Hope in God

What do you hope for? Do you hope for a new job? A new relationship? A new adventure in life? A new smartphone? But first let me ask you this question, what is hope?

Hope looks at the future. You are hoping because there is something to look forward to. Hope is a feeling of expectation and desire for a certain thing to happen. Single individuals might hope in their work to achieve their goals and dream. Or they might hope for a relationship where they would receive the love they need. These can be the wrong anchors or sources of our hope.

Hebrews 12:2 says keep your eyes on Jesus who perfects our faith. It is actually saying that we are to hope in God. Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see. Wherever there is full assurance of hope, there is faith. Faith is the full assurance of hope. Hope is part of Faith. Therefore, in Hebrews 12 God is the author or source of our faith, and He is the source of our hope. He is the one we are to hope for because he will be the one who will make what we hope for come into a reality. Look at what Romans 15:13 says also.

Romans 15:13

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.

When is says “God of Hope” it means God is the source of hope. I like how its translated in the NLT version, it says: “God, the source of hope, will.” Hope here in Greek is elpis meaning expectation, trust, confidence and expectation of what is sure or certain. We can now relate this to God the source of hope as God our source of confidence as we expect something to be sure or certain.

That’s why I would like to define hope as CONFIDENCE IN THE FUTURE ANCHORED ON GOD WITH GREAT EXPECTATIONS

Great Expectations because God can do more than what we could think of our imagine and because we expect it to actually happen. One famous preacher said, biblical hope is just not a desire but it expects it to happen

This is an message directed towards singles. As single individuals we should hope in God in these three areas:

  1. Hope in God as our Hope in our Work
  2. Hope in God as our Hope in our Relationships
  3. Hope in God as our Hope in our Future

1) HOPE IN OUR WORK

What could possibly we be your hope in your work? What are you hoping for in your work? Do you hope your office will look as cool as the office of Google, Dropbox or Lego? Or are you hoping to find the right career?

For most of us I know this is something that we want to achieve that’s why we hope for it. We even pray for it. We hope to find our dream job. We might be in a place right now were there’s too much work and we feel that compensation is not at par with the load you are given. You have too many overtime plus there’s office politics.

Do not endure because of your hope in finding the right job someday, but work because you are working for the Lord

Colossians 3:23-24

23 Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, 24 since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.

Look at the hope that is being mentioned here – “since you know what you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as reward.” You will get a reward as you live a life of obedience, just working for the Lord even if you earthly bosses doesn’t reward you.

That’s why you are to respond properly and do your best in your work. Love the people (your officemates) you work with and share Jesus to them. Show Jesus in how you do your work and do not crumble

I know this is easier said than done. I have experienced this. But let your focus be on desiring to hear from God “Well done good in faithful servant.” Imagine that kind of a reward! And as we work for him, the Lord will empower us to work with passion and love for what we are doing when we rely on Him and the power of the Holy Spirit

Our hope in work should also not be to gather riches in this world which his temporary.

1 Timothy 6:17

Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment.

Put hope not on Money but the Lord. That you may find security in Him and not in material possession.

2) HOPE IN OUR RELATIONSHIPS

What are you hoping for in your relationships? Finding the Perfect Partner? Or the hope that marriage will solve everything?

I appeal to you brothers and sisters that our hope to get love and attention should not be on people. People are not perfect. They will fail us. Hope is secure in God because God is not changing and will never fail us. That’s why single individuals are not to focus on marriage as a means to an end to this single life but our focus is to be the best the Lord wants us to be.

I don’t know if you’ve read this article entitled “Marriage Isn’t for You.” It went viral and got a million hits. Seth Adam Smith, the writer, got it!

“Having been married only a year and a half, I’ve recently come to the conclusion that marriage isn’t for me,” Smith begins, before pulling a bait and switch on the reader and launching into his pro-marriage stance, which he developed after getting cold feet before his wedding to wife Kim. “Was I ready? Was I making the right choice? Was Kim the right person to marry? Would she make me happy?”

