Sermon Series “Pray Like This”

Six week series studying prayer, focusing on the Lord’s Prayer.

Video MessageResources
Week 1:
How Not to Pray
Monday Memo notes

Praying this Week
So let’s heed what we learned yesterday and allow it to shape our prayer lives this week…
– When you pray this week, keep it brief. Don’t pile up a lot of words. 
– When you pray, remind yourself not to hide anything from God. Don’t try to put your best foot forward, don’t fake it. 
– If you’re praying with other Christians, don’t pray any differently than you would if you were praying alone. 
– Before you pray, remind yourself that God already knows what you need and is more than willing to give you what’s best and most timely (in fact, it may already be happening before you ever thought to pray about it). So spend more time in prayer asking for eyes to see and a heart ready to embrace God’s help that’s on the way instead of pleading for it. 
– Pray less to inform or coerce God and more to connect with Him relationally. 
– Go into every prayer, however short, assuming that God will want you to respond actively – with some specific change of heart, a concrete step, a willingness to love or forgive, a new endeavor, etc. Go into prayer with the notion that it is how God speaks to and directs us, not merely how we speak to Him.
Week 2: Our Holy Father in Heaven
Monday Memo notes

Praying this Week
Use what you heard yesterday, or reviewed above to shape your prayer this week: 
– You might recall Pastor Chris saying that the opening phrases of the Lord’s Prayer very clearly find their origin in an ancient Jewish prayer known as the Kaddish. If you like weaving written prayers into your own prayer life, maybe use the first half of the Kaddish this week, which sounds a whole lot like the first lines of the Our Father prayer: “May the great Name of God be exalted and declared to be holy throughout the world, which He has created according to His will. May His Kingship be established in your lifetime and in your days, and in the lifetime of the entire household of God’s people, swiftly and in the near future; and say amen! May His great name be blessed, forever and ever.”
– Pray as much for others as you do yourself. Everything you pray for yourself, pray for someone else too, maybe even someone quite different from you or someone you don’t understand/like. 
– Be intentional to pray to God as “father/parent/mother” this week. You can even imagine that every time you pray, you are like a child running into the room to talk to a loving Mom or Dad, or like the Prodigal Son making his way home to his ecstatic father. 
– Go into prayer expecting it to be a little Exodus for you. Prayer is when and how God as our Parent rescues us and points us to new life. 
– As described in the sermon summary, try praying with your eyes open, not closed, and marvel at the everywhere God is. 
– Every time you pray this week, include a prayer of commitment – namely, a prayer that you want to live in such a holy way that God’s name is seen as holy through you. 
– To that end, you could choose to pray the Shema (Deut. 6.4-5) as your prayer of commitment daily: “The Lord is our God, the Lord alone. And as for me, I will love the Lord my God with all my heart, soul, and strength.” 
Week 3:
Your Kingdom and Will

Monday Memo notes

Praying This Week
– To pray for God’s Kingdom to come and His will to be done is a prayer of commitment. So work into your prayer life a daily prayer that is your own way of expressing that sentiment. You can think of it as your own “pledge of allegiance” to God’s kingdom and will over and above anyone or anything else. 
– These two phrases express a tension: on the one hand, our world and all its particulars demonstrate in terrible clarity that God’s Kingdom has not come in full, but on the other hand, because God the King is faithful, it will. Try to include both deeply-felt lament and earnest hope in your prayer this week. An even more specific practice would be to split time evenly between the two.  
– Practice the sequence implied in that phrase “God’s will be done” (as N. T. Wright suggests in his book on The Lord’s Prayer): first, yield your own will to God (submit or subordinate yourself to Him), and then, second, from that humble posture ask God to change you and propel you out into your world to act as He directs. 
– Two very short prayers you can weave into your daily prayer, or use them multiple times a day to pull you back to God who is your Center: “God, not me and mine, but You and Yours” and “God, Your will – nothing more, nothing less, nothing else.” 
Week 4: Our Daily Bread
Monday Memo notes

