Wednesday, July 31, 2013

We Pray in Jesus' Name: The Theme of Prayer in John 13.31-16.33

Click HERE to listen to or download the sermon
Scripture: John 14.12-15; 15.1-17 (esp. vv.7-8, 16-17); 16.16-28 (esp. v.23-24, 26-27) Translation: 14.12Amen, Amen, I say to you, the person who believes in Me—as far as the works that I’m doing are concerned also that person will also do [them] and will do greater works than these! 13And whatever you would ask in My Name, I will do this, so that the Father would be glorified in the Son! 14If you ask Me for something in My Name, I will do [it]!

15.1I am the True Vine and My Father is the Gardner. 2As far as every branch in Me that doesn’t bear fruit is concerned, He will take it off. And as far as every3Already you are clean because of the message, which I have spoken to you. 4Stay in Me, and I [will stay] in you. Just as the branch is not able to bear fruit from itself unless it stays on the vine, in this way you can’t [bear fruit] unless you stay in Me! 5I am the Vine, you are the branches! The person who stays in Me and I [stay in him—this person bears a lot of fruit, because without Me you can’t do anything! 6If someone doesn't stay in Me, he will be thrown outside like the branch and dried up and they will gather them together and they will throw [them] into the fire and it will burn up. 7If you stay in Me and My words stay in you, ask for whatever you want, and it will happen for you. 8In this My Father is glorified, namely that you would a lot of fruit and become disciples for Me. 9Just as the Father loves Me, I also love you! Stay in My love! 10If you would keep My commands, you stay in My love, just as I am in a state of keeping My Father’s commands and stay in His love! 11These things I’m in a state of speaking to you, so that My Joy would be in you and your could would be completed! 12This is My Command: Love one another, just as I love you 13No one has greater love than this, namely when someone puts his life for his friends! 14You are My friends, if you do what I ordered you. 15I no longer call you slaves, because the slave doesn’t know what his master does. But you I am calling friends, because all the things, which I heard from My Father I make know to you. 16You didn’t pick Me for yourselves; rather I picked you for Myself and appointed you, so that you would go and bear fruit and [so that] you fruit would stay—so that whatever you would ask the Father in My Name, He will give you! 17I’m commanding you these things, so that you would love one another.
thing that bears fruit is concerned, He will clean it, so that it would bear more fruit.

16.16For a little while [longer] and then you will look at Me no longer. And again for a little while, and then you will see Me. 17So, those of His disciples said to one another, “What is this, which He’s saying to us: “for a little while and then you won’t look at Me, and again for a little while, and then you will see Me”? and that “I will go to the Father”? 18So they said, “What does this ‘for a little while’ mean? We don’t know what He’s saying.” 19Jesus knew that they wanted to ask Him, and so He said to them, “You’re trying to figure out about this with one another, namely that I said “for a little while, and then you won’t look at Me, and again a little while and then you will see Me.” 20Amen, Amen, I say to you that you will cry and mourn, but the world will be happy. You will be pained, but your pain will become happiness! 21The woman whenever she would go into labor has pain, because her hour has come. But whenever she has given birth to the baby, she no longer thinks about the suffering because of the happiness that a man was birthed into the world. 22And so on the one hand, you will have pain now, but on the other hand I will see you again, and your heart will be happy! And no one will take your happiness away from you! 23And in that day, you won’t ask me for anything! Amen, Amen, I say to you, whatever you would ask the Father in My Name He will give to you! 24Until now you haven’t asked for anything in My Name, ask and you will receive, so that your happiness would be filled up! 25These things I’ve been speaking you in figures, a time is coming when I will no longer speak to you in figures, but with clarity I will announce about the Father to you. 26In that day, ask for yourselves in My Name, and I’m not saying to you that I will ask the Father for you, 27because the Father Himself loves you, because you love Me and believe that I’ve come from God! 28I’ve come from the Father and come into the world. Again I will leave the world and go to the Father!