Turned to his father for guidance and says that what he learned was life-altering. “He said, ‘Seth, you’re being totally selfish. So I’m going to make this really simple: marriage isn’t for you. You don’t marry to make yourself happy, you marry to make someone else happy. More than that, your marriage isn’t for yourself, you’re marrying for a family. Not just for the in-laws and all of that nonsense, but for your future children. Who do you want to help you raise them? Who do you want to influence them? Marriage isn’t for you. It’s not about you. Marriage is about the person you married.’”

I believe this is the kind of selfless love that we need to develop. This is the kind of love that we need to learn how to practice in our family and friends. And we can only learn how to do this once we understand that true love can only be found in the Lord.

What should be our hope in our relationships? Our hope in our relationships for the people that we love is for them to know the Lord. We should not be selfish. We should only look after their best. And that is for them to have a relationship with the Lord and experience eternal life with Him in heaven someday.

But you can only hope in God – that the power of His love and grace will be able to transform them. Because change is not dependent on us but on the Lord.

1 Corinthians 3:4-6

4 When one of you says, “I am a follower of Paul,” and another says, “I follow Apollos,” aren’t you acting just like people of the world? 5 After all, who is Apollos? Who is Paul? We are only God’s servants through whom you believed the Good News. Each of us did the work the Lord gave us. 6 I planted the seed in your hearts, and Apollos watered it, but it was God who made it grow.

If you are praying for the salvation of a family member – Hope in the Lord. If you are leading a bible study group or discipleship group, you need to realize that change will not come from you but from God.
Of course, you have to do your part in being faithful to sharing Jesus to them. That they may get to know the Lord and be secured in their future. You need to take action! It’s hope that moves. Hope in God.

3) OUR HOPE IN OUR FUTURE

It is our future destination that gives us hope.

Colossians 1:4-5

4 For we have heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and your love for all of God’s people, 5 which come from your confident hope of what God has reserved for you in heaven. You have had this expectation ever since you first heard the truth of the Good News.

Not matter what we are going through in this earth – trails, pain, hardship, etc. It is nothing compared to eternity. Our time here is just like a day that has gone by compared to eternity. What should you value more, 60 years on earth or limitless years in eternity?

Think about it. Hardship is just like a second compared to an eternity of pleasure with the Lord in Heaven.
That’s why as children of God, we always have hope! Maybe on the earth you feel none but this is only our temporary place.

As singles, we are easily prone to lose our eternal focus because of the things we want to do. We want to achieve a lot in our work. We want to be fit and exercise. We want to travel and see the whole world. We want to try a new hobby or start investing to save for the future.

But it is not the temporary investments that you should give your time and effort to but on the things that will have eternal value. This is where we should invest our time and effort into. That means sharing Jesus to people around you because their relationship with Him is what will last all throughout eternity. And if that means you are to do your best in your office, in hope that people will see Jesus in you, then do so passionately.

Have the right anchor in your hope. Hope in God alone in your work, relationship and future. God is our hope which will never disappoint us and fail us. There will be a time where we will have problems and go through trials. What should keep us going is our hope in God and in his never ending love.

I love this story about a guy in Bangladesh who was being persecuted and was going through a tough time but had anchored his hope in Jesus Christ alone. This is what he said:

Milon says, “We are going through many problems, but still we have Jesus Christ. We have peace through Him, and we have hope that when we die we will go to heaven.”

This guy knew where to place his hope. How about you? Where are you putting your hope into? Is it anchored in the right foundation?

Resemble the Father, Abide in Christ

Do you look like your parents? For me, some may say I really look like my dad. He just smiles more often and I don’t. Hehe. It’s just amazing to see how a child can really resemble his or her father or mother. We have a resemblance to our earthly parents no matter who big or small it may be. But we should also consider our resemblance to our heavenly Father. We will learn a lot about this as we study 1 John chapter 3.

John starts chapter 3 with such astonishment. What did he say?