Praying This Week
Give it shot this week – put into practice what we talked about yesterday: 
– For those who asked for it, here’s the Lord’s Prayer from the First Nations Translation of the Bible, used during yesterday’s service: “O great Spirit, our Father from above, we honor Your name as sacred and holy. Bring Your good road to us, where the beauty of Your ways in the spirit-world above is reflected in the earth below. Provide for us day by day all that we need. Release us from the things we have done wrong, and in the same way help us release others from the wrong they’ve done to us. Guide us away from the things that tempt us to stray from Your good road, and set us free from evil and its worthless ways. Amen! May it be so!”
– This prayer from “Liturgies From Below” could be useful as a way to pray about your specific needs or hunger day by day, whatever form they might take: “Hunger for justice, hunger for care, hunger for a better life, hunger to be listened to, hunger for peace, hunger for happiness, hunger for enough, hunger for stability – deep down, we each have a hunger for life, and true life only begins with You, oh God, amen.” 
– Only focus your prayer on the needs of the current day (not yesterday, not tomorrow, not the more distant future).
– Spend time reflecting on what you lack or that for which you hunger in your life right now. Let that need – perhaps relational, psychological, or spiritual – motivate your prayer. 
– At least once this week spend time in prayer (or journaling) about all that you need God to do for you that you cannot provide for yourself. Lean into the idea of living a dependent, trusting life. 
– Pray as much about the multi-faceted needs of others, friends and strangers, near and far, as you do your own. 
– Listen attentively for the nudge of God’s Spirit when you lift up the needs of others; in fact, expect God to prompt you to do something for them to meet that need.
Week 5: Forgiven and Forgiving
Monday Memo notes

Praying This Week
This week, most of the ways you can try praying are listed in the sermon summary: 
– You can be bold in approaching God’s ready forgiveness
– You can get real about the enormous weight you carry and need God to release you from
– You can spend time at least once a week asking God who you need to forgiven and release from the weight of what they’ve done to you. And when you do this, you can remind yourself that you’re really not that different from them – everyone, including you, needs forgiveness. 
– Pray about the choice and process of forgiving, starting on the path of forgiveness and then staying on it. Be specific about the who and what. 
– Pray both halves of the forgiveness cycle. For those who know the simple practice of breathing prayer, you can literally do what’s written about in point 3 of the sermon summary above: with your inhale, imagine breathing in God’s forgiveness for you and all you’ve done/not done, and then with the exhale, ask to forgive others – or a specific someone – the same way.
Week 6: Temptation and Evil
Monday Memo notes

Praying This Week
1) We will include a full summary of all the prayer prompts for the entire series in this week’s Midweek Minute on Thursday. Keep an eye out for that. 
2) In case you’d like to use it this week, here’s the paraphrase we used of the Lord’s Prayer we used yesterday – from Rev. Rex A. E. Hunt (Australian pastor and ecologist)
“God, lover of us all, most holy one. Help us respond to You as readily as You respond to us. Do Your good work of renewal in us, across our world, and in the universe. Give us today enough for our needs. Forgive our weak and deliberate offenses, just as we must forgive others when they hurt us. Help us resist wickedness and do what is good; rescue us when we are overcome by temptation and evil. For we are Yours, and You are ours. You will reign forever, this is our joy and hope, amen.”
3) Pray humbly this week – when you feel close to collapsing, on the verge of crumbling, or overwhelmed by worry, anger, or sadness, offer that up to God in prayer and ask Him to lead you through it.
4) When you are pained by evil – either your own thoughts, feelings, and indiscretions, or in the lives and world around you – pause to ask God to deliver you from it, because you – and we – can’t rescue ourselves. 
5) If you feel as if you’re in a time of testing, lean heavily on God every day to lead you through, because you can’t do it alone. 
6) A simple prayer of dependence (from Re:Worship): “Lord, I need you in every hour of every day. I depend upon you in all ways and in all times. I pray in expectation and remain watchful for how you will be at work in my own heart and life. You are able to do above and beyond all that I can think to ask, amen.