The Point I’m Stressing: We pray in Jesus' Name, and God gives us what we ask for,, and He answers us for His glory and for our happiness, assuming we have a living relationship with Jesus that bears fruit, especially the fruit of loving one another!

1.      Structure
a.       The statements about prayer all occur in the same larger section in the book of John. It takes place in the upper room and on the way to the Mount of Olives. This is during the crucifixion narrative, but more specifically it is the section where Jesus talks with His true disciples, because Judas has left to betray Him. These are the final discussions Jesus will have with His disciples before His crucifixion. The general context of the passages is that Jesus is telling the disciples the stuff they will need to know while He is dead and then after He returns to the Father in Heaven. The current section goes from 13.31 to either 16.33 or 17.26, either way the teaching on praying in Jesus’ Name comes up a total of 5 times in about 3 chapters, and if the section does come to the finale of Jesus’ prayer in ch.17, then it seems especially appropriate to the theme of prayer in this section.
b.      The first time it appears is in 14.12-13, it functions as the transition from a discussion on Jesus doing the Father’s work to the to Jesus promise to ask the Father to send the Spirit so that they can do Jesus’ work while He is gone
c.       The second time it appears, it is interjected into the parable of the Vine and Branches and Gardener, found in 15.7-8, where it serves to close the parable, and where v.9 starts to unpack the parable.
d.      The third time appears in 15.16, where it serves to help close off the explanation of the parable, and tell the purpose/motivation for producing fruit (v.17 is both a bracket with v.9, and a transition to the theme of the world hating Christ’s followers)
e.       The fourth and fifth time both come in the closing section (16.16-33) of the larger section of 13.31-16.33. this closing section forms a bracket with the opening section, where the key phrase “for a little while” or μικρον appears in 13.33 as it is the core discussion of the final section (16.16-33) as well as the shared theme of Jesus’ departure which is threaded through the whole section, but finds its greatest intensity towards the beginning and end of the larger section, with 15.1-16.4 forming a central section that does not say that Jesus is leaven even once, and only hints at it towards the end as Jesus transitions to saying again that He is leaving at the beginning of ch.16. 16.23-24 (the fourth occurrence of praying in Jesus’ Name) serves to close off the more figurative part of the closing section, while 16.26-27 (the fifth occurrence) opens the more blunt part of the closing section. The two mentions are separated only by v.25, and thus seems to form and internal center for the final section. The final two mentions of praying in Jesus’ Name specify that the disciples will ask God directly and that Jesus will not ask for them. However, ch.17 is mostly Jesus’ prayer for them and later disciples, so Jesus will pray for them. It is adds to the contrast of what will be, but also it comforts us that even though Jesus will not need to be the intermediary for our prayers, He still prays for us.
2.      Themes
a.       Jesus is going away
                                                              i.      This is the main theme of the larger section, it gives the context for what else was said
b.      Staying connected to Jesus
                                                              i.      This a core theme of 15.1-17
c.       Bearing fruit
                                                              i.      This is result of staying connected to Jesus, forming another core theme of 15.1-17
                                                            ii.      Bearing fruit is closely correlated to loving each other, but likely
d.      Love
                                                              i.      This is a major theme for the larger section, it is the larger theme, the main moral instruction that Jesus gives to His followers
                                                            ii.      This is what Jesus seems to mean by “bear fruit”, although as mentioned above Jesus may have a larger view of what fruit bearing is, but at the very least it means loving others and probably loving God
                                                          iii.      Love also is the reason that we can feel free to ask the Father whatever we want
                                                          iv.      Also Jesus instructs us that while Jesus love is on one level unconditional, it does seem to be something that we can actively experience if we do what Jesus’ says (15.9-10)
e.       Joy vs. Sorrow
                                                              i.      This is also a major theme that is threaded through this larger section
                                                            ii.      Grief comes into play mainly because of Jesus coming departure
                                                          iii.      Joy comes mainly from the presence of the Holy Spirit and Jesus preparative teaching and by asking and receiving (answered prayer rocks!)
f.       Jesus coming back
                                                              i.      It plays a more subdued role, since the main theme is that He is leaving, but the hope that is paired with the message of His departure (referring perhaps at different times to both His coming death and ascension into Heaven) is that Jesus will one day return
g.      Coming of the Holy Spirit
                                                              i.      This is also a major theme in this larger section of 13.31-17.26
                                                            ii.      Jesus continues to praise the Holy Spirit and tell His disciples all that He will do and help them with after He is gone.
                                                          iii.      The Holy Spirit will replace Christ’s direct personal contact with the disciples
                                                          iv.      The Holy Spirit is explicitly said to be one of the things that Jesus will ask for from the Father for us. The Holy Spirit is the answer to Jesus’ prayer
                                                            v.      This seems to indicate that this is one prayer that we could also ask and expect a certain answer, in the sense of more filling/active work of the Holy Spirit in us, since Jesus’ prayer for us was effective and we all have the Holy Spirit who trust in Christ for eternal life
h.      Ask for anything/Pray in Jesus Name and it will be given
                                                              i.      Whatever you ask
                                                            ii.      In Jesus Name
                                                          iii.      It will be given
1.      By Jesus, if you ask Jesus (14.12-14)
2.      By the Father, if you ask the Father
                                                          iv.      Connected with
1.      Doing greater things that Jesus/Jesus’ work (14.12-13)
2.      Glorifying the Father (14.14 and 15.8)
3.      Bearing fruit (15.8)
4.      Staying in Jesus and having His words stay in you is the requirement for praying for whatever you want (15.7)
5.      Being picked by Jesus and appointed by Him (to go and bear fruit) (15.16)
6.      Loving one another (15.17)
7.      In the day of Joy, when we see Jesus again
8.      Having our joy fulfilled/filled up
9.      when Jesus will speak bluntly/clearly
10.  being direct connection with the Father
11.  being loved by God
12.  loving Christ
13.  trusting that Jesus is from God, that He is God

