This Preaching in Shorts sermon series is about how to Get Connected to God in prayer based on Matthew 6:9-13.
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As we continue to work on the Encouragers Plan as part of our calling to the Ministry of Encouragement I want to talk about prayer, and we are going to use the Lord’s prayer as a model for prayer to help us get connected to God.
I have asked you over the last two series to memorize some scripture as part of the Ministry of Encouragement and the Encouragers Plan.
For this series we are going to memorize Matthew 6:9-13. This should be easy for all of you. Let’s say it together.
When the disciples asked Jesus to teach them to pray, he responds with what we know as the Lord’s prayer. It was given not as something to repeat over and over, but as a model to get connected to God in prayer. Each verse helping us to focus on God, who He is, and who we are in Him.
Let’s get started with the first phase of the prayer.
Matthew 6:9 (NIV)
9 “This, then, is how you should pray: “‘Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name,
Today, we are going to focus on the idea of God as our father. Jesus taught us that we could go to God and use the very intimate term ‘Abba’ which is like ‘daddy’.
Romans 8:15 (NIV)
15 For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.”
Before Jesus entered the scene, God is rarely referred to as Father. In the OT, there are only seven instances. He was thought of as creator, almighty, etc. but rarely as Father. When Jesus comes he says that this is how you should pray, call Him father and He goes on and uses the term over a hundred and fifty times.
We need to see God not as a force, but as someone that we can have relationship with. You can’t connect with an impersonal force, you connect with God as your Father.The problem though, is that not everyone gets a good feeling from the idea of “father”, because not everyone has good father experiences. For some people the word ‘father’ is a very negative term.
So what kind of Father is God? Some things you should know about God.
1. He loves you
God loves you more than you will ever know.
Romans 8:38-39 (NIV)
38 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
1 John 3:16 (NIV)
16 This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us.
God loves you. So much that He gave His one and only Son. If you were here last week you heard Barry make a great point about the love of God. You might love someone enough that you would be willing to lay your own life down, but to give the life of your only child for someone else, that is a whole different thing.
2. He is faithful
That’s really important. God keeps His promises.
2 Timothy 2:13 (NIV)
13 if we are faithless, he will remain faithful, for he cannot disown himself.
Romans 11:29 (MSG)
29 God’s gifts and God’s call are under full warranty—never canceled, never rescinded.
One of the greatest causes of resentment and rebellion in children is broken promises. It is why children learn sayings like “Cross your heart, hope to die, stick a needle in your eye”. I have shared with you in the past some of the stories with our own kids about promises. I believe in the power of a promise, so if I promised my kids something, if there was anyway humanely possible to follow through I did it. Of course, when you are going to do that, you have to be careful about the promises you make. Think about how you felt or feel when someone doesn’t do what they promised. God always follows through.
3. He is actively involved
He’s close. He’s not absent. He’s as close as your next heartbeat. He’s right there with you every moment. Here’s what the Bible says about that
Acts 17:26-28 (NIV)
26 From one man he made every nation of men, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live. 27 God did this so that men would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from each one of us. 28 ‘For in him we live and move and have our being.’ As some of your own poets have said, ‘We are his offspring.’
In Him we live and move and have our being! He has not left us alone. He is with us and for us.
4. He is always in the equation
That’s really important when life is upside down. When you feel discouraged. Barry last week used a Hee Haw song to try and make the point, but as much as I enjoyed his message, I thought his Hee Haw zeal was a little lacking, especially for someone from Louisiana. It actually goes like this:
Gloom despair and agony on me. I used to watch a lot of Hee Haw. How many of you remember
Where oh where are you tonight?
But, back on point, you need to always keep God in the equation of your life. He can handle any problem you give him. Nothing is beyond his ability. Nothing is too hard for him. Nothing is beyond his resources. No request is too big or too small.
Your heavenly Father really can do anything.
Ephesians 3:20 (TLB)
20 Now glory be to God, who by his mighty power at work within us is able to do far more than we would ever dare to ask or even dream of–infinitely beyond our highest prayers, desires, thoughts, or hopes.
He loves you, He keeps His promises, He is involved in your life, and He is capable and He wants you to know and connect with Him as Abba, daddy.
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