How to Get Your Prayers Answered
[00:00:01] I heard about a young lady who wrote this sweet note to her ex-fiance whose heart she had broken just day year earlier she says in her note Dear John I have been unable to sleep since we broke off our engagement.
[00:00:23] It is shattered me. I just cannot live any longer without you. Won’t you forgive and forget. Your absence is breaking my heart. I was a fool to leave you.
[00:00:36] No one can take your place. I love you so much.
[00:00:39] Please call soon. I wait anxiously by the phone to hear your voice.
[00:00:45] Love always. Donna.
[00:00:51] Congratulations on winning a $6 million lottery.
[00:00:59] You know. We judge people or sometimes we even judge ourselves and we we look at the body. Of the letter that all the good stuff in it. And it sounds so good. But sometimes we don’t pay attention much to the P.S. And that’s how we are so different from God because we look at the watch. Where God looks at the wine.
[00:01:31] We look at how much when God looks at how.
[00:01:37] We judge a person by their methods. God judges a person by their motives. You see God knows our heart. And scripture tells us that that God looks at the heart he doesn’t look at the outward appearance of man but at the heart.
[00:02:03] And that’s why Jesus was so angry.
[00:02:07] You see very few times in Scripture where Jesus really gets down on people and he gets angry he got angry each time and he cleansed the temple he says this is my father’s house of prayer and you make it a den of thieves. He said Woe to you Pharisees you religiously as you hypocrites use snakes because you see he knew their heart. They had this outward appearance as being righteous and good but he knew their hearts.
[00:02:48] He knew. Their motives.
[00:02:52] In the following passages. Jesus again. Exposes the religious leaders motives. Matthew 6 verses one three way. We’re still in the Sermon on the Mount and here. Jesus says. Beware of practicing your righteousness before other people in order to be seen by them for then you will have no reward from your father who was in heaven.
[00:03:28] Thus when you give to the needy sound no trumpet before you as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets that they may be praised by others. Truly I say to you they have received their reward. But when you give to the needy do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing so that your giving may be in secret. And your father who sees in secret will reward you and when you pray you must not be like the hypocrites for they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners that they may be seen by others. Truly I say to you they have received their reward. But
[00:04:17] when you pray. Go into your room and shut the door and pray to your father who is in secret and your Father who sees in secret will reward you.
[00:04:32] And when you pray do not keep up empty phrases as the Gentiles do for they think that they will be. They will be heard for their many words.
[00:04:44] Do not be like them for your father knows what you need before you even ask him. So Jesus here he is warning the people not to practice their righteousness in front of other people for the for the purpose of being seen by the people all around them. The Greek word here for being seen with the Sanai is where we get our word theater and literally it means something to be stared at. These Pharisees. They were like actors in their performance on a stage that people would watch. And that’s what they wanted to be on stage in front of people so that those people might see how they had their outward righteousness. They play these roles so well that they even began to deceive themselves. Once they begin a lie can perpetuate more and more until they even themselves perceive it as truth. They become so seen that they actually believe that what they were doing. They were doing for God. They didn’t not know they did not see themselves as doing this where their heart is and that is so that people might see them in reality they practice their righteousness before men to be seen and not God. And Jesus don’t be like these hypocrites now. Now the term hypocrite was used in describing an acrobat.
[00:06:42] Well actually in the Greek plays back in those days the actors would wear a variety of mask to portray different emotions. In essence that they were hiding who they really were behind a mask pretending to be someone else.
[00:06:59] I know you ever see where some of these though have a stick and I have a mask on and they’ll have it up in front of them and they’ll be playing that character. It may be a happy mask but then when they’re playing no they they turn the mask around to the other side. It was a mask would be a frowning maybe sad mask and they would play that and that is what a hypocrite is.
[00:07:24] It’s where we show an outward appearance different than who we really are. Now today actors no longer wear masks but in the movies and in plays they do the very same thing they become someone other than who they are in real life. Now this may be good for the movies and in plays and stuff.
[00:07:53] But it’s deplorable. In real life.
[00:07:58] By calling them hypocrites this is what Jesus is say saying by their actions they were assuming false.
