Support us on Paypal
Contact Us
Watch 2022-2023 online sermons » Allen Jackson » Allen Jackson - The Lord's Prayer

Allen Jackson - The Lord's Prayer

Allen Jackson - The Lord's Prayer
TOPICS: Let's Pray, Lord's Prayer

Prayer in your life and mine is powerful. We wanna stop saying, "I don't pray, I can't pray. I'm too busy to pray. I don't know how to pray". Let's simply say, "Lord, I would like to learn to pray". And I wanna give you a response and I shared it with you last week. It's something of a new life response. And my prayer, no pun intended, is that it catch on and that it becomes so widespread that it's far more present in Middle Tennessee than Jesus's Lord magnets. I pray it changes the way that you interact with people. It's a little phrase, I gave it to you last weekend: "Let's pray". Can you say it with me? On three, let's say it with some enthusiasm, all right? One, two, three. You're warming up. And it's a simple phrase, you don't need a Greek word study or a Hebrew alphabet or any scholarly approach.

It's a simple little response, and it'll fit into the portfolio of your life really simply if you'll allow it to. I wanna take just a minute with it again. It's so important. This isn't a one-time thing. We'll have to live with this, to let it take root in our heart. We are social creatures. God made us that way. We interact with one another. You have this morning, you've chatted with people that are seated near you, you talked to people in the lobby, somebody greeted you. There's also you fought somebody for a cupcake, all kinds of things have happened since you've come to church today. And in the course of your normal day in your normal... there are dozens and dozens of people that bump into your life, some in person, some electronically, some with texts and tweets and social media posts and all kinds of way that we communicate.

And when they do that, people are talking to you. They're giving you little windows into their lives, little insights into who they are. "Good morning, how are you"? "I'm not doing very well. The kids were sick all night". And if you grew up in the South, we have a whole menu of little phrases that polite people use when we meet one another, don't we? "How are you today"? We don't care. We don't really intend for you to answer. We just grew up in the South and if we didn't say that, we got whooped. So we have this façade of politeness, but it creates all these interactions for us, and people are talking to you about their life. "How you doing this morning"? "Traffic on I-24 was awful". "I agree, traffic on I-24 will make the preacher cuss".

I mean, not this one, but... I drive Murfreesboro Road. But when people bump your life that way, you're used to responding to them almost mindlessly, "Ah, I'm sorry your kids weren't well," "Yeah, traffic's awful. It always is, you know". "Who you got in the game today"? You know, just all this chatter. In my mind, I think of them as empty words, hundreds and hundreds of them we use every day, they're just a part of the social interface. There's not really much thought attached to them, very little intent attached to them. They're the vocal equivalent of empty calories. You know, if you don't watch yourself, you'll consume hundreds of calories in a day that have no nutritional value whatsoever. Beverages and, you know, and then you've blown your calorie count through the roof but you haven't got any nutrition out of it. You just get fluffy.

Well, you can do the same thing with your words. You can use all kinds of words in the course of your day that really have no intent attached to them, no benefit really coming from 'em. You're just kind of spending your words. I wanna make a suggestion. When you have these little interfaces at work, at home, at the grocery store, when you're purchasing gasoline, at Home Depot, wherever you're going, and somebody gives you that little window of interface, here's your response: "Let's pray". Let's pray. "My kids were sick last night". Oh, let's pray. "I got a load I gotta haul all the way to Kentucky and it's raining". Let's pray. "I'm behind. This is my third delivery and everybody's had questions I don't know if I'm gonna get to my..." Let's pray. "This is a really hard procedure. I hope you don't have any complications". Let's pray. "We're behind on the budget. I don't know what..." Let's pray, let's pray.

Now, here's the key. When you say, "Let's pray," the very next thing I want you to suggest you do, is drop your head and begin a prayer. Don't say to them, "Would it be okay if I prayed for you"? Now you've given them the power to shut you down, all right? Let's just pray. And when you say that, you drop your head. They may be reading, they may be texting, they may be looking at the birds, but you're getting ready to pray. And with one sentence, you only get one sentence. Don't you swell up like a preacher, all right? This is a one-sentence. This is a spiritual hors d'oeuvre. This is the equivalent of a spiritual hit and run. One sentence. "How are you"? "I'm not great, I didn't sleep good last night. I don't feel good". "God, give us your strength today in Jesus' name, amen". "How you doing"? "I'm not doing great. I don't like it when it rains". "God, let your light brighten our day in Jesus' name, amen".

