Part 4, The Anatomy of a True Church
Matthew 6:9-13, Luis Cruz, GCF Durham
Martin Luther King, Jr., “To be a Christian without prayer is no more possible than to be alive without breathing.” (Goodread.com) We are again borrowing from Paul’s analogy of the human body as we think of church. Prayer is like a pair of lungs. As our lungs separate the oxygen from the air and expelling carbon dioxide in a rhythmic fashion, so must be the function of prayer in the body of Christ.
As we go through life, biblical prayer allows us to discern the will of God (oxygen) from all the secular worldview, expelling and rejecting sin in our lives (carbon dioxide) in the process. That said, prayer is important in maintaining a healthy church and growing it according to God’s design. Without prayer, the body will lose its vibrancy and will die soon. No wonder, Jesus taught his disciples the very foundation of prayer – The Lord’s prayer. It is a model prayer meant to inform how we see God, His Kingdom, the world and how we live as disciples.
1.Prayer is the outcome of our relationship with Christ.
“In this manner, therefore, pray: Our Father in heaven hollowed be your name,” Matthew 6:9
•Jesus taught His disciples how to pray.
•One must begin and depend on Jesus to give utmost respect to God’s name.
•Biblical prayer and the Word of God are inseparable.
•Sacred names of God in the Bible, e.g. Elohim and El Shaddai
•Meant to reveal His nature and character.
•His will is for people to revere and fully respect His name.
•Trust and obedience are required to show utmost respect.
•Impossible to do without Jesus. C.f., John 15:5
2.Prayer aligns us to the will of God.
“10 Your kingdom come. Your will be done, On earth as it is in heaven.” Matthew 6:10.
•At present, the will of God is for Him to reign in our hearts through Jesus.
•In the future, Jesus will come back again to physically reign on earth.
•The will of God is for His disciples to have passion for the kingdom’s work (gospel proclamation). C.f. 2 Peter 3:9.
3.Prayer teaches us to depend on God.
“11 Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors.” Matthew 6:11-12.
•The church depends on God’s grace.
•The grace for provisions to expand God’s kingdom.
•As physical bread gives energy, so is prayer giving spiritual vitality.
•Vibrant churches are the result of vibrant prayer lives.
•God directs His church.
•God gives passion to proclaim there is forgiveness in Christ.
•God’s kingdom expands as people repent, receive forgiveness and submit to Jesus’ lordship.
4.Prayer gives inner strength to fight the devil.
13 And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one. For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.”
•Jesus modeled fasting and praying when He was tempted by the devil.
•Jesus overwhelmed the devil with the Word of God.
•Thus, prayer is a very important spiritual discipline.
•A prayer that completely trusts God and pursues obedience to His word can help us in our daily struggles.
•It is the answer to stress and depression.
•Prayer must not be the last resort but the primary response to difficulties.
So, here is my challenge to everyone:
•Pray that you will have the passion to live for Christ.
•Ask Jesus to give you the passion to pray every day.
•Pray for opportunities to share the gospel.
•Join the prayer gathering on Sunday, 2:30 pm.