3.      Doctrines
a.       Jesus is in Heaven
b.      Jesus is Coming Back
c.       God loves us
d.      Jesus should be loved
e.       Jesus is from God, that is, He is God and is the Father’s authorized spokesman
f.       God answers prayers prayed in Jesus’ Name
g.      We have direct access to the Father in Jesus’ Name
h.      Jesus wants us to be happy
i.        Producing fruit requires staying connected to Jesus, and producing fruit and staying with Jesus is required to have prayers answered
j.        Producing fruit means loving God and others
k.      Prayer is powerful
l.        The Holy Spirit rocks! He teaches us and makes us experience God directly while Jesus is away!
m.    God is glorified through our prayers
n.      Jesus will empower us to do Greater things than Him by His Holy Spirit and because of prayer

1.      We should ask for whatever we want
2.      We should pray in Jesus’ Name
3.      We should pray to the Father, but we can also pray to Jesus
4.      We should expect God to answer our prayers
5.      We should pray for impossible things
6.      We should pray to have the Spirit work more powerfully through us
7.      We should seek God’s glory in our prayers
8.      We should pray for fruitful Christian lives
9.      We should be happy when God answers our prayers

10.  We should feel comfortable coming to God with our requests 

Jesus Prays (John 17)

(Sorry, I accidentally didn't save my sermon audio.)
Scripture: John 17
Translation: 17.1Jesus spoke these things. And then after lifting up His eyes to Heaven, He said, “Father, the time has come. Glorify Your Son, so that the Son can glorify You! 2Just as You gave to Him authority over all flesh, so that in accordance with everything that You gave Him He would give them eternal life! 3And this is eternal life, namely that they would know You, the Only Real God and who You sent, Jesus the Messiah! 4I glorify you on the earth having completed the work that You gave me, so that I would do [it]. 5And Now glorify Me—You Father, in Your Presence with the glory, which I had in Your Presence before the world existed! 6I’ve revealed Your Name to the men, who You gave me from the world! They were Mine, and You gave them to Me! and they are in a state of keeping Your Word! 7Now they know that everything that You gave to Me is from You, 8because the spoken-words, which You gave me, I gave to them, and they received and know truly that I came from You! And so they believe that You sent Me!
9I ask for them. I don’t ask for the world, but for who You gave Me, because they’re Mine! 10And all the things that are Mine are Yours, and all the things that are Yours are Mine! And I’m glorified in them! 11And I’ll no longer be in the world, and they will be in the world, and I’m coming to You, Holy Father! Keep them in Your Name, which You gave to Me, so that they will be one just as we [are]! 12When I was with them, I kept them in Your Name, which You gave to Me! and so I protected, and none of them was destroyed, except the son of destruction, so that the Scripture would be fulfilled! 13And now I’m coming to You and these things I’m speaking in the world, so that they will have My joy fulfilled in themselves. 14I will give them Your Message, and the world will hate them, because they aren’t from the world, just as I am not from the world. 15I’m not asking that You would take them out from the word, but rather that You would keep them from the evil one! 16They’re not from the world, just like I’m not from the world. 17Make them Holy by the Truth! Your Word is truth! 18Just as You sent Me into the world, I too sent them into the world! 19And for them I make Myself Holy, so that they themselves will also be made Holy by the Truth!
20But not only am I asking for them, but also for those who will believe in Me through their message, 21that they all would be one, just as You, Father, are in Me, and I am in You, so that they also would be in Us, so that the world would believe that You sent Me! 22And I gave them the glory that You gave Me, so that they would be one, just as We are One! 23I am in them and You are in Me, so that they would be completed into one, so that the world would know that You sent Me and You love them, just like You love Me! 24Father, what You gave Me, I will that wherever I Myself Am, those people would also be with Me, so that they would look at My Glory, which You gave Me, because You loved Me before the creation of the world! 25Righteous Father, the world also doesn’t know You, but I know You, and these people know that You sent Me. 26And I made known to them Your Name, and I will make [it] known, so that the love, with which You loved Me would be in them and I would be in them!