Just one sentence. Don't quote a verse, don't bring them a CD of the sermon. Don't hand him a tract. Don't talk to him about your moral perspective on how they're living. Just "Let's pray" and a one-sentence prayer. If you pray three sentences, you're too long. And please pray in the voice that you were talking to them with before you prayed, okay? None of this superficial, "Let's pray. Oh, God..." Sometimes I think God hits Gabriel and say, "Did you just see that? Who knew Allen did voices"? Just pray in the same tone you were talking to them, one sentence. When you're done praying, this is important. Just move on. Don't wait for a response, don't look to them to say, "That was special".

You know, I grew up in the country. Don't stand there and look at them with cow eyes, as if you're expecting something to settle on them, okay? No super-spirituality, no pseudo-anything. You have said a prayer and you move on. "In Jesus' name, amen. I hope you have a great day". Just reengage your normal conversation. Now, over the course of your day, you can do that three or four or ten times. And fellas, it's important for you, too. No matter what kind of job you do, no matter what your interface with people is. We have ways that we talk to one another. When the women aren't listening, we actually talk to one another. We do. It's a secret. It's okay. When we're not there, they actually eat, so it's okay, it works both ways. But you know, if you're loading the truck and you got a delivery to make someplace else, "Hey, God, let it be a safe trip in Jesus' name, amen".

If you're starting a complicated procedure in the operating suite, "God, direct every one of us in Jesus' name, amen". If you've got a tough business decision to make, "God, we need your wisdom, amen". Just a sentence prayer and then you're gone. No attention, no focus on it, no drama, no drum roll, no crescendo. Just acknowledging God. We can do this. We know how to slip in a comment about our favorite Super Bowl team, or our favorite SEC team, or our favorite hunting spot, or when deer season opens, or whatever else you're interested in, how you like to cook barbecue the best, or whatever interests you, you slip that into your day all the time. And some of you say, "Well, you know, where I work, they don't really like us to bring spiritual things in there".

I get that. That's why I'm suggesting it's just a sentence and it's just as normal to you as saying, "Are you gonna watch the ball game today"? 'Cause I mean, technically speaking, when you go to work, they really don't want you making a personal text. They don't intend for you to look at something on the Internet that isn't work-related, ever. They really would prefer you not be compensated by them to talk to coworkers about non-work things. But all that stuff happens. So why not have the courage to just, in a sentence, bring God into the dialog? Let's pray. What would happen if thousands of us, across the communities, in the classrooms, and the courtrooms, and the corridors of the hospital, and the job sites, and the factory floors, in our neighborhoods, in our soccer fields, "Let's pray". Let's pray. It'll change our community.

1 Samuel chapter 1, we get to listen in on a prayer that a woman is praying. Her name is Hannah. Do you know Hannah? She will be the mother of Samuel. Samuel is a pivotal figure in the Scripture. Two books in the Bible bear his name: 1 and 2 Samuel. He's the last of the Judges. Samuel is the one who will ultimately anoint Saul to be king of Israel and David to be king of Israel. He's a man of tremendous influence, tremendous leadership, a pivotal character; but before Samuel's born, we're introduced to his mother, Hannah, a godly woman. When we first meet her, she is childless, and she's disappointed, discouraged, and broken. And we get to listen to her prayer. It says: "Greatly distressed, she prayed to the LORD and wept bitterly".

I hope you have the imagination that prayers can be uttered from places in your life where there's brokenness and bitterness. See, God uses us, not just in the triumphal places of our lives. But God most often, it seems to me, is present in the most vulnerable places of my life. "She made a vow and said, 'O LORD of hosts, if You will indeed look on the affliction of Your maidservant and remember me, and not forget me, but will give Your maidservant a son, then I will give him to the LORD all the days of his life.'" You know what happened? God heard her prayer. And not too long after, she conceived and gave birth to a son. You know what she did? When he was old enough to wean, she took him to the high priest, she took him to Eli, who served over the tabernacle. It was the center of Israelite worship, and she said, "This child was conceived in response to a vow to God; he must grow up here".

And she left Samuel under the care of Eli. Says that when they would make their annual pilgrimage for the holiday to the tabernacle in Shiloh, she would take clothes to the child every year. How hard would that be? I want you to feel the strength of Hannah. Now God gave her other children, but she kept her vow with Samuel. But more important with me, listen to her prayer. In verse 11, she made a vow and she said, "O Lord of hosts". It's not as clear in the English. The literal translation of that is the Lord of the Armies. When Hannah got ready to express her heart to the Lord, she didn't say, "Oh God, I know you love me so much," 'cause she needed something more than a cuddly place. She said, "You're the Lord of the armies. You're the commander, the authority, the director of all. And I need your help".

