How to Pray – The Lord’s Prayer

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“Our Father Who is 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,
Forgive us our trespasses,
As we forgive those who trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation,
But deliver us from evil,
For Yours is the kingdom,
And the power,
And the glory, forever”
As Christ-followers, how do we learn to pray?  Jesus’ disciples asked, “Lord, teach us – to pray.”  And He did 2 things.  First, He gave them cautions. Don’t pray to impress people. Talk with God.  Second, don’t pray to impress God – thinking your prayers have to be lengthy or worded just right. He’s your Father and He loves you.  So just talk with Him.  And as for What to Pray, Jesus gave us ‘a pattern’ to use. We call it The Lord’s Prayer and it’s found in Matthew 6. So first, memorize it. Then use it as it was intended. You pray one phrase, then add your own words. Pray the next phrase, then share your heart on that topic. It may be a sentence or two, or more. Just pray as you are inspired by God’s Spirit. Here’s a brief example of how I pray, if that would help you.  Our Father Who is in heaven = I love you Lord. Thank you for loving me. Thank you that heaven is my eternal home.  Hallowed be Your name = I praise You Lord. You are Great, and I worship You. (Sometimes, I sing a song here.) Your kingdom come, Your will be done on earth, as it is in heaven= May Your will be done in my life today. (I pray for people and situations that come to mind, that God’s will is done. Give us this day our daily bread = Lord, I trust You to meet my needs today. (I’ll lift up a need and ask God to meet it.)  Direct me; provide for me; give me Your peace of mind… Forgive us our trespasses = Lord, show me if I’ve sinned. (I pause here and if God brings something to mind, I confess it and thank God for forgiving me.)  As we forgive those who trespass against us = Father, I forgive anyone who has hurt me or someone I care about. “I forgive them in Jesus’ Name.”  And lead us not into temptation = Lord, don’t let the enemy lead me astray, away from you, into sin. But deliver us from evil =  Lord, protect me from the devil and his schemes. (I may rehearse the 6 pieces of armor in Ephesians 6.)  For Yours is the kingdom = You rule my life today.  And the power = Fill me Holy Spirit. Empower me to live a holy life.  You are the strength of my life.  And the glory, forever = Lord, be glorified in my life today. Amen. I usually pray through it each morning. It sets my heart on the Lord and prepares me for the day. Throughout the day, I pray as I am led.  May the Lord teach us to pray!

Our Father Who is in heaven = I love you Lord. Thank you for loving me. Thank you that heaven is my eternal home. 
Hallowed be Your name = I praise You. You are great and I worship You.
Your kingdom come, Your will be done on earth, as it is in heaven = May Your will be done in my life today, and the lives of others.
Give us this day our daily bread = I trust You to meet my needs today, and the needs of others.
Forgive us our trespasses =  Where I have sinned, I confess it. Thank you for forgiving me.
As we forgive those who trespass against us = I forgive anyone who has hurt me or someone I love. “I forgive them in Jesus’ Name.” 
And lead us not into temptation = Don’t let the enemy lead me astray, away from you, into sin.
But deliver us from evil=  Protect me from the devil and his schemes.
For Yours is the kingdom = You rule my life today. 
And the power = Fill me Holy Spirit. Empower me to live a holy life.  You are the strength of my life. 
And the glory, forever = Be glorified in my life today.

Expository Preaching / Expositional Teaching

I’ve often been asked why I preach through books of the Bible in our Sunday Services. First, I believe it is the most effective way for Christians to learn the Bible. If I select verses or passages from different books of the Bible each week, the flow and meaning of that book, chapter, or a story can be missed. Going verse by verse through a book assures that all verses are covered, a variety of topics are taught (even those ‘uncomfortable’ ones), and the author’s original intents for writing are not missed.

If you will allow me, here are seven qualities of authentic expository preaching gleaned from definitions of various writers through the generations.  This article is Adapted from 12 Essential Skills for Great Preaching by Wayne McDill (B&H Publishing Group, 2018)

  1. In expository preaching the preacher’s first aim is to discover the writer’s intended theological meaning in the selected text.We preachers tend to search the Bible for a sermon. We hope for something to leap out at us that will preach. But a program of expository preaching calls for the preacher to aim for a clear understanding of the text writer’s meaning. Only out of that theological message can he properly preach an expository sermon.
  2. Expository preaching is when the preacher seeks to let the text speak again through the sermon with the same theological message.God intentionally had the original message declared; now he wants it to be preached again. The universal and timeless message clothed in the historical garb of the original writing is the message the preacher is to declare to the contemporary audience. He interprets that same truth from the text to his audience.
  3. The preacher of expository sermons discovers the meaning of the text through a careful exegetical analysis of the text in all its particulars.The expository preacher comes to the text like a detective to a crime scene. He studies it for every clue to the meaning. The clues in the text are the words of the text writer. We know what he intended to say by what he wrote, but the details can easily be overlooked to the casual observer. The expositor will look carefully at every detail for what it indicates about the writer’s message.
  4. Expository preaching calls for careful consideration of the contexts in which the text was originally written.Interpreting a text calls for a serious look at the literary context, the chapters and verses before and after the text, as well as the other writing of the author and the entire canon. Beyond that is the historical context of the original writing, including the local culture, politics, economic conditions, and other such factors. The original setting of the text not only shapes the message but takes part in it.
  5. An expository sermon is organized with due consideration to the structure and genre of the selected passage.Basically the text writer’s treatment of his subject sets the pattern for the preacher’s sermon structure. The type of literature the text represents should affect the preacher’s sermon design as well. We should always tell the story when preaching a narrative text, though we will do more. The purpose of exhortative texts and teaching texts should be reflected in the purpose of the sermon.
  6. The expository preacher will seek to influence the audience through the use of the rhetorical elements common to persuasion.By definition a sermon is a persuasive speech. The preacher’s aim is to persuade the audience with the truth of his message and what they should do about it. We normally persuade by explaining, illustrating, arguing, and applying. These elements provide a balance for supporting material for sermon ideas and allow the preacher to expose the text meaning for the contemporary audience.
  7. Expository preaching aims for a response of faith and obedience to the biblical truth on the part of the audience.The overarching aim of preaching is to call for a faith response in the hearer. The text writers believed what they wrote and communicated it in order that others might believe and obey. The preacher keeps this faith aim in mind from the first look at the text to the final design of his sermon. The sermon should be God-centered to point the hearer to the trustworthy object of his faith.

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