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Jesus Answers Our Questions: What's the Deal with Prayer?

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Today Pastor Ed Allen continued his sermon series, "Jesus Answers Our Questions," today looking at what Jesus said about prayer.  He focused on two passages, in both of which Jesus presented a model prayer, commonly known as "The Lord's Prayer," Matthew 6:5-15 and Luke 11:1-13.  In both passages, there is teaching before and after this example is presented.  And from them we pulled out three characteristics of our relationship with God and three characteristics of God's response to us.

Characteristics of Our Relationship with God in Prayer:

Intimate

YAGA:  "You and God alone."

Don't be showy like the Gentiles; come to a secret place.  We address God as our Father -- we're invited into a profoundly intimate relationship.

Jesus enabled us to have an intimate relationship with God.

The closer I am to someone, the less I worry about what to say and getting the words right.

Simple

KISS:  "Keep it simple, stupid."

Especially when we're praying with other people, we don't need to impress them, and we don't need lots of words in order to be heard.  We don't have to convince God or earn our way to praying the right way.

Jesus' model prayer is simple.  We should not be intimidated by prayer.

Perseverance

PUSH:  "Pray Until Something Happens."

In Luke 11, we're urged to have "shameless audacity" in prayer.  We are God's children.  We can ask the king anything.

Characteristics of God's Response to Us

Fatherly

God responds like a loving Father.  This is why we pray.  We're not in a commercial relationship with God; it's a family relationship.

A family relationship is a permanent, committed relationship.  We don't have to perform.

Go after my Father, not my Father's stuff.

In a commercial exchange, if you don't get what you want, you either feel guilty or angry.  That's not how it is between us and God.

Good

The Lord gives good gifts to His children.

He gives us what we really need rather than what we think we need.

Sometimes, we're asking for the wrong thing.  Like our children, we might ask for candy when we need a nap.

Sometimes, what we really need is more of Him.  Sometimes that's why there's a delay.

God gives GOOD gifts.

Definite

God's response to us is definite.  He WILL answer.

It's told us in three ways:  Ask, seek, knock -- We will be answered.

It's said again in John:  John 14:13; 15:16; 16:24

We are God's children, not His tenants or His customers.  He will hear and He will answer.

Posted by Sondy Eklund with

Jesus Answers Our Questions

Today Pastor Ed Allen began a new sermon series "Jesus Answers Our Questions" with the question, "How much do we really need to know?"

In the Intro, he did remind us that Jesus was not an Answer Man.  The Pharisees did a lot of that, but Jesus didn't try to tell you what to do in every possible situation.  However, he did answer some important questions.

Our first question is something of an Intro to the series.  We're thinking especially of people who don't know the Bible well and people who do know the Bible well.

Jesus provides a profound and counterintuitive framework to this question.  We looked first at John 13:31-35, particularly verse 35, "By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another."

Jesus is adding to the commandments -- which was an epic and audacious thing to do.

It's not about how much you know.  It's about how well you love.

Later, after Peter denied him, Jesus asked in John 21, "Do  you love me?"  He didn't test his knowledge.

When Jesus separates the sheep from the goats, it's going to be about how you cared for the least among us.

There is no shame -- or pride -- in knowing or not knowing the answers to Bible trivia.

If someone makes you feel guilty about your lack of Bible knowledge -- "I'm not judging you, but you might be a Pharisee."

You already have what it takes to be a follower of Christ.

It's not about how much we know; it's about how well we love.

However -- knowing God is the essence of Eternal Life.  John 17:1-5.

"Eternal life" isn't defined in chronological terms but in relational terms.  Knowing the Father and the Son is about intimacy and relationship.

But it does also need information.  Knowing more helps any relationship.  We read the Bible to know more about God.

Even though connection with God isn't based on knowledge, knowledge is required to grow in our relationship with God.

How much do we really need to know?  An increasing amount.

If you love Him, you'll want to know Him more.

Romans 12:11 -- often our zeal falters.

If you never feel any desire to know Him better, you've either got a spiritual flu or you're spiritually dead.  If it's the flu, get real and honest before Him.  Pray that He will show Himself.  If you're spiritually dead, it's time to step in and ask Jesus to take charge of your life.  Lean in today.  He does the rest.

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