The Point I’m Stressing: Jesus teaches us how to prayer with His prayer, as well as teaching us what to pray for, and giving us hope for a unified and loving future in the church, as well as practical help in reaching the lost with the Gospel: He teaches us to be honest with the Father, and interact with God the Father like He is our Father, in Jesus’ Name, as well as teaching us to pray for God’s Glory, His Own Glory, and Unity and Love among believers, and that loving unity among believers shows unbelievers that God loves us and that He is with us and that we love and serve the Triune God, the God who is eternally Three Persons, but One God, just as the church is many people, but one Church deeply connected to each other in Christ!

1.      Structure
a.       Jesus Prays for Himself
b.      Jesus Prays for His Current Followers/Apostles
c.       Jesus Prays for His Future Followers/Coverts
2.      Themes
a.       Jesus was faithful
                                                              i.      This theme is threaded throughout the passage and in some ways provides the basis for the answer of the prayer request
b.      Truth
                                                              i.      This theme is tied in, especially from 14.6 “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life, no one comes to the Father, except through Me”
                                                            ii.      This theme also comes up many other times in 13.31-16.33
c.       Eternal Life
                                                              i.      A wider theme found throughout the book of John, such as 3.16
d.      Glory
                                                              i.      This is Jesus main concern in 17.1-5 and in 17.24
e.       Unity
                                                              i.      This is a core theme to this chapter, being discussed from 17.11-23
f.       Word/Message/Speaking
                                                              i.      This is tied to the prologue in 1.1-5
g.      Knowing
                                                              i.      God
                                                            ii.      Jesus
h.      Sending
                                                              i.      This has been a main theme in the book, but it is especially a core theme here
i.        Giving
                                                              i.      God the Father Gives to Jesus
                                                            ii.      Jesus gives to His followers
j.        Faith
                                                              i.      This is a main theme in the book, but here surfaces only briefly in Jesus’ mention of those that will one day believe in the message of the apostles, as well as in Jesus’ attitude of faith as He prays
k.      Love
                                                              i.      This is also a main theme of the section, and here surfaces again with it made clear that God the Father loves Jesus and that love should categorize the unity of true Christians
l.        Prayer in the Name of the Father/Jesus/Authority/Power
                                                              i.      The theme of authority is focused on in this section as well, with it stated that Jesus was given authority over the whole of humanity
                                                            ii.      However authority also comes up in the repeated references to the Name that Jesus has from the Father
                                                          iii.      Also some of the references to “what You have given Me” probably refers back to the Name or the authority, although sometimes it may refer to the group of believers
m.    Joy
                                                              i.      Comes about through prayer, and here we find that it also comes through hearing Jesus’ words