Hannah had other options. Way back in Exodus 15, hundreds of years earlier, it's a part of Israelite history, I assure you she knew it. The Lord said, "I'm Jehovah Rapha". It's the Hebrew word for physician. "I'm the Lord, your doctor". She could have prayed to the Lord her doctor and said, "Whatever's causing the lack of children, you heal me". That's not what she prayed. She could have prayed to Jehovah Jireh, the Lord my provider, and said, "Lord, you provide all things". That's not what she prayed. She said, "You're the Lord of the armies. It's all under your control".

You see, our image of God, how we imagine God, how we relate to God, will shape a great deal about how you pray to God. One of the greatest honors and privileges of your life is to approach the throne of grace. To not care enough about it to invest the time and energy suggests we don't value it. You know, we have words and language is a tool for communication. We have words that are general in scope. We talk about food. If I said, "Come to my house, we'll have food," that doesn't give you much definition. That's no incentive, is it? 'Cause I might give you all the mushrooms I don't want. Or if I say, "We have work to do, bring a tool," you don't know whether you need a chainsaw or a feather duster. It makes a difference. Said, "I would like to give you some fruit".

You don't know if you're gonna get apples or persimmons. They're all general terms. Not wicked or evil. If we say, "Let's play sports," you don't know if we're gonna shoot marbles or run a marathon. They're general terms. Well, in the same way, prayer is a general term. It lacks the specificity to know what really needs to come after that. To simply say "pray" is about as helpful as saying "food". You have the sense that there could be some nourishment, but whether it's acceptable or appropriate isn't clear. What I wanna suggest is that you and I can build a portfolio of prayers. We can learn to select the prayer for the need that is presented.

Now, we'll need God's help to do this. We can learn, but rather than simply stay on the sidelines and have one general term, "I have work to do, need tool". "Me hungry, food". That's about the level of sophistication we've had. "Have problem, pray". God would help us with more if we're willing to be learners. Look with me in your notes, Luke 11, verse 1: "One day Jesus was praying in a certain place. When he finished, one of his disciples said to him, 'Lord, teach us to pray.'" They've been with Jesus for a while. They've seen him walk on the water. They've seen him feed a multitude. They've seen him stand in a cemetery and say, "Lazarus, come here".

They've seen him stand in a boat and speak to the wind and the waves. They know prayer, they've been in synagogue and at the temple. They've heard the rabbis pray and the priests pray. They're familiar with prayer, but they've never seen anybody pray like Jesus, so they said, "Lord, could you teach us to pray? Could you teach us to get outcomes like we see you have"? Before Jesus leaves, he gives them the authority, a key. He said, "Up to this point, you haven't asked for anything in my name. From here on, use my name," he says. But on this day, when they say, "Lord, teach us to pray," he answers them. "He said, 'When you pray, say: "Father, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come".'" He goes on to give them the Lord's Prayer, the "Our Father". I brought it to you, I wanna just read it to you:

Our father, who art in Heaven, hallowed be your name. Your Kingdom Come. Your will be done on earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us. Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For yours is the Kingdom and the glory forever and ever amen.

How many of you ever heard that prayer before? Where the rest of you been? Probably the most-repeated prayer, in the last two millennium anyway. And one way of understanding is it's a prayer that you can repeat, you can recite it. Many of us have. Not wrong, not inappropriate, but I would suggest there's more there, that Jesus didn't just hand us a single prayer. I think he handed us a whole portfolio of ways to pray. Look back with me at that prayer. When he said, "Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be your name," holy be your name, to me, that's a prayer of praise and worship. Does it look like that to you? Our Father who's in heaven, holy is your name. Sound like praise to you?

I think Jesus began the prayer lesson by saying, "One way you need to pray is be a person who expresses praise to God". And I don't mean primarily at church when the musicians play and the vocalists sing. The Psalmist said it this way: "We enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise". We approach God with praise. It's a beginning point. So if you wanna add a little depth to your prayer file, you want a kind of prayer to pray, every day be certain that you offer expressions of praise and thanksgiving to God. When you awaken in the morning, "God, thank you for the day". Before you drift off to sleep at night, "God, thank you for sustaining me through the day". When you pull into work in the morning, "God, thank you for a place to work".