 1 See how great a love the Father has bestowed on us, that we would be called children of God; and such we are.

See! Look! Perceive! Behold that great love of God – this great love that gives us the privilege to be in a relationship with Him as his children.

Can you feel the passion and heavy emotion behind John’s writing in verse 1? This is a big deal! Why? Think about this the God of the univers, the God of wonders, the God who created everything that we see, the God who is beyond time, and the God who is beyond our imagination in his great love for us, adopted us to be his child!

And when we talk about this adoption, it is the accepting of a child as one’s own. It is the choice of God in eternity past to bestow upon a believer all of the rights and privileges due to one who is a son of God. Let’s look at Galatians.

Galatians 4:4-6

4 But when the fullness of the time came, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the Law, 5 so that He might redeem those who were under the Law, that we might receive the adoption as sons. 6 Because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, crying, “ Abba! Father!” 7 Therefore you are no longer a slave, but a son; and if a son, then an heir through God.

Based on this verse, what can you see? As a child what privileges do you have?

  1. There is a relationship – “Abba! Father” in verse 6
  2. You are freed, given rights as children – “You are no longer a slave, but a son” in verse 6
  3. You are made co-heir with Christ – “if a son, then an heir…” in verse 6

When we realize this truth, we respond just as how John would respond. Wow! Such a great love. And friends, such as you are! John was continuing to drive that truth. We might feel undeserving. We might feel we’re not worthy. We might feel unqualified. But this is not about who you are; this is just about who God is. That He loves you and chooses to call you his child.

So if you have believed in what the Lord has done for you – you are a Child of God! Such as you are! That’s why John 1:12-13 says.

John 1:12-13

But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.

That’s why we shouldn’t depend on emotion but only in our knowledge on who God is and where we have put our faith to – Jesus Christ. If we know that we are children of God, then it is within our duty to protect the name of our Father.

That’s why friends, we need to understand verse 1 first. We need to realize the love that the Father has for us that he called us his son, that we might want to please and honor him, out of his love for us.

That we are not pressured to merely live a holy life because we carry the name of our father but because we want to love Him back and please Him. And part of please Him is resembling Him in our lives, that others would see Him in us, and for others to experience His love through us.

Part of resembling our Father and wanting to honor and please Him is this:

  1. We will not Sin
  2. We will love Others

WE WILL NOT SIN (v4 -10)

 1 John 4-10

Everyone who practices sin also practices lawlessness; and sin is lawlessness. You know that He appeared in order to take away sins; and in Him there is no sin. No one who abides in Him sins; no one who sins has seen Him or knows Him. Little children, make sure no one deceives you; the one who practices righteousness is righteous, just as He is righteous; the one who practices sin is of the devil; for the devil has sinned from the beginning. The Son of God appeared for this purpose, to destroy the works of the devil. No one who is born of God practices sin, because His seed abides in him; and he cannot sin, because he is born of God.

Part of resembling the father is will be not sin but does this also mean what verse 5 says, “in Him there is no sin.” Does this mean we have no sin and will not sin anymore?

On the contrary, if we would look at chapter 1 verse 8, what did John say?

1 John 1:8

If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us

John was taking to believers. So, was he contradicting himself when he said in chapter 3, verse 5 that in Him there is no sin?

No, we have to look at the next succeeding verses particularly verse 6 and verse 9.

  • Verse 6 – No one who abides in Him sins; no one who sins has seen Him or knows Him
  • Verse 9 – No one who is born of God practices sin, because His seed abides in him; and he cannot sin, because he is born of God.

So what John was clearly saying here, as you would see in verse 6 – “sins” and verse 9 – “practices”, there is that action or the act of doing. He was saying that no one who belongs to God would continue on sinning and habitually practice sin in their lives.

It’s not that we won’t sin anymore. Yes, all of our sins are forgiven – past, present and future but because we are still in our flesh (earthly bodies) we can still fall into sin. But this time if we do, we choose to and not because we had no choice and was a slave to sin.

