesting or asking. In reality we are. Because God is the leader we are not in charge of our lives and the days we have so we ask God to supply us with another day but also his refuelling, His love, His grace, His patience and so much more so that we can walk our life daily in representation of Christ and who He is. And forgive us. No one is perfect nor will we ever be and when we come to the Father to pray it is important to ask for forgiveness for the things we might have done. This can be as simple as God I did wrong yesterday, clean my heart and mind so that is renewed in you. And along with this help me to forgive others, and understand that we are all born with sin and aren’t perfect. We mess up sometimes and THAT’S OKAY.
Lastly “do not lead into temptation and deliver us from evil.” This is huge and with our world, its hard at times to avoid temptation (even the simplest thing like my second container of ben and Jerry’s ice cream). But praying that God would guard our hearts and minds from all that could tempt us in the world we live in. Trusting that His protection will cover us daily, and that we would be delivered from any evil or sin that traps us.
So when we pray first off listen, there is no prayer or true relationship to the Father unless we are connected and hearing from God. Next, remember who God is and what He has done for you, thank Him for all the blessings and sacrifice He has offered. Trust in knowing that God cares and has His will planned for us. You can request your needs and things you want to express to God because you can trust that He will take your need and make a way. And then ask for forgiveness and protection from all things that may come your way in this battle. Lastly be dedicated to communicating with God and facing the trials that may come with prayer, and trust. You are God’s child. He knows your need and will never forget you or leave you hanging.