This is an exposition of Matthew 6:9-13, delivered by Pastor Rod Harris at Trinity Baptist Church on Sunday evening, August 24, 2014.
It is a given. If you want to learn to do something – find someone who is “good” at what you want to do and watch them! Follow them around and absorb everything you can. Ask questions. Discuss concerns. Learn why they do it the way they do it. Ask them how they came to do it that way. Early in my ministry I had men like Paul Cooke and others who allowed me to tag along and pester them. In my first pastorate I was a frequent visitor to the First Baptist Church of Pawnee. Dr. Tom Owens talked me through my first funeral, my first wedding, my first baptism and numerous “crisis” moments. I sought out the input of men I respected – something I continue to do. That’s how I know that the followers of Jesus locked in on his voice when he said, “This is how you should pray…”
Often he left them and went aside, alone to pray. He sometimes spent all night in prayer. And when he prayed it was far different from anything they had ever heard. Not that the words were all that different. Not that the form itself was strange or innovative. It was an intangible thing. They couldn’t put their finger on it – they didn’t know how to evaluate it – it was just different. Higher. Grander. Loftier. More powerful. They just knew that when he prayed Heaven took note of it. So when he talked about prayer – they listened. Our text this evening is found in Matthew 6:9-13.
Text: Matthew 6:9-13
Prayer is beyond question the highest activity of the human soul. Man is at his greatest and highest when he is on his knees before his God. In prayer we come face to face with the living God. We enter into the throne room of the universe and stand before the awesome, majestic God, Lord of heaven and earth. We all acknowledge that prayer is a lifeline. We acknowledge that our souls are fed, strengthened and encourage when we spend time before the Father. We just as quickly acknowledge that we have much to learn regarding the discipline of prayer. We all must acknowledge that we spend far to little time in prayer. When we come to Christ and seek to be instructed in prayer it is not just a matter of a “formula” or even “words to repeat” – it is about understanding what prayer is. It is about understanding the nature of prayer, itself. It is about grasping what matters in our praying.
Our text is often called “The Lord’s Prayer.”
But he never “prayed” it!
The Lord’s Prayer is found in John 17.
There he prayed to the Father on behalf of his children.
In fact, I find it ironic that this prayer is so often used in worship services and other context for folks to pray. As if the repetition of this prayer builds spiritual character and godliness. Look at the context!!
Our Lord was speaking against the “meaningless” repetition of certain prayers.
The key to understanding this passage is at the beginning of verse 9.
“This, then is how you should pray…”
How not what.
This is a model prayer.
A model is a pattern or an example.
When you pray it is to be along these lines.
These are the kinds of things your praying should be concerned with.
From this model we discover that:
Thesis: Heaven touching prayer follows a divinely established pattern.
There are two things I want us to note about Heaven touching prayer.
- Heaven touching prayer is concerned first and foremost with the glory and honor of God. (6:9-10)
- Heaven touching prayer is concerned about the needs of God’s people. (6:11-13)
Would you like to touch heaven with your prayers? You had best follow the divinely established pattern that is concerned first and foremost with the glory and honor of God but second rests in the assurance that the Father cares about the needs of his children.