When you're sitting on I-24, "God, thank you for all these drivers interacting with me". Let praise begin to resonate from within. You say, "I'm not a verbal person". Okay, do it quietly. But don't neglect it. You can do this. We'll talk more about it. There's a second kind of prayer. He says, "Your kingdom come. Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven". Sounds like intercession to me. Jesus said, "You and I should pray, 'God, let your will be done on earth, just like it is in heaven.'" There's no personal request in that. We're saying, "God, let your will break forth here. Let your will break forth in my home. God, let your will break forth in my neighborhood. Let your will break forth in our nation".

Somebody has to care enough to pray; because if we don't pray, that door stays closed. God has invested enormous spiritual authority in you. He has. You say, "Well, I don't know how to be an intercessor". We'll learn. Jesus, if we will say, "Holy Spirit, help us learn to pray," he will help us. I would suggest to you, I think there's a connection. If you're not willing to do the "Let's pray" thing, if you're not willing to let "Let's pray" become a part of your interaction with people, why should the Creator of the Universe invest true insight and authority into your life if you're not willing to invest a sentence? So they're really, to me, there's kind of layers to this. If we're willing to let prayer become a more consistent part of our interaction with people, I fully trust the Holy Spirit to help us learn to pray more effectively. We'll see outcomes that we've never imagined possible.

Look at the third statement: "Give us this day our daily bread". Jesus said we could pray for provision. It's not presumptive or arrogant; you haven't been co-opted by the prosperity gospel. Jesus said, "Pray for God's provision," for your home, for your children, for where you work, for all the needs of our lives. We have permission. "Forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us". Every day, a prayer of repentance and a prayer of forgiveness of those we need to forgive. It's a great habit at the end of your day. Anything you need to say, "Lord, that one wasn't quite right. I'm sorry". If there's anybody you need to forgive. That person on I-24. "Lord, I pray you'll bless those other nine fingers that I didn't see this morning, in Jesus' name". "Lead us not into temptation". It's a prayer for direction. "Deliver us from evil," a prayer for deliverance.

Did you know that Jesus instructed you to learn how to pray for deliverance from unclean things, unholy things? "For yours is the kingdom and the glory forever and ever, amen". It's a yielding prayer, it's a prayer of submission. "Lord, let your kingdom come. It's your kingdom and your will, Lord, let it be done. Not mine". I don't know about you but I find yielding my will to God, that is a full-time job. I want God to do my bidding. Well, pray for me if you've got that one mastered, okay? I would submit to you that in that familiar prayer, is a whole portfolio of different types of prayer that we can develop comfort with, that we can learn to utilize.

What an exciting invitation in front of us. Jesus didn't say to the disciples, "No, you're dumb as a box of rocks. You'd never learn to do it". He didn't say, "You inconsistent bunch, you'll all deny me in a few days". He said, no, "I'll help you with this. Here you go. Here's the starter set. Don't cut yourselves. Don't run with this. Just walk". I wanna pray for you, if I may. I brought you a prayer, but I don't wanna read that one with you this morning, if you'll allow me. I'd like to pray for you, but I wanna give you an invitation, and then there's two sides. If you're willing to embrace, "Let's pray," and then you're willing to say to the Holy Spirit, "Teach me to pray," I'd like to pray for you.

How many of you would like to say that to the Lord this morning: "I would like to learn to pray beyond anything I know right now"? If that's you, just stand wherever you are, real quickly. We're gonna pray, we're gonna go. We don't wanna miss the 6-hour pre-game show. Make it stop! I'm excited about what God's doing. We're not left here alone. Jesus said, "I won't leave you like an orphan. I will send you a helper". Now, I don't know how you feel, but I'm very conscious that I need his help. I am in so far over my head. You ever had that feeling? I used to think everybody had it all together, knew how to do life. I've listened to enough people now, we're all lost. We're just trying to fool the kids 'cause they figure it out, we've got a real problem. Hallelujah.

Father, thank you for your Word. Thank you for its truth and authority. I thank you that you do love us, that you care for us. But I also thank you that you're God of the armies, that nothing intimidates you, that nothing frightens you, that nothing gives you pause. And Lord, we present ourselves today as living sacrifices to you. Holy Spirit, we ask you to help us. Help us learn to be a people who pray, give us discernment. Give us insight. Grant us understanding hearts. Give us boldness to speak your Word so that you may respond in remarkable ways in our world. We thank you for it in Jesus' name, amen.

Are you Human?:*