Church of the Nazarene – East Rock
Today we begin a new teaching series called “Building Blocks”.
Building Blocks is a series focusing on the essential features, the basics, of the Christian life. And it’s not intended just for new believers in our midst, but as an important refresher for even those of you who are veterans of the faith.
Our series begins focusing on prayer- our communication with the Lord.
Prayer is the fundamental and anchoring unit of our relationship with God. It defines and strengthens that relationship.
As often as prayer is mentioned in the Bible (in the KJV its 547 mentions), you don’t have to study Genesis to Revelation to develop a correct and impactful theology of prayer.
You can simply watch and listen to Jesus in the pages of the gospels- he left us lots of examples. If your thinking about prayer matches his, you got it.
“And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. 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. And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.
It could be easy to imagine that anything goes in prayer, just so long as you’re doing it, right? But Jesus begins his teaching on prayer with a warning against bad motives in prayer- there is a wrong way to pray.
Jesus first warns about praying in such a way as to gain the attention of others
Jesus also warns against “babbling like pagans” in your prayers- you could transliterate that as “do not get into a bunch of blah blah blah”
“This, then, is how you should pray: “ ‘Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.
We are halfway through the prayer that Jesus taught us- and so far, it’s all about him.
An honest question for you and me today: Do we give half of our prayer time to focusing on the Lord. To worship, adoring, and praising him?
Give us today our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one. ’
In this very short yet profound prayer- we see what mattered most to Jesus in prayer:
i.The fatherhood of God
ii.The worship of God
iii.The coming of His Kingdom
iv.The desire or will of God
v.The protection of his people.
vi.The eradication of sin
vii.And victory over Satan.
We have called this series “building blocks” because it doesn’t matter if you are new to the faith, or have been following Christ for 60 years, the importance of these foundational practices never fades.
There is never a point in any relationship when you can just give up- when you can stop communicating, when you can stop trying, when you can stop giving 100%. The same is true in our relationship with the Lord.
To be clear, building blocks is not about EARNING our salvation, it’s about learning to live it out. The goal of this series is not to make you feel bad about your walk with the Lord, it’s not to shame you into action.
This series is an invitation to experience the Lord in a powerful way. To know him intimately, to be transformed by his presence, to experience the journey of relationship. And friends, that journey begins in prayer.
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