[00:08:06] Identities or making themselves to be something that they were not.
[00:08:10] The thing is that because of man we look on the outward appearance we think oh look at that person they are so righteous or good they’re so godly look at what they do.
[00:08:24] When we have no idea of their motives that God does they are pretenders are hiding behind master of religious devotion so that no one can see them for who they really are. But
[00:08:42] really it goes beyond acting because of what they are doing.
[00:08:46] This is serious that if these devotions that they were having the devotion of God by giving like prayer like fasting they turn them into a three year act called performance here look at me look at me and that really really upset Jesus.
[00:09:13] He had compassion on sinners.
[00:09:18] Remember how the religious leaders who were so righteous before the people.
[00:09:23] Started condemning Jesus because he was who said he was a friend of sinners.
[00:09:32] You see he did not condone saying you’ll never see him condone sin in Scripture. But what it was he saw the people as they were in bondage to sin and he understood that and he had compassion for them.
[00:09:50] That they might not sin.
[00:09:52] But for those who were so self righteous those religious leaders who portrayed righteousness before the people and people gave him such attention and Jesus God knew their hearts and knew their motives he called him snake hypocrite.
[00:10:20] That’s whom Jesus was talking about here. Christian hypocrisy is not funny. It’s being someone else. Maybe every Sunday now.
[00:10:33] You know. When I’m talking about right the Sunday of your Sunday faith.
[00:10:38] You have your Sunday face right.
[00:10:42] Well I mean we can practice I’ll say OK I everyone put on your Sunday faith.
[00:10:48] You know we can do. A lot of things have different things happen on the way to church at home.
[00:10:55] Kids spouses whatever.
[00:11:00] I hear Story night here parents angry yelling at their kid and in a car pulling into the parking lot still yelling they get out of the car.
[00:11:19] Our Sunday faces were good on our Sunday faces. That’s just not our Sunday faith. It’s that oh we’re at church.
[00:11:31] Doesn’t matter what we do during the week how we talk.
[00:11:37] What we view what we say what our attitudes are whether we are stealing from we’re whether we are hateful bitter or what it doesn’t matter because on Sunday we’re OK aren’t we and God says no you’re you’re not OK.
[00:11:59] You’re a hypocrite.
[00:12:04] Unfortunately Christian hypocrisy is one of the biggest excuses that people use for not coming to church.
[00:12:16] And that’s sad. And I’m sure.
[00:12:20] We all I know I have we have areas of our lives that God is working on and I don’t portray the life of Christ in my life as I should all the time.
[00:12:35] But there are those who give no care.
[00:12:41] For how they live their week no care for the dirty jokes they tell or laugh at work. No care about whether they are identified with the Lord Jesus Christ.
[00:12:54] But on Sunday we’re OK aren’t we.
[00:12:58] We come in and show everyone how good we are. Threaten our kids before we get to church.
[00:13:06] You better be good.
[00:13:12] Jesus had just told.
[00:13:16] The people here in the Sermon on the mount when we read it in Matthew 5 20 I tell you unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and the Pharisees you will never enter the Kingdom of God or the kingdom of heaven. So here what we’re looking at now Christ expands on what he said earlier showing how the Pharisees righteousness was deficit by exposing our hypocrisy in the matters of giving to the poor. Here and then prayer and then later we’ll see fasting and all these actually. These these are supposed to be worship rendered to God never displayed his self righteousness to gain admiration of other people. Here we see in verse two.
[00:14:11] Thus when you give to the needy sound no trumpet before you as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the street. That they may be praised by others. Truly I say to you they have received their reward but when you give to the needy do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing so that your giving may be in secret in your Father who sees in secret will we reward you so. So this is the biblical revelation here always held to the importance of giving to the needy.
[00:14:41] He’s not saying that we shouldn’t give to the needy what he’s warning is against those whose giving is less concerned about meeting the needs of people and not pleasing God. BINSTED earning a reputation for generosity and piety. The trumpets here mentioned may be metaphorical though there has been instances where even in the temple they used to sound the trumpets at the temple calling the citizens together to contribute to some particular urgent need.
