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SERIES: The Sermon On The Mount
TEXT: Matthew 7:1-11
MESSAGE: Learning to Pray
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Q: How is your prayer life?

“We are naturally not good at this. We need practice. Especially in the initial stages we feel uneasy, awkward, and bored…(the bible) train(s) us to pray with others who have prayed, and are praying: put our knees on the level with other bent knees; lift our hands in concert with other lifted hands; join our voices in lament and praise with other voices who weep and laugh. The Primary use of prayer is not for expressing ourselves, but in becoming ourselves, and we cannot do that alone.” – Eugene Peterson
TEXT: Matthew 7:1-11
Q: How can we learn to pray? 
 
In today’s text we see three ways. It’s when we see…(1. The Door to prayer 2. The Safety of prayer 3. The Desire for prayer)
  1. The Door to prayer (v. 1-5)
“Judge not, that you be not judged. For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you. Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is the log in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.
  • “…our Lord’s injunction to ‘judge not’ cannot be understood as a command to suspend our critical faculties in relation to other people, to turn a blind eye to their faults (pretending not to notice them)…to refuse to discern between truth and error, goodness and evil.” — John Stott
“But God is the Judge; He puts down one and exalts another.” Psalm 75:7
“What is wrong with such a man? He is looking for sins in other people, and he pounces whenever he sees one. So absorbed is he in his campaign that he is blind to the fact that he has sin in his own life that is far greater than anything he sees in the lives of others….So deeply has his sin conquered him that he has become blind to it. Sensitive to the sin in others, he has been desensitized to the sin in his own heart.” 

 Sinclair Ferguson

Matthew 5:3 — “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”

2. The Safety of prayer (v. 6-8)
“Do not give dogs what is holy, and do not throw your pearls before pigs, lest they trample them underfoot and turn to attack you. “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened.”
“But Jesus would not entrust himself to them, for he knew all people…”
— John 2:24
 
“Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed.” Mark 1:35
 
The very presence of such prayers in Scripture is a witness to (God’s) understanding. He knows how men speak when they are desperate.” — Derek Kidner
 
3. The Desire for prayer (v. 9-11)
Or which one of you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone? 10 Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a serpent? 11 If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him!”
“Sadly many of God’s children labor under the delusion that their heavenly Father extracts some malicious glee out of watching his children squirm now and then…The Christian is to remind himself often of the sheer goodness of God, and therefore the resources available to him…” 
— DA Carson
“O, let the place of secret prayer become to me the most beloved spot on earth.” – Andrew Murray
TAKEAWAYS:
* Where does prayer fit into your life?
 
“Is prayer your steering wheel or your spare tire?” – Corrie ten Boom
 
Would you be willing to lean into prayer during difficult times?
 
“After I had arrived in Ireland, I found myself pasturing flocks daily, and I prayed a number of times each day. More and more the love and fear of God came to me, and faith grew and my spirit was exercised, until I was praying up to a hundred times every day and in the night nearly as often.” — St. Patrick (Autobiography entitled “Confession”)
“Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.” — Matthew 26:39