SERMON SERIES | DISCIPLINES FOR SABBATH-REST (4)
06 Jun 2021 | TRADITIONAL SERVICE
Rev Lilian Ang
Scripture Passage: Matthew 6:5-15 (NIV)
WATCH | SERMON (VIDEO)
READ | SERMON NOTES
Summary | The discipline of prayer ushers us into communion with God. We need to constantly check if God is our steering wheel or a spare tyre in times of difficulty. There are two ways we communicate:
- Talk to God. In the Bible we see people expressing praise, frustration, confusion and making requests or giving thanks to God.
- Listen to God. God desires to speak to us. There is a two-way conversation in a relationship. Listening is a way of communing with God. We can do this by either reflecting on scripture or simply being still to let the Holy Spirit speak to us.
The Lord’s Prayer provides a pattern to model our own prayer life. Three essentials to grow in the discipline of prayer:
- Relationship with God. The prayer Jesus taught is not formula-based but is relationship-based. Our father in heaven wants a loving relationship with us. (v9) We can rest in His care with the assurance that God is in control of everything.
- Relationship with God’s family. Prayer is a corporate discipline involving the entire family. God intervenes when we cry out together as God’s family. True prayer draws us closer to God and our fellow believers.
- Develop right posture. Prayer must not be hypocritical; it is not something we do to impress others. (v5) We are to designate a sacred space and direct our prayers to God. (v6) God refreshes our soul, satisfies our hunger and quenches our thirst. Unlike the pagans, we needn’t use many meaningless words. God already knows what we need before we ask. (v7)
God and His Agenda. We are to honour God’s name, hasten His kingdom and heed God’s will. (v9-10) God uses prayer to transform us, so that His name will be held in reverence despite our shortcomings. We hasten God’s kingdom and spread the gospel by our walk and witness. As revealed in His word, we surrender to Jesus and take up our cross. Prayer is finding out what God wants and asking Him to do it.
Needs of the disciples. The requests are for our sustenance, sin and spiritual battle. We rely on God for our daily provisions; seek forgiveness for our sins and spiritual protection from temptation and delivery from evil. (v11-15) Do we come to God only for the things we want? Let’s not push away God’s hand after we have gotten these things. Instead, hold on to the hand of our heavenly father who provides our daily needs, pardons our sins and protects us from evil.
Make it a priority to talk with and listen to God. Ask God to be present (sacred moment), offer every moment to God (in sacrifice) and accept whatever comes (in surrender).
(Sermon Notes by Denis Koh)
PONDER | REFLECTION QUESTIONS
1. How would you describe your prayer life during this season of your life? Share your current way of communicating with God.
2. How have you grown in prayer since you became a Christian?
3. What does praying or singing the Lord’s Prayer mean for you previously? What does it mean for you now?
4. What are some practical ways to grow in the discipline of prayer?
5. Create space for God every day for three weeks.
- Commit to a time frame (say 15 minutes a day) and use 2-3 ways of prayer each day (worshipping, communing, confessing, interceding, listening, asking).
- Journal your time with God (How was your prayer time? What did God speak to you? What did you ask of God?
- Share your joys and obstacles in meeting God in prayer.