[00:15:22] And supposedly there are references to some people whom I would have someone calling out crying out before them before their master would come and do or say or give something publicly so that people might see it.
[00:15:42] Jesus says here he says that those people who give in such a fashion whether it be on the streets or a synagogue whether it be in churches or maybe charities whether it’s a company public relations gimmick or a personal effort at self-promotion.
[00:15:59] All of these instances it’s a Pasqua see you aren’t doing that for the need of the person or to glorify God.
[00:16:09] You’re doing it as a show. The kind of giving is is is might be motivated by a form of egotism. Me all about ME SEE ME to look at what I’m doing. They don’t know what to be honored by man and Jesus as I tell you the truth. They have received their reward in full. They’ll get what they’re after. But that’s all they’re going to get right here. The praise they get from men that is all they’re going to get. But when you’re given secret God rewards you well you give for the purpose that that man might see what you’re doing that active doing it before man.
[00:16:59] That’s all the reward all you’re going to get. There is no real active righteousness no genuine piety no reward from God. When it says when you give to the needy do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing. So you may give in secret. Jesus is using the metaphor here too to speak of of how quiet and private our giving ought to be.
[00:17:29] His being private means secret in our giving and it ensures that our giving is not Propp prompted even in park. To be recognized by man. No one will know what we have given God. Scripture here tells us that it is God who will reward you what he wants do it in secret.
[00:17:52] It reminds me I don’t know. If you like old movies. I like being Crosby the old black and white movies and there was a movie called going my way.
[00:18:05] I don’t know if you’ve ever seen it but in the midst of it this old Preece church burns and and being Crosby being a crooner singer.
[00:18:17] Some Hollywood producers.
[00:18:20] Heard a little little tune that they really liked they wanted to buy.
[00:18:25] They want to give a million one to buy this from and he said you know no no.
[00:18:29] Don’t give it to me this is why I want you to do. I want you to go to church and I’m sure like her.
[00:18:36] You know I just want you to give it to the church. Instead of giving it to me just give it to the church to help rebuild their church in something.
[00:18:45] Now why all this to say what one gets But what really caught my attention is these Hollywood producers or whoever. Was sitting in the pew in the offering plate. Comes around. And he takes all this money out. And he starts holding it up and starts counting it like this. And kind of.
[00:19:09] You know snapping the bills and county and so everybody and then he put it into the offering plate. So that everybody can see how much money and even his money how much money he was giving to the church.
[00:19:29] That’s what God’s talking about.
[00:19:34] When we give to the needy church or the needy whomever has needs. We’re to do it privately after many stories. Of people who receives.
[00:19:46] Cash. I’ve received it myself. Cash in an envelope. No name. They don’t want to be recognized. I just wanted to meet a need. And that’s what Jesus is talking about so.
[00:20:00] So we are to give secretly and then Jesus says your father who sees in secret.
[00:20:08] Will reward you. Jesus’s disciples is not giving secretly in order to win some heavenly reward.
[00:20:18] Rather they give secretly to avoid the glamour the recognition from men. They do it to please God and to meet the need. That’s their.
[00:20:31] And their results. Is spiritual reward.
[00:20:37] From God. Then in verse 5 through 8 it says and when you pray.
[00:20:43] You must not be like the hypocrite. So we’ve gone from giving now to prayer.
[00:20:48] When you pray you must not be like the hypocrites for they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners that they may be seen by others. That’s the reason they do this. Truly I say to you they have received their reward. But when you pray go into your room and shut the door and pray to your father who is in secret and your father who sees in secret will reward you.
[00:21:21] And when you pray do not keep up empty praises as the Gentiles do for they think that they will be heard for their many words.
[00:21:32] Do not be like them for your father knows what you need before you even ask him.
[00:21:37] So so we go from play acting in giving to the poor and now it gives way to play acting as we are praying.
[00:21:48] Now now Jesus. Is not opposed to giving. He wants us to give and in the same way he is not opposed to prayer. Math fact he knows his disciples will praise is when you pray.
