How to Pray like Jesus: Jesus believed that prayer works
1. When we hear of the title “Secret lives of…” they got our attention
a. We want to find out everything about how they lived, what kind of relationships they had with family, friends and even their enemies.
i. Slide 1 Bob Hope – Hanoi Bob did you know that in 1972 Bob Hope did a USO show for North Vietnamese, even Jane Fonda turned him down and said his views are too radical for me.
ii. Did you know that Bob Hope was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom and instead of receiving the award sent a Native American who then rejected the award.
iii. Some secret lives should stay secret.
b. If you were to guess what was one of Jesus’ greatest secret to his amazing life and ministry what would you say?
i. That’s easy “PRAYER” Jesus modeled prayer in every area of his life.
ii. Matter of fact Jesus not only believed prayer was essential to all he did on earth, but also he knew from experience that prayer WORKED.
iii. Jesus knew the effectiveness and the power of prayer first hand which came from an intimate relationship with His Father.
c. Now the question for you “Do you believe that prayer works?”
i. Sometimes our motivation for prayer is quenched because we doubt that our prayers will work or make any difference
ii. The evil one whispers in our ear “Why would God want to listen to your prayer, you know prayer doesn’t work”
iii. All too often we link prayer requests and prayers answered and miss the main business of prayer and that is conversation, building and maintaining an intimate relationship with your Heavenly Father.
1. If we reduce prayer to just merely asking for things, we are no different than the spoiled child that comes to their parent only to make demands.
2. Yet making requests is one of the needed aspects of prayer. We cannot ignore or take lightly the boldness and confidence with which Jesus spoke about prayer.
iv. Jesus taught that prayer works, this is not just a lesson on prayer taught by Jesus but it is also from a paternal point of view.
1. Jesus encourages us to pray because God, like a Father, is overjoyed to meet the needs and fill the requests of a loving and obedient child.
2. Let’s examine two passages of scripture which encourages us to believe prayer works like Jesus. The first one is found in Matthew 7:7-11
a. Slide 2 - Jesus believed that prayer works because relationships are delicate.
i. Everyone in this room can attest to the fragileness of interpersonal relationships.
ii. The Carnegie Technological Institute has stated that 90% of all people who fail in their life’s vocation fail because they cannot get along with people.
iii. Interesting fact, especially as we look into the Matthew 7, Jesus knew that relationships are delicate and the only way to and fortify them is to pray.
iv. At the outset of the chapter Jesus gets his listeners attention Slide 3“Judge not, that you be not judged.” Good News for the one being judged but not the one who is doing the judging.
1. The people who were listening to Jesus speak where His followers, and when Jesus spoke these words He had upped the performance bar. He had set some High Standards for those who desired to be His disciples.
2. If you want to be a disciple of mine, you need to step up
3. Basically Jesus was telling them Judge yourself before you judge others.
a. The judging Jesus was speaking to was from ill-will, insufficient premises, or from conjecture or speculation.
b. Paul spoke to this kind of Judging in Romans 2:1
c. That is fault finding and we are without excuse because we do the very same thing.
4. Slide 3Verses 3-5 The Self Appointed Critic.
a. Good illustration of such fault finding was with the woman caught in adultery. John 8:7-8
b. Jesus condemned harsh judging and self righteousness without mercy and love.
c. Let’s not assume that Jesus is speaking of the philosophy of “Live and Let live” There are time we need to be decimating and critical but fault finding is always wrong.
d. Urcal usually after some stupid remark would say” Did I say that?”
e. Notice what Jesus called those who found fault in other and not in themselves “Hypocrites!” Ouch!
f. Now we come to verse that seems to be out of place, how do you fit it in this section? First we need to know a little about Jewish culture
i. Dogs were wild animals, savages, ugly, also looking for garbage to eat and swine were the ultimate example of sacrilege for the Jews. Under the Mosaic Law dogs and swine were unclean animals and here the terms are used to depict wicked people.
ii. The passage offers a balance for the teaching against judging. One who works for peace, who is a peacemaker, will use discretion in relating to persons.
iii. The main difference between judgment and discernment is that a judge merely pronounces a verdict, while discernment seeks a solution.
v. The question for Jesus followers and you, how are you to attain to such a high standard as “Not to Judge” and knowing when to be judicious.
1. His audience had been asked to change, to undo habits of long standing behavior. They were asked to adopt a lifestyle change completely foreign to their own.
a. This is what Jesus asks of you, to follow you must meet this standard.
b. You are being asked to adopt a lifestyle that maybe foreign to your own? Apostle Paul says in 2 Cor 5:17 “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.”
2. How do you achieve a standard like this which is almost self-contradictory, goes against our nature? The answer is found in verse 7.
3. SLIDE 4 PRAY! Matthew 7:7 “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.
a. We are human and we make mistakes about people, we can become too critical, too judgmental in the way we relate to one another.
b. Jesus says later on in Matthew 7:12 "Do for others what you want them to do for you: this is the meaning of the Law of Moses and of the teachings of the prophets.
c. The only one who can judge perfectly is God, while we are inconsistent He is remains consistent, while we are self righteous He is Righteous, We are self-deceived while He is the truth.
d. The standard which is set is high, and the only possible way to meet that standard is to pray like Jesus.
e. Jesus says the solution to overcoming a critical spirit is to prayer- Ask- the idea here is to demand something that is due one because of family, Seek- with our whole heart (Deut 4:29) Knock- to do so with earnestness; James tells us “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him.”
f. Verses 9-12 “Be Confident that when you pray , needing to be more discerning than judgmental. Your Heavenly Father will hear your request.
g. Jesus believed that prayer works especially when it comes to relationships within the community of believers. So the next time:
i. When we are tempted to nick pick about your spouse, your kids, your church family- remember to be judgmental means your pronouncing a verdict and discernment is giving a solution go to prayer and ask God to help you to know the difference and hold your tongue. Is it true, it is kind and is it necessary.
ii. When your eye catches how someone looks or how they are dressed, at school, work and church instead of becoming negative towards that individual seek God to become more accepting.
Slide 5,6 A Builder Or a Wrecker
As I watched them tear a building down
A gang of men in a busy town
With a ho-heave-ho, and a lusty yell
They swung a beam and the side wall fell
I asked the foreman, “Are these men skilled,
And the men you’d hire if you wanted to build?”
He gave a laugh and said, “No, indeed,
Just common labor is all I need.”
“I can easily wreck in a day or two,
What builders have taken years to do.”
And I thought to myself, as I went my way
Which of these roles have I tried to play'
Am I a builder who works with care,
Measuring life by rule and square?
Am I shaping my work to a well-made plan
Patiently doing the best I can'
Or am I a wrecker who walks to town
Content with the labor of tearing down?
“O Lord let my life and my labors be
That which will build for eternity!”
Jesus believed that prayer works, and by applying what Jesus said about our relationship we can be either Builders or Wreckers.