So if we want to resemble the Father, we will not to habitually practice sin, and the key to be victorious over sin is in verse 6.

No one who abides in Him sins; no one who sins has seen Him or knows Him.

Let’s try to understand what abiding mean. Take note that this is a word that is commonly being repeated in 1 John.

John has constantly been using the word abide.

  • 1 John 2:5-6 - but whoever keeps His word, in him the love of God has truly been perfected. By this we know that we are in Him: 6 the one who says he abides in Him ought himself to walk in the same manner as He walked.
  • 1 john 2:10 - The one who loves his brother abides in the Light and there is no cause for stumbling in him.
  • 1 john 2:24 – As for you, let that abide in you which you heard from the beginning. If what you heard from the beginning abides in you, you also will abide in the Son and in the Father.

Abiding means remaining. It is remaining in the truth of what God has said in his word. Because again, there was a problem during this time, right? False teachers were proclaiming:

  • Jesus wasn’t human
  • You have the license to do whatever you want with body because is was evil – leading to licentiousness

But if you abide and not stray away from the truth like what is said in 1 John 2:24 – As for you, let that abide in you which you heard from the beginning – you know that this is a far cry from the truth. Because the truth is:

  • Jesus was 100% man and 100% God
  • That despite this deity He still choose to die for the sins of mankind
  • That is his great love for us and because He first loved us. We begin to love Him back
  • And honor Him by living a holy life, the life that He has called us to live.

That’s why in verse 6 it says:

No one who abides in Him sins; no one who sins has seen Him or knows Him.

If you remain in the truth and abide, if you know Him and what He has done, you will not want to sin. There is a contrast here. Someone who practices sin in their lives is (1) not abiding, (2) has not seen Him and (3) does not know him. But one who does not sin (1) abides in him, (2) has seen him and (3) knows him.

Remain in the truth and to Him, as what abiding is. Get to know Him and see His heart. Then see and realize what pleases him, know and learn what He has done for you and realize how much he loves you. When all these truth sinks in your heart and mind, you come to love Him more and thus, you don’t want to sin.

Because the moment that you are so intimate with you’re father, you will realize He righteous and you would want to resemble the father and be righteous. That’s why verse 7 says:

Little children, make sure no one deceives you; the one who practices righteousness is righteous, just as He is righteous;

But you need to abide friends; you need to stay close as a branch is to a vine, as John is trying to illustrate it.

John 14:4-5

4 Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me. 5 I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing.

 Vine

  • Has a roots
  • Source of life
  • Provides water and nutrients
  • Nourishes and sustains its branches
  • Branches are dependent on the vine

Branch

  • Attached to the vine
  • Responsible to produce the fruit
  • Cannot produce fruit on its own
  • You will hate sin when you realize honoring the Father is greater than going with that temporary pleasure

Friends, that’s why is critical for you to be consistent and disciplined in your quiet times with God. These are the moments that you abide so you may bear fruits of righteousness and not sin.

  • So are you abiding?
  • Are you constantly spending time with God?
  • When you look back in your Christian can you list down some of the changes (fruits) in your life that happened? As evidences that your have abide

The question is are we bearing any new fruit? Are we becoming more righteous and Christ-like? Abiding will lead to Christ-likeness, resembling the Father, but it will also lead to loving others – verse 10

 10 By this the children of God and the children of the devil are obvious: anyone who does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor the one who does not love his brother.

WE WILL LOVE OTHERS (v11-15)

1 John 3:11-2

11 For this is the message which you have heard from the beginning, that we should love one another; 12 not as Cain, who was of the evil one and slew his brother. And for what reason did he slay him? Because his deeds were evil, and his brother’s were righteous.

