Does God only hear long winded prayers? We’re talking about prayer because we’re working our way through the Sermon on the Mount, and Jesus talked about prayer.
He talked about praying in secret. “Don’t be like those hypocrites out there praying on the street corners, in the synagogue to be seen by men. Go, shut your door and pray privately.” Of course, that’s not the only thing about prayer that we need to know and it’s not necessarily all wrong to pray publicly. We see examples of that in the book of Acts and so forth.
The question we’re going to ask today and answer hopefully is when you pray do you have to make sure you have a set amount of time. I think the devil uses that very thought to talk us out of praying. Now, I’ve never in my 39 years of being married to my wife ever thought to myself, “Well, if I’m going to talk to her, it can’t just be one sentence. It’s got to be at least a paragraph or I got to spend some quality time with her.”
Now again, we all want to spend quality time with our loved ones, but we’re not limiting our communication thinking something is wrong with one sentence and then you’re out the door.
I think the devil talks us out of praying a lot of times and communicating with your loving, wonderful heavenly Father, because we think, “Well if you’re going to pray, you got to every time get down on your knees. You got to be in your closet. It’s got to be early in the morning before the sun rises to really be effective. You’ve got to really put some bazonga in your prayer. It’d be an insult if you only spent five minutes with the Lord.” The devil says “Why waste your time, why insult the Lord? You can’t pray. You don’t have enough time to pray.”
Well, the next time the devil says that to you, I hope you can say, “Well, au contraire, Mr. Devil. Jesus himself gave his disciples a model prayer to pray that if you pray it slowly it only takes about 15 seconds.”
You know it’s the Lord’s Prayer. The Lord said this. “Pray then”, I’m reading from Matthew chapter six and verse number nine, “Pray then in this way.” Bingo, one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight. Eight, eight. It likes about eight sentences, and you’re done. Who’s going to find fault with the prayer that Jesus said, “When you pray, pray in this way”?
I know. I know, I know someone is going to write a comment on this video and say, “yeah, but that’s, I’m not supposed to be repeating the Lord’s Prayer. The Lord said don’t use vain repetition.” Well, yeah. He didn’t say don’t repeat your prayers. He said don’t use meaningless, or in the King James vain repetition.
You’re just going through like some religious people. They have a prayer bead and they just keep saying the same things over and over again and repeating it. They just think the more merit I get from God, or gods, or whoever I’m praying to. Oh, what an insult that must be for anyone who is using that method to talk to God, the great wonderful God who sent Jesus Christ into the world to die for our sins, and who loves us like a Father.
If any of my kids came to me and started saying, “Hey, dad. How are you today? Hey dad, how are you today? Hey dad. How are you today? Hey, dad. How are you today? Hey, dad. How are you today?” That’s five. “Hey, dad. How are you today? Hey, dad.”
You know. I’d be saying, “Oh my goodness. We got a relationship problem here. My son or my daughter doesn’t understand how to communicate to me.” Really, because it’s got to be based on you don’t understand how much I love you that you think that you got to use some formula or some repetition to get my attention. My goodness. I love you dearly. I’m watching over you. I’ve got angels assigned just to you who report to me every day. You know? I got the hairs on your head numbered. You don’t have to work real hard to get my attention here and keep repeating something and then maybe I’ll glance over at you in between switching the TV stations or something. No, no, that’s not how God is at all.
You can pray a quick prayer. Now I’m not discounting, discrediting longer prayers, prayers in the closet, prayers on your knees, all that kind of stuff. I love my wife, I live with my wife. I talk with my wife throughout the day. When my kids were at home we interacted all the time. I just think we need to develop a flowing prayer life, there you go, that we’re always thinking about the Lord because he’s always thinking about us, and any time, every time we can whisper those prayers.
This prayer, the first thing that Jesus says that we are saying … Again, this could be prayed verbatim or some folks teach, and I agree with them limitedly, that this is a model for an expanded prayer, that you focus on certain things. Okay?
We never want to limit ourselves just to only praying this prayer because that’s the only prayer that Jesus put a stamp of approval on, so anything outside of this is out of the will of God. No, I think you’ve gone too far. I think you’ve misinterpreted when Jesus says, “Pray then in this way”. He didn’t mean only ever pray this prayer and no other prayers are acceptable. Right? Right. Okay.
Let’s just stay balanced here. “Pray then in this way. Our Father”, oh well let’s just stop right there. Our Father. Our Father. That’s where it all starts, knowing who you’re talking to. It’s a whole lot different talking to your father than talking to anybody else. Right? That word has significance. It has significance. He’s not my father. That’s not what he said.
He is my father, but that’s not what he said to pray. Our father. That reminds me also that he’s got a family. I’m a part of the family. I got brothers and sisters. It’s not all about me. There’s a little hint of a reminder once again. It’s not all about me. Our Father. That changes everything. Fathers love their kids. Fathers are gracious and merciful when their kids blow it.
One of our most popular videos is the video about if I repeat the same sin over and over again, will God forgive me. Another one, real popular one, is that I’ve committed the unpardonable sin. There are so many wonderful, sincere believers who are suffering under this load of bad belief, because fundamentally they haven’t realized enough yet that God is their father, and he’s a good, good father.
He’s merciful, long suffering, oh yeah, he disciplines. He disciplines everyone whom he loves, but he’s not out shooting lightning bolts down at you when you cross the line. He’s speaking to your heart. You don’t listen, he’ll get your attention one way or the other because he loves you. He wants you to get into heaven. People think, “Oh I can lose my salvation by committing one sin.” Oh my goodness, I feel so sorry for these people. They don’t have an understanding of the grace of God. Okay, well it’s not for today.
Thanks so much for joining me. I hope to see you at the next time we get together. Bye bye.