3.      Doctrines
a.       The Doctrine of the Tri-Unity of Yahweh God: God is One God, but at the same time at all times is 3 Persons: God the Father, God the Son, Jesus the Messiah, and God the Holy Spirit
b.      Prayer should be done in the Name of Jesus, which is the Name of God, that is the Name, Yahweh!
c.       The Church is by definition to be missional, that is a group of people unified like our Triune God full of Love like our Triune God and reaching out to the world like our Triune God
d.      The Triune God is the Possessor of all glory, and is Worthy of All the Glory!
e.       Jesus was humbly and faithfully obedient on earth, completing His Mission effectively, He was a faithful Servant (cf. OT prophets)
f.       The Church Should be Unified
g.      Salvation/eternal life, consists in knowing God the Father and God the Son, and implicitly also Knowing the Holy Spirit, thus, having a true relationship with the True Triune God is what it means to be saved, and it is the culmination of the richness of eternal life!
h.      The evil one is a threat to our continued presence and holiness in the world, which means he is real, but he is also weak, because God can and will protect us from him
i.        Truth is categorically the Word of God, which is Jesus the Messiah Himself as well as what God/Jesus has verbally conveyed
j.        God is the Possessor of All things
k.      Salvation is by God’s decision, before time began (cf. they are not from the world, like I’m not from the world, those given to me)
l.        Jesus Christ was sent by God, which means He is God and the sole authorized spokesman for God!
4.      Notes
a.       This chapter is a confluence of themes of the section which started in 13.31, the climactic expression and tying together of the themes phrased in the theme of prayer rather than that of teaching
b.      Larger, book wide themes are also pulled in, including “Logos, speaking, Love, Faith, Eternal Life, etc.

1.      Be Thankful—Pray thanking Jesus for  His Prayer
2.      Be Encouraged, because Jesus’ prayer will NOT go unanswered, and know that He will be pulling for us
3.      Be Loving, because that is what Jesus wants
4.      Be Impressed with Jesus, because that is what He wants
5.      Be Unified, because that is what Jesus wants, because that is Who He is, and what the World Needs to see to see Jesus as God
6.      Be Bold, because Jesus has given You the Message and the Authority to tell it
7.      Be Missional, because You have been sent, so go and tell people
8.      Be different, because if You trust in Jesus for eternal life, you are not a part of the world, you shouldn’t be like it
9.      Be prayerful, because we have all boldness and authority to pray!
10.  Be happy, because You have heard Jesus’ Message
11.  Be glorifying God the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, because they are worthy of all the glory!
12.  Feel Secure, because Jesus has prayed for Your protection!
13.  Be honest in your prayers, like Jesus

14.  Jesus seems to be suggesting that the best way for Christians to explain the doctrine of the Holy Trinity to unbelievers is to live out the doctrine in the church, by being filled with unity with one another and love for one another 

Monday, July 29, 2013

Jesus Teaches on Prayer (Matthew 6.5-15)