[00:22:05] What he rejects is the attitude found in those who love to pray to be seen by man the purpose they are praying as they pray out loud is for the purpose to be seen by man standing and praying even.
[00:22:23] It was an acceptable practice. But the word Jesus uses here it doesn’t mean just standing and praying literally means to position oneself conspicuously as to be seen. So it’s not like in a prayer meeting that you pray out loud. That’s not what Jesus is talking about.
[00:22:48] It’s the person who places himself in a position to conspicuously be seen for the purpose not for the purpose to pray to God to communicate with God but with the purpose to be seen by all the people around. It was done to get attention.
[00:23:10] To show people how Godly they were so then so. So how should a Christian pray.
[00:23:18] Jesus says.
[00:23:20] Go into your room and shut your door.
[00:23:25] We are to close the door with number one.
[00:23:27] It is so that we aren’t disturbed we are distracted for one bit but it’s also to shout out the prying and so we prying eyes of man so that we are not tempted to be prayed for the purpose to be seen by man but to shut ourselves in with God and then see then we can obey Jesus is next command which says pray to your father who is in secret.
[00:23:56] Now Andrew Murray who wrote numbers of books he is born back in the eighteen hundreds.
[00:24:00] Andrew Murray wrote numbers of books on prayer and he said in the conflict between the believer and the powers of darkness the place of private prayer is the key strategic position where a decisive victory is obtained when the church sets herself up to the power of the prayer closet and the soldiers of the Lord have received on their knees. Power from on high. Then the powers of darkness will be shaken and souls. Will be delivered so that the real essence of prayer for the Christian.
[00:24:50] Is to seek God so many so many times you know what we have a laundry list oh god. We cannot use prayer like a spare tire.
[00:25:02] You don’t use it until it’s needed.
[00:25:06] And too often there’s too many believers who don’t. Prayer and prayer is just communication. With God and they don’t communicate with God until they’re in a spot. Where they need something from God and they have a laundry list. Oh God please give me this this do this this this.
[00:25:30] Behind all true prayer. Lies the conversation spoken of in Psalm 27 a which God initiated this says. Thou hast said the Psalmist as thou hast said Seek ye my faith my heart says to you your face Lord do I see we see God in order to acknowledge him as the person he is the God Creator.
[00:26:04] God the Lord God the Judge.
[00:26:07] God our heavenly Father our father daddy.
[00:26:14] Or our relationship.
[00:26:17] Is developed as a baby’s relationship as my grandson grows and giggles and all the other things he sees me are or are his grandma and mom or dad and he lights up.
[00:26:33] That’s how our relationship with our Heavenly Father should be developing because we read he speaks to us through his word and we communicate back to us in this two way communication develops a relationship to the point where we can come to come and say Daddy.
[00:26:58] Do you have that kind of relationship. With our Heavenly Father.
[00:27:08] We desire to be him in a secret place and in order to bow down before him and in humble worship and love and trust.
[00:27:19] And Jesus goes on and says that our Father who sees us in secret. Where we Warda. And then he mentions the second thing which characterizes or should characterize. Our prayer life and that is and when you pray do not keep empty phrases as the Gentiles do. They think that they will be heard for their many words. Do not be like them for your father knows what you need before you even ask him some.
[00:27:47] Some pagans thought that if they named all of their gods and addressed her petite Titian’s to each one of their god and repeated them over and over and over that somehow they had a better chance of having their their prayers answered.
[00:28:04] By doing this. Jesus tells the Jewish listeners here. That much of their praying is like these pagans.
[00:28:15] This babbling found among the pagans and prayer is it.
[00:28:22] Consists of heaped up phrases idle repetitions even next week when we look at the model of prayer that Jesus gives when we call him Lord for. He is not telling us this is what you pray word for word. He says this is the manner. And will be talking about that next.
[00:28:43] This is the manner in which you should pray.
[00:28:49] So in summary here Jesus wants to teach us that prayer should be a genuine act of righteousness without fanfare directed to God the Father not to man Private primarily.
[00:29:10] That’s how our relationship is should be with God.
