Sermon On The Mount


KEY WORDS:  Prayer 2.0


Are you wasting your prayers?


Jesus begins his discussion prayer by rebuking pretentious prayers.  The focus was on proper motivations.  Here Jesus describes wasted practices in prayer.

If you have a Catholic background, or a liturgical church experience you would have grown up memorizing prayers, and repeating them on your own and in public worship gatherings.  Memorizing prayers is not wrong, and can be very meaningful, but when are you wasting your prayers?

In the hit CBS Drama Blue Bloods, Frank Reagan, played by actor Tom Selleck, is a second generation NYC Police Commissioner.  In almost every show the Reagan family (with four generations present) is seated around a dinning room table enjoying a Sunday dinner with one another.  Before the Reagan family eats, a member of the family leads the rest in a Catholic prayer.  Sometimes they have their eyes open, sometimes they don’t.  Sometimes one person prays.  Sometimes they all recite a memorized prayer.  Theoretically, are their prayers heartfelt, meaningful, or received by God?  How do we know?
Here are some suggestions for when we approach God in prayer:

Prayer should be heartfelt.

Prayer should be real, fresh, and full of life, rather than heaping up empty phrases whose many words do not move the heart of God.
I the Lord search the heart and examine the mind, to reward each person according to their conduct, according to what their deeds deserve.
Prayer is a spiritual deed that comes with God’s careful examination of our soul.

God desires a love relationship.

 It is important to understand the whole of scripture, and it is dangerous to pick phrases out of a verse without seeing its’ context.  As the prophet Zephaniah describes God’s plan for the restoration of Israel’s remnant, consider two phrases in this passage that give us a hint of God’s deep desire to love the people of God. (What was true of Israel is true for all who call upon the name of the Lord and are saved…)
He will take great delight in you… (He) will rejoice over you with singing.
Our prayer life should be rich with how we reciprocate our love for Him.

Ruthlessly eliminate distractions.

  Make the presence of God a priority of your heart’s inclinations.  Does your time in prayer reveal to God the preference and affection of your heart’s desire for Him above all else?
Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.

Ruthlessly inventory your heart.  

Ask yourself the hard questions about your motives, ambitions and thinking.  Are these things shaped by God, or elements of an agenda you present to God?  Do you have Godly sorrow and spiritual regret for unrighteous, thoughts, attitudes, or actions?
Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret…

A discipline of repentance removes obstacles between you and God.

When you take these things into consideration, are you wasting your prayers?

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