Scripture: Matthew 6.5-15
Translation: 5And whenever you’re praying, don’t be like the hypocrites, because they love standing to pray in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, so that they can show off to humans! Amen, I say to you, they’re already getting paid their reward. 6But you, whenever you would be praying, go into your inside room and shut your door to pray to your Father, the One Who is in the hidden place, and your Father, the One Who sees in the hidden place will reward you.
7And when you’re praying, don’t babble on and on just like the pagans, because they think that they will be listened to because of their many words. 8So, don’t be like them, because your Father knows what things you have need of before you ask Him! 9So you guys, pray like this:
“Our Father Who is in the heavens,
make Your Name be treated special/holy,
10make Your Kingdom come,
make Your Will happen on earth too just like in Heaven.
11Give us today the food we need for today!
12And forgive us of our debts,
like we too forgive the people in debt to us.
13And don’t bring us into testing/temptation,
rather rescue us from the evil one.”
14Because if you would forgive humans their violations, Your Heavenly Father will forgive you too. 15But if you won’t forgive humans, then Your Father won’t forgive your violations!

The Point I’m Stressing: Jesus teaches us that prayer is not about what other people think about our prayers, it is about talking to God, and it is not about using the right words or the right amount of words to get an answer, it is about talking to God like He is our Father, since He is, and asking for stuff for God and stuff for ourselves, but when we ask for forgiveness, we better have already forgiven people who have wronged us, otherwise God won’t forgive us

1.      Structure
a.       Teaching on Prayer Part One
                                                              i.      DON'T: Pray to Impress People, to get respect from people
                                                            ii.      DO: Pray to Talk to God, to get what we need from Him
b.      Teaching on Prayer Part Two
                                                              i.      DON'T: Pray with lots of empty repetition
                                                            ii.      DO: Pray prayers that are honest and meaningful, devoid of empty repetition
                                                          iii.      Explanation of Why Verse 12b is a Part of the Model Prayer:
1.      Forgive people, or God won’t forgive you
2.      Themes
a.       Prayer (vv.5-15, word for prayer or praying is found in, v.5[2x], 6[2x], 7, 8[αιτεω] 9)
b.      Hypocrisy (vv.5-6)
c.       Reward (v.5 and v.6)
d.      Forgiveness (v.12 and vv.14-15)
e.       Sovereignty of God (vv.9-13)
f.       Needs (v.8, vv.11-13, 14-15)
g.      Comparison (v.5, v.8, v.10)
h.      The Fatherhood of God the Father—God is our Father (vv.6[2x], 8, 9, 14, 15)
i.        Dependence on God (vv.7-15)
3.      Doctrines
a.       Absolute Sovereignty of God
b.      Forgiveness has to be given to be gotten
c.       Prayers are about God
d.      Prayers are also about Needs and Requestions
e.       How we pray affects whether God will reward us/answer our prayers
f.       God is Omniscient
g.      God is Our Father
h.      Dependence on God