Cain is presented here, as an example of what God’s children should not be like! Evil was in Cain’s heart and he murdered his brother

 Genesis 4:8

Cain told Abel his brother. And it came about when they were in the field, that Cain rose up against Abel his brother and killed him

Why did Cain murder his brother? His brother’s (Abel) simple faith in God and his
inherent desire to please His Creator frustrated Cain and exposed his own black heart. When we consider Cain, we are obligated to say that he was not a loving man! How could he murder his own brother in anger and resentment? This should cause you and me to stop and think! How many times have you, murdered someone else (in effect) by hating them? Verse 15

 15 Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer; and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him

In times that we are burning with hate towards a certain individual all that we need to do is to turn to Jesus in all sincerity and He will help us.

We must begin to resemble our Father. God is love – John said that. Our father is love. Love should overshadow us because we ourselves are loved. Verse 16.

16 We know love by this, that He laid down His life for us; and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren. 17 But whoever has the world’s goods, and sees his brother in need and closes his heart against him, how does the love of God abide in him?

 And this love is not only an emotion. It is a love that is seen and felt through actions. It’s easy to say, “I love you”, right? But to actually prove it? Actions and time will tell. That’s why in verse 18 it says:

 18 Little children, let us not love with word or with tongue, but in deed and truth.

I know it’s not easy. Love with word or tongue is easy, but love in deed and truth is sometimes hard. You may say: “That’s easy! I love my family. I love my family at home and I love my family in the church. I can do that!”

And that’s something that we are always encouraging people to do! Toward your earthly family, you can show love to your parents by helping out with household chores, try contributing to the expenses and honor them by appreciating them and saying “I love you” to them. To your siblings, you can spend time with them, talk to them, pray with them and minister with them. Towards your spiritual family, you can encourage them in their walk and you try to be with them whenever they need help.

Loving the people who are close to you and who loves you back is easy. That why it says in Luke 6:32

If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them.

But here is the challenge friends, the really test of love is this.

Luke 6:27-36

27 “But I say to you who hear, love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, 28 bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. 29 Whoever hits you on the cheek, offer him the other also; and whoever takes away your coat, do not withhold your shirt from him either. 30 Give to everyone who asks of you, and whoever takes away what is yours, do not demand it back. 31 Treat others the same way you want them to treat you. 32 If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. 33 If you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners do the same. 34 If you lend to those from whom you expect to receive, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners in order to receive back the same amount. 35 But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High; for He Himself is kind to ungrateful and evil men. 36 Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.

Take note of verse 35 and 36, who are you to follow as an example? Who are you to resemble? Isn’t in your father?

Friends, you are to love your enemies. Do not avoid them. Do not slander them but love them. Kill them with kindness. The moment that they realize and see the change and they wonder why you are doing this, may they see that you resemble your Father and you love them because of the love that you have from Jesus Christ.

16 We know love by this, that He laid down His life for us; and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.

But know this, John’s challenge to love “with actions and in truth” {v. 18) can leave any of us feeling as though we don’t measure up. John is quick to point out that, even if we feel condemned at times, we can be assured that “God is greater than our hearts” (v. 20).

19 We will know by this that we are of the truth, and will assure our heart before Him 20 in whatever our heart condemns us; for God is greater than our heart and knows all things. 21 Beloved, if our heart does not condemn us, we have confidence before God; 22 and whatever we ask we receive from Him, because we keep His commandments and do the things that are pleasing in His sight.

He is pleased when He sees that we truly want to please Him. His compassion is greater than His condemnation, His hand of mercy holds back the arrows of His wrath. King David, for example, disobeyed God in obvious ways and yet was known as a man after God’s own heart! (1Samuel 13:14).

It may be hard to do at time. It may be hard to fight sin and love other people but this is his command? Verse 23.

23 This is His commandment, that we believe in the name of His Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, just as He commanded us. 24 The one who keeps His commandments abides in Him, and He in him. We know by this that He abides in us, by the Spirit whom He has given us.

 Friends, abide. Abide in Christ that you may resemble the Father. Take note of the relationship that you have and soak yourself in with that reality. When life, seems to be tough and sin is just lurking around, remember you are his child. When it’s hard to love some people, remember the love that was showed to you in Christ. Just abide friends. Remain in his love. 1 John 3:16

See how great a love the Father has bestowed on us, that we would be called children of God; and such we are.