[00:29:16] Now in relation to this morning’s message. I. Posted on Facebook last week how to get your prayers answered. Now let me let me. Produce that. Title. How to get your prayers answered Matthew 7 7 8 says. As you will be given to you see and you will find.
[00:29:47] Knock and it will be open to you for everyone who asks receives and everyone who seeks finds and to the one who knocks. It will be open. And then in first John 5:14 it says and this is the confidence that we have toward him that if we ask anything according to His will He hears us. Neither neither of these verses says whatever we ask that God will answer according to what we want. It says that if we ask anything according to His will He hears us. God is not some candy dispenser.
[00:30:36] Given how any thing that we look to the glass into. Oh I want that’s all we ask of Guardians. OK here you are.
[00:30:46] Many of us in retrospect. Are thankful that God has not given us what we have asked for in the past. Have you not.
[00:31:01] He knows what we need before we even ask James for Says you ask. And you do not receive because you ask wrongly to spend it on your passions so we can be thankful that God didn’t answer the prayer the way we wanted him to answer.
[00:31:24] He never promises to answer the way we want.
[00:31:27] He’ll answer some of his answers might be yes.
[00:31:32] No. Way.
[00:31:38] He’ll answer in some way. It may not be the way we want him to answer.
[00:31:45] But he does.
[00:31:48] The question. I want to leave you with this morning is. Do you pray.
[00:31:59] Do you pray.
[00:32:02] And if you do. How do you pray. Nothing reveals the effect of spiritual life. As a lack of believing and unceasing prayer. In spiritual work. Everything everything depends upon prayer.
[00:32:23] Andrew Murray again says in his book a little book called The Believers prayer life.
[00:32:31] He says. What is the reason that many thousands of Christian workers in the world have no greater influence. Nothing except this the prayer list is of their service. The sin of prayer listeners is the cause of a powerless spiritual life.
[00:32:55] And only the prayer lists are too proud to own up to prayer closeness.
[00:33:02] Now next week I’m going to continue a matter of fact next week we’re going to look at the believers prayer life and then we’re going to look at here in the Sermon on the Mount the model prayer.
[00:33:13] Not that we’re to be praying word for word which is not wrong to pray that prayer but Jesus just pray in this way. And we’re going to look at that and we’re going to look at the believers prayer life. Is prayer a significant part. Of your relationship with God. How do you pray when you pray if you do not pray. Why don’t you pray now. Now I can guarantee you here I’ve told you what we’re going to talk about. The enemy. Is going to try to keep you in any way he can from coming here and hearing this message next week. I can guarantee you. OK. Now Zach and Jamie are OK in not being here because they’re going to be getting married on Saturday the day before we give you grace you guys don’t have to be here. OK. But the enemy. Is you know try to keep me here and not just the enemy.
[00:34:16] Your flesh is not going to want to be confronted by the truth of God’s Word to reveal an area of your life. You
[00:34:24] might know God is wanting to work on prayer litheness Scripture says it is a sin. I
[00:34:36] hope you will be here next week as we look at. The
[00:34:42] believers prayer life and the model prayer and I what to do as I close in prayer. I’m a go ahead and pray for our lunch downstairs so that as I’m greeting people as a leaving staff you don’t have to wait for me or anyone else to go downstairs and pray first for the food. We’re going to pray and ask God to bless the fellowship and the food and staff up here. And when you go downstairs and they get everything ready. Just go ahead and get in line and get your food. Ok so so let’s pray.
[00:35:11] Lord God I you know how many many times I fail. In. How I pray. And when I pray. And Lord even a year ago that that was an area of my life that you pointed out and you brought me to your word.
[00:35:33] And and let me understand the seriousness of a perilous life. So Lord I pray that even maybe this week you would even start doing a work in people’s life as they think about.
[00:35:50] How is my prayer life. And that we might draw close to you so that we might know you better.
[00:35:59] Lord I do pray for our fellowship and lunch downstairs. I pray that the fellowship is sweet. I thank you for those in with their labor of love that provided all the food that we can partake in just as much to nourish our bodies and the fellowship as we go down there and we pray this in Jesus name Amen.