1.      Prayer is not completely about us (although we are clearly involved and our lives have an impact on what we pray for, we do pray for ourselves). It is more about God. When Jesus tells us to pray “Make Your Name be treated as holy, make Your Kingdom come, make Your Will happen” those are prayers that we want for God, as much as we want for ourselves. We want God to be given honor and love and respect, we want God to bring His Kingdom to earth, we want God’s Will to be done. But the truth is we are also praying because God deserves those things. We pray for ourselves, but Jesus’ model prayer starts with praying for God
2.      We should pray frequently, “the food we need for today” probably implies that it is appropriate to depend on God every single day for food, to ask that He feeds you is an appropriate prayer. This may seem like a silly prayer to some or even most of you, because God has blessed you with more or less comfortable financial situations. You’re families have enough money and so you’ve never had to pray this, but the day will come in all of your lives at some point when you don’t know how you’re going to get anything to eat. more likely the financial stress won’t be as strong on the starving front, but I think it’s pretty likely that at some point in your life, you won’t know how you are going to pay rent, or get your car fixed, and some of you even get a meal. I’m only 25 and God has already put me in those kinds of situations, so to know that you can go to God for the basics is awesome!
3.      Prayer is not for impressing people, it’s for talking with God, now you may be thinking that you don’t have a problem with wanting to use prayer to impress people, but maybe we do and we don’t know it. So let me ask a question, do you mind praying in public? When we ask for a volunteer to pray, do you always hope that no one will call on you? Let’s say you answered yes, why? Is it because you’re scared of speaking in public? In our case, that is probably not the main issue, because we are smaller group and we know each other well, and all of you have spoken to all of us at some point. But let me ask the question a different way, do you think that the main reason why you don’t want to pray for the group is that you are concerned what people with think of your prayer? What you may not realize is that is the same understanding ofprayer that the hypocrites have, just manifested different. See, the hypocrites are just confident in their ability to make their prayers sound good, whereas you may not be. But both understand prayer as something that should impress people, the problem is when we make our prayers more about what other people will think about us and our prayers, than about talking with God and asking Him for what we need. Our prayers don’t need to impress anyone, they just need to bless everyone. Jesus is not talking about praying in public as an evil thing, Jesus’ problem is with the motivation for the way they pray
4.      We should talk to God like He is our Father, because He is. And He is the Best Father. You may or may not have a father who is easy to talk to or who is good at making you feel loved and valued, but God is a really GOOD Father, He is the easiest to talk to, and He always makes us feel loved and valued. Yes, He is still an authority figure, but not an abusive one, not a harsh one, not a cruel one, and not even a selfish one, this means that the easier person to talk to is God and we don’t have to hold back or worry about whether He will be insulted by what we say, because He knows everything including the motives of our heart and the exact meaning in our words
5.      Don’t think you have to pray long prayers to get answers from God, you don’t. people who don’t really trust God think that is how it works. they think “if I just pray really well, or ask a billion times, God will answer my prayer.” Don’t think there are a special sequence of words or phrase or way of talking to God that will make Him answer—churchy words don’t mean God will answer your prayers. That’s not how prayer works.
6.      Be selfish in your prayers, ask for what you need God to give you and trust in Him to give it. You don’t have to try and make your prayer sound like it is some grand thing that is so awesome that God has to answer it, because that assumes you have to impress God to get answers from God, but you don’t. You can tell God why answering your prayer would bless people, and sometimes that is a good way to pray. But really how complicated do you need to make a prayer for food or gas money? Do you need to pray, “God, please give me some food, because food will give me strength to tell people about Jesus, and then people will trust in Jesus, and then our family will get bigger?” when really all you’re really thinking is, Man, God, I’m hungry. Can I have some food?” It’s not wrong to want basic things for grand reasons, and to pray for big picture reasons, those are good things to do sometimes, but you don’t always have to pray like that. Sometimes a “I need money to go on this retreat” is enough. God isn’t stupid you don’t have to spell it all out for Him. It’s not like He going to be like “why do you want to eat food?” He knows you’re hungry.
7.      Forgive people, everyone, whether they deserve it or not, because God won’t forgive you, if you won’t forgive others. Maybe you’re thinking, “why do I have to forgive them, they don’t deserve it!” That’s a good question, let’s ask it again, “Why should God forgive us when we don’t deserve it?” Getting forgiveness from God requires that we have some relationship with God, and when we forgive others we show that we have that relationship, because forgiven people forgive people, and our relationship with God is very much tied to our being forgiven by God. We show that we probably are not forgiven if we won’t forgive. Jesus is blunt here, if we won’t forgive people, as individuals and as a group, God won’t forgive us! So, uh, let’s forgive people.
8.      We pray together, which also implies in public, that is why it says “Our Father” and “give us our daily food” and “forgive our debts” and “we’ve forgiven our debtors” and “don’t lead us into testing” and “rescue us,”


1.      God is not like a candy machine where the candy doesn’t come out if you don’t stick in enough quarters, so that we need to put in a lot of quarters to make sure we get what we want from God