What the Bible says about Prayer

Matthew 6:5-13

5 “When you pray, you are not to be like the hypocrites; for they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and on the street corners so that they may be seen by men. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full. 6 But you, when you pray, go into your inner room, close your door and pray to your Father who is in secret, and you’re Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you.

7 “And when you are praying, do not use meaningless repetition as the Gentiles do, for they suppose that they will be heard for their many words. 8 So do not be like them; for your Father knows what you need before you ask Him.

9 “Pray, then, in this way:

‘Our Father who is in heaven,
Hallowed be Your name.
10 ‘Your kingdom come.
Your will be done,
On earth as it is in heaven.
11 ‘Give us this day our daily bread.
12 ‘And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.
13 ‘And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from evil.

For yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.’

 

Let’s start with verse 5:

“When you pray, you are not to be like the hypocrites…

This verse would help us establish that there is a possibility that we would act like the hypocrites during that time. And the next couple of words would help us see what are the things they were doing wrong with regard to prayer during Jesus’ time. What did they do?

5…for they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and on the street corners so that they may be seen by men. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full.

Let me just give you a brief background to appreciate better what was happening during that time. Because there were certain rituals or practices that the people needed to follow and be aware of.

The Shema consists of three Pentateuch passages (Deuteronomy 6:4-9; 11:13-21; Numbers 15:37-41) and basically it starts with Deuteronomy 6:4 which is “Hear, O Israel! The Lord is our God, the Lord is one! This is a prayer that needs to be recited twice every day – during mornings and evenings.

The Tefillah prayer which was later called “Amidah” which means standing, indicating the kind of posture that should be used while praying. This was also called Shemoneh Esreh. Shemoneh Esreh literally means eighteen. It was eighteen blessings and divided into three categories: praise, petitions and thanks. For example: Prayer 3 (The Holiness of God’s Name) - “You are holy and your Name is holy, and your holy ones praise You every day. Blessed are you, Adonai, the God who is holy.” Another example: Prayer 9 (An appeal for a prosperous year) - “Bless for us, Adonai our God, this year and it’s crops. Grant us a blessing on the eart. Satify us from Thy bounty and bless our years like other good years. Blessed are You, O Lord, Who blesses the years.” Now this was most probably what was happening when this was said in verse 5 “they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and on the street corners”? Because they had to cite this prayer three times a day, one in the morning, one in the afternoon and one in the evening. Plus take note of this where ever you are, when it was time, you have to stop and do this.

And how where were they taking advantage of this situation?

5 “When you pray, you are not to be like the hypocrites; for they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and on the street corners so that they may be seen by men. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full.

For they love to stand and pray where? In the synagogues and on the street corners.

For what? To be seen by men. For people and not for God.

Showing yourself as pious during that time was to be identified like the Pharisees during that time. They want to be seen and praised for their so called acts of righteousness.

Because they had to cite this three times a day and whereever they are, they have to stop and pray, they ensured that during those specific times they would be in a place where there were people who would see them and commend them.

There was an issue about their pride and what was Jesus telling them to do instead in verse 6?

But you, when you pray, go into your inner room, close your door and pray to your Father who is in secret, and you’re Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you.

Go into your inner room – be alone this is only between you and the Lord. You shouldn’t desire the approval and praise of man. Only God should be your ultimate focus.

6 But you, when you pray, go into your inner room, close your door and pray to your Father who is in secret, and you’re Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you.

Close your door so no one will disturb you. It should be a time where there will be no distractions – an intimate time between you and the Lord.

6 But you, when you pray, go into your inner room, close your door and pray to your Father who is in secret, and you’re Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you.

Pray to your Father who is in secret means pray to your father in private. Allow it to be a time where it is just between you and the Lord.

But then again, there can still be something wrong despite this setup. Even if you are in your inner room, you can view prayer as dependent on your number of words and time spent in it. Look at verse 7.

