csibiblestudy


Examine My Prayers
July 27, 2015, 3:49 am
Filed under: Searching for our Savior in His book | Tags: , , ,

In the sermon on the Mount, Jesus teaches important lessons about prayer. While He is speaking to His disciples, in the crowd are the common people of His day as well as the Pharisees and scribes who were the religious leaders. These religious leaders practiced a hypocritical and worthless “faith” that was more motivated by their desire to be important than to be followers of God. The point of the Sermon on the Mount is to show what true spiritual life looks like compared to the false “spiritual” life practiced and proclaimed by the Pharisees. The Pharisees missed the teachings of God for their beliefs and teaching about Him, their religious life, and their view of what is valuable in life. Jesus shows that their religious life of giving, praying, and fasting are worthless and failed practices of a self-centered and self-serving religion.
Jesus’ intention is to bring the Pharisees to the point of admitting they are “poor in spirit”. This means that they have nothing worthwhile to offer God. When we come to God, admitting that we have nothing spiritually to offer Him, then He calls us “blessed”. We admit we are empty, come to Him, broken and realizing that we are totally dependent upon Him, and then we trust His plan of salvation based on the finished work of Christ.
The Jewish religious leaders put a heavy emphasis on prayer. In their view of religion, prayer was the greatest work a man could do. In fact, most rabbis wanted to pray all day long. They placed prayer as essential for a right standing with God.
Here’s the bad thing about the prayers of the Jewish people; it was corrupted by the corrupt leaders. Because the leaders practiced a phony faith, their teachings and standards deteriorated from the standard God gave. The number one problem with their prayers is that they became rituals. A ritualistic prayer is one which does not come from our heart. We get into a routine of praying something without meaning it. The Jewish had a custom (or ritual) that each morning they were to pray or repeat the Shimah, which was basically “Hear oh Israel, the Lord our God is one Lord”. But remember, the rabbis wanted to pray all day. So they added other verses to this and required the people to pray this long pray each morning and each night. As soon as a child could determine the differences in simple things, he or she would be taught this prayer. We do that with our children. “Now I lay me down to sleep” or “God is gracious, God is good” comes to mind. Christian school children often pray, “Dear God, help us in today in class to learn. Don’t let us get in trouble. And help us win the game this afternoon. In Jesus’ name, Amen” If you’ve ever heard this prayer you are amazed at how quickly they can pray it. Before we condemn our children, what about our prayers. Do they reflect thoughts from our minds and feeling from our heart or have we allowed them to become ritualistic, routine, and powerless prayers? They began to require prayers every 3 hours during the day. See how it come become a routine? So prayers come be genuine, if you were genuine and your heart was right and loving in communion with the true and living God. Prayers could also become times of showing how righteous you were. The Pharisees fell into this trap. Theatrical presentations at the times of required prayer became the common thing among these leaders. Then, there is a third reaction. Prayer meant nothing to some people. They saw it as worthless because it was just a routine. This indifference is what we see today. Except for rare occasions during which we pray special prayers, prayer meant nothing. In the hospital, we want prayers. We ask for prayers at funerals. In time of national emergency, we seek prayers. The rest of the time, prayers are seen as a waste of time. Because their prayers were ineffective, the Pharisees thought the answer was to pray longer prayers. We sing “sweet hour of prayer”, then lament that we don’t pray that long anymore. But look at the Bible. Most prayers written out in the Bible are short prayers. Lengthy prayers without devotion are worthless prayers. Nothing wrong with a long prayer if it is a real prayer from the heart. But praying long just to pray long is worthless. Some Jewish prayers would be altered to make them longer by placing multitudes of adjectives before the name of God. Prayer is to focus on God, yet it is to be from a heart that loves God more than anything else.
Please take time to read this statement: We are all subject to pride in our praying because we have sin natures and Satan will battle us when we enter into communion with God. Jesus was in the wilderness, spending time with God when Satan confronted Him. If he can tempt us with pride in prayer, he will try to turn us away from loving devotion to prideful display. Be aware of prayers that are self-centered and prideful.
True prayer is giving God the opportunity to show His tremendous power and to demonstrate His majesty to a world that needs Him. Jesus tells the disciples that when they are praying, think about the greatness of God. When we are faced with a multitude of problems, stop and think about who God really is. As you do, He gets bigger and our problems get smaller. Second, remember to pray for God to accomplish His will. He already knows our needs and is standing in the future where the answer already is. We show our confidence in Him by being willing to submit to Him and trust Him to do what is best because He is good. The third and sometimes most difficult thing to do, is pray with hearts are are free from bitterness caused by an unforgiving attitude. Finally, make sure that you pray that God receives the most from our prayers. Life is not centered around us, but around Him. God accomplishing His will and looking great in the sight of men is much more important that me getting something that I want. Jesus taught His disciples to be genuine and real in their prayers. He stressed the importance of praying from a heart that loves God more than anything or anyone else. He also told us that genuine prayer comes from a humble heart that seeks God’s ears and not man’s approval.

hear his voice

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