READ | SERMON NOTES
Summary l We need a right theology of prayer, one which produces the right kind of prayer. Prayer is not twisting the arm of God. Rather it is believing in a God who hears, answers and even exceeds our prayers. Eugene Peterson observed that “prayer is at the core of the Sermon of the Mount teaching. A kingdom-of-heaven life consists of things to do and ways to think, but if there is no prayer at the center nothing lives. Prayer is the heart that pumps blood into all the words and acts.”
How we should not pray (v 5-7)
(1) Do not pray for recognition. Jesus tells us not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others. 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. (v5-6) All public prayer starts with praying in secret — in daily private conversations with the Lord.
(2) Do not pray in mindless repetition. Do not keep on babbling like the pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. (v7) Our Lord knows what we need in our hearts, even before we ask. In deep communion with God, there is sometimes no need to even utter any words. Silent prayers are as powerful as public prayers. “In prayer, it is better to have a heart without words than words without a heart.” (John Bunyan) We need not unnecessarily complicate our prayers.
How we should pray (v9-15)
Jesus taught his disciples to pray through The Lord’s Prayer. Here, Jesus consistently used the plural pronoun (our, us, we) to indicate that Kingdom prayer has a corporate element to it.
Praying the Kingdom Way
(1) Giving our ADORATION to our king! (v9) We can start by worshipping and hallowing (to sanctify, venerate, honour and make holy) the name of our Heavenly Father. “When we begin to pray heavenward, saying Our Father in heaven — it connects us with the heart of reality and the depth of our being, our Creator and Our Redeemer who loves us.” (Bishop Robert Solomon) The right theology of prayer begins and ends with God. It is a recognition of God’s divine attributes. We come to fully depend on God and realize that our situations are so much smaller compared to our majestic God!
(2) Coming in SUBMISSION to our King! (v10) “Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” God wants us to partner Him in kingdom work here on earth. It begins with full submission to the Lordship of Christ in our lives. When we yield to the will of our Father, God hears and answers our prayers. (1 John 5:14-15) Understanding and submitting to God’s will is one of the keys to prayer.
(3) Bringing our PETITION to our King! (v11-15) There are three petitions in the Lords’ prayer. The petition for daily sustenance, forgiveness and protection. God hears and is concerned about our needs. We just need to ask, seek and knock on the door. Prayer is God’s way of involving us in what He intends to do. We can put our trust in God as Jehovah jireh, seek His forgiveness and in turn forgive others, and ask for protection in the ongoing spiritual battle. God is faithful and will not leave us to face our temptations alone.
There are many ways to inculcate a prayerful life. We can pray on our own or with others. Praying brings us to a place of submission and dependence on God and it transforms us inwardly.
(Sermon notes by Denis Koh)
PONDER | REFLECTION QUESTIONS
- What is your key take away from today’s message?
- How and when do you involve prayer as part of your rhythm of life?
- Recall a time where God answered your prayer. What was that experience like?
- How can you practically cultivate the discipline of prayer in your life daily? Are there people in your life you can be accountable to?