7 “And when you are praying, do not use meaningless repetition as the Gentiles do, for they suppose that they will be heard for their many words.

They had a wrong view of what prayer is because they thought that the longer they prayed the more effective it will be. They used repetitive words just to ensure that their prayers would be long.

So if they want to pray for an hour they can cite these words over and over again and if they even want to extend it they just have to endure and repeat those words again.

For example if they use Shemoneh Esreh and Prayer 9:

“Bless for us, Adonai our God, this year and it’s crops. Grant us a blessing on the eart. Satify us from Thy bounty and bless our years like other good years. Blessed are You, O Lord, Who blesses the years.”

They can spent more than an hour repeating these words in hope that the Lord will give them a prosperous year.

The logic behind this is this, they are hoping that God would just get tired of their continuous prayers and would just answer them. But what this Jesus say?

8 So do not be like them; for your Father knows what you need before you ask Him.

You do not need to repeat this words over and over again because God already knows what you will be praying for. Just like what David said in Psalm 139:1-4

1 O Lord, You have searched me and known me.
2 You know when I sit down and when I rise up;
You understand my thought from afar.
3 You scrutinize my path and my lying down,
And are intimately acquainted with all my ways.
4 Even before there is a word on my tongue,
Behold, O Lord, You know it all.

And then He taught his disciples how to pray in verse 9

9 “Pray, then, in this way:

‘Our Father who is in heaven,
Hallowed be Your name.
10 ‘Your kingdom come.
Your will be done,
On earth as it is in heaven.
11 ‘Give us this day our daily bread.
12 ‘And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.
13 ‘And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from evil. [For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.’]

Notice the depth and intimacy in the prayer as you start with:

  • Praise Him (v9)
  • Acknowledging His will to be done not yours (V10)
  • Acknowledge Him as your source of needs (v11)
  • Acknowledge Him as your source of forgives and deliverance (v12)

Because as we approach him in prayer it’s important for us to understand our place first. He is God and we are not. He is not just anyone that can give us whatever we like to ask

With this is in mind allow me we share two simple application points on what prayer is based on these verse.

Application

  1. Prayer is to communion with God
  2. Prayer is centralized on God

Number 1, Prayer is to communion with God.

I need to go back to verse 8 because I don’t know if you’ve asked the question: “if the Lord already knows what I need then why do I need to pray?”

8 So do not be like them; for your Father knows what you need before you ask Him.

Because if you would think like this what does this show you? What you will be getting in your prayer is much more important than the act itself.

But the act it indeed important why?

Because the Father wants you to approach him and from your heart acknowledge what you need, your desires or what you feel because this will show your relationship to him.

He already know what you want. But when from your heart you acknowledge and still pour out your soul to him you are establishing how much you know God.

When you pour out your heart to him you are showing him how you know him. Your prayer life will be an indicator of your relationship with the Lord.

If you are hesitant to say what you need then you might have not firmly establish that God can provide and care of you.

Philippians 4:19

And this same God who takes care of me will supply all your needs from his glorious riches, which have been given to us in Christ Jesus.

If you have something big that you are envisioning and you are doubting to pray about it – maybe you haven’t establish that the Lord can do the impossible.

Luke 1:37

For nothing is impossible with God.

If you are hesitant to pray because that Lord might be busy with other things you might not have really believe that He is not a God far away but a God near by

PSALM 66:19-20

19 But God did listen!
He paid attention to my prayer.
20 Praise God, who did not ignore my prayer
or withdraw his unfailing love

If you are not comfortable sharing the deepest part of your live then maybe you have not known that he care for everything that is going on in your life

1 Peter 5:7

Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you.

David always communion with God and has honest with everything that he felt with the Lord. Because he knew his God. He knew he cannot hide anything from him and that he wants to unload all of his concern, problems, doubts and feelings to the Lord.

Psalm 54 – A psalm of David, regarding the time the Ziphites came and said to Saul, “We know where David is hiding.” To be accompanied by stringed instruments.

1 Come with great power, O God, and rescue me!
Defend me with your might.
2 Listen to my prayer, O God.
Pay attention to my plea.
3 For strangers are attacking me;
violent people are trying to kill me.
They care nothing for God. Interlude

4 But God is my helper.
The Lord keeps me alive!
5 May the evil plans of my enemies be turned against them.
Do as you promised and put an end to them.

6 I will sacrifice a voluntary offering to you;
I will praise your name, O Lord,
for it is good.
7 For you have rescued me from my troubles
and helped me to triumph over my enemies.

And there is really no other simple way to explain this but if you want to build a relationship with someone you communicate. Prayer is your communication to the Lord

So if we want to develop an intimate relationship with God it is to communication with him daily.

1 Thessalonians 5:17 – pray without ceasing

Where ever you are pray. Driving or Commuting. Office or Meetings. Eating or Having Coffee. Walking or Working out. Using the computer or ipad.

Just talk to him. Prayer is your direct access to God. Prayer is for him and if there is any pressing concern then pray to Him so that He may answer it and that he may be glorified.

Number 2, Prayer is centralized on God.

Prayer is not for you. It is not to get the things that we want or the things that we ask for. Prayer is a worship for the Lord. That when you come to him in prayer you want to talk to him and be with him – not because you want to get what you prayed for.

The Lord’s Prayer show us that, prayer is supposed to be focused on Him alone:

9 “Pray, then, in this way:

Our Father who is in heaven,
Hallowed be Your name.
10 ‘Your kingdom come.
Your will be done,
On earth as it is in heaven.
11 ‘Give us this day our daily bread.
12 ‘And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.
13 ‘And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from evil.

For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.’

Look at those words highlighted. This prayer has been centralized on God alone. That the Lord is the ultimate source of everything and our prayer is too focused on Him and not on us.

Sometimes, we just really have the tendency to focus our prayers to ourselves. As imperfect human beings we have that tendency.

Who is the first person that you are concerned for? Isn’t it you most of the time?

When you listen to your prayers, what will your prayers sound like? Is it more what you want to happen?

Again, prayer is centralized on God. As John McArthur has said:

“Prayer is first and foremost an act of Worship”

The answer to your prayer will not be what you asked for but the answer will just be the Lord. Prayer is not the answer but the approach for the answer. What do I mean?

When we do pray for financial assistance and he provides – there we get to know a God who can provide no matter the circumstance. When we’re praying for a relationship to be restore and it does – there we get to know that God can soften any heart and can work miracles. When we’re praying for direction and he leads us – there we get to know God as our shepherd. When our prayers don’t get answer – there we learn to develop our faith and trust that God know best and He is in control

You see friends, prayer is centralized on God that in the end – He may be glorified. It should bring us closer to him and be more intimate with him. But again you need to spend time in prayer.

You need to give time to prayer and not just feel it is a ritual you have to do every morning or evening but daily as you go through life, you want to talk to him and communion with him.

In summary,

  1. Prayer is to communion with God
  2. Prayer is centralized on God

Friends, it is a privilege to pray. Only through what Jesus Christ has done for us can we pray. Develop that intimate prayer life that you may be able to experience the Lord in your life.

Lift up your prayers to him that He may answer you according to the goodness of his perfect will and when it’s answer allow that experience to change your life.

Allow the answer to always be reciprocated in praise to Him.

And as He continuously answers your prayer allow the truths in His word to be confirmed in your heart that indeed he is a God who is faithful, gracious and loving. A God who is near and not far.

Let me ask you this questions:

  • How is your prayer life?
  • Are you praying without ceasing?
  • Is it drawing you nearer to him?
  • Is your prayer life revolving around you?
  • Are you focusing your prayer on him that in the end all you want is for Him to be glorified, no matter what that means?

Take this time to pray. I know He wants to talk to you. I know He wants to spend time with you.

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