How Not to Pray

Learn Habits To Avoid And Habits To Include In Your Daily Prayer Life

Dan Franklin
Sep 10, 2023    41m
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In Matthew chapter 8, we get instructions from Jesus on habits we should avoid and habits we should include in our daily prayer life. We learn that we don't pray to impress other people. Instead, the way that we pray is just with us and God so that we can experience union with God. Video recorded at Upland, California.

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Intro: [00:00:00] Hey there. Thanks so much for checking out one of our messages here at Life Bible Fellowship Church. And we know there are two great ways you can connect with us. You can visit our website at LBF.church to learn more about all of our ministries and what we believe. And also, you can subscribe to us on YouTube to make sure that you don't miss one of our future videos.

Brennan Shaw: [00:00:19] Good morning, church family. What a great reminder that song was of how holy King Jesus is. And he isn't just holy in this room, he isn't just holy for the rest of the day, he isn't just holy for the rest of the week, but he's holy forever and ever. Amen? Amen. My name is Brennan Shaw, I am the Exit83 Detour group leader for the 10th-grade guys, as well as I'm on the college and career group leadership team. And I will be doing the scripture reading for this morning in Matthew chapter 6, verses 5 through 8, it says this, “And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. 6But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. 7And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. 8Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him." This is God's Word. Thanks be to God.

Dan Franklin: [00:01:52] You can grab a seat. Good morning. So, man, this has already been an awesome morning as we've got to celebrate together, as we've got to especially celebrate the baptisms that we just got to see. And as we get ready for the groups that are starting back up, and as we work through some surprise rain on a very weird day, we're still going to celebrate with food afterward and have a great time. And with fall kickoff, what this also always marks is the beginning of our fall series, which each year is something that a lot of prayer and a lot of thought has gone into because it's typically tied to something that the leadership has believed that this is a movement that we believe God is doing in our midst. And so this fall, as we focus in on the subject of prayer, this is not just something that we chose lightly, but this is after a long series of prayer and thoughtfulness and discussions together about saying prayer is not a new subject to us. We've had sermons on prayer. We know that we pray together, and we pray individually. But we believe that God is leading us to really put a spotlight on the area of prayer to grow as a people, to grow as a congregation, in the area of prayer. And so some of you even noticed on the way in, you'll notice if you didn't see it on the way in, you'll see it on the way out once you exit these doors right here, if you look to the left, you'll see our new installment of a prayer wall just in the inside lobby there, where we have all kinds of things. We have statements about what we're about as we think about prayer. We've got some different write-ups like this one that I'm holding right here. We have four sorts of booklets just like this, that are giving some guidance about how we pray. So this one is about praying personally, and it just gives sort of some ideas and some passages behind it. We have a similar one of these on praying together as a household if you're looking to learn how to get prayer as a part of your family life. Praying together as a church family when we gather together. And then also one that's about prayer walks, which you'll see a whole map out there also because we are wanting to cover our entire area in prayer through gathering in small groups or with our family and just going and praying over a street or a neighborhood close to us. So we are putting the spotlight on prayer, and we're also doing that through a six-week sermon series that I'm starting today on the Lord's Prayer, called Lord Teach Us to Pray, because the Lord's Prayer is about Jesus giving us a model, sort of a structure and a template, for how we pray.

Dan Franklin: [00:04:36] And what I want to let you know that has also been part of the preparation for this, is that we spent time saying we want a phrase or a sentence that can summarize what we are after when it comes to prayer, and what we're aiming at when it comes to prayer. And the one that we came up with I'll share with you right now, it's that we pray to experience union with God. And here's what's behind this, what we celebrated with those baptisms is a profound symbolic picture of death to life, of being dead in our sins and dying to our old way of life and being raised to a new way of life. And that new way of life is not just saying now I'm going to behave differently, it's saying all of my sins are now forgiven in Jesus. I am now a child of God the Father, and according to Romans chapter 5, verse 1, I now have full access to him, full access to God, and the greatest way that we experience that access in everyday life is through prayer. I know for a lot of us, we think, well, because Jesus died for my sins, I get to go to heaven when I die. And that's true, but you know the best thing about heaven? God is there. It's not just that it's some impersonal paradise where you do whatever you want, it's that we're united with God in the way that whether or not we realize it, our hearts have always been longing for. And so as we live now, we live in the reality that we have full access to God if we've placed our faith in Jesus, we want to experience that union.

Dan Franklin: [00:06:32] So we're going to spend time this fall walking through the Lord's Prayer in Matthew chapter 6, in how he gives us a model of how to pray. But we'll actually start through that next week, this week, as you heard in the passage that Brennan read for us, we're doing the lead-up. Jesus has some things to say in the lead-up to walking through the Lord's Prayer because before he tells us how to pray, he tells us two ways not to pray. Which, you know, sometimes teachers will be like, hey, there's no such thing as a bad question. And sometimes pastors will be like, hey, there's no wrong way to pray. Turns out there actually are some wrong ways to pray. Jesus is like, don't pray like this, and he's going to give us two ways not to pray, and this is going to be instructive for us to see what prayer really is about, by contrast of what it's not about.

Dan Franklin: [00:07:27] So the first way that Jesus tells us not to pray is in verses 5 and 6, and what he tells us is don't pray to impress other people. So, in Matthew, chapter 6, verse 5, the words of Jesus, "And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites." So first things first, Jesus says, if you pray. No, it doesn't, he doesn't say if you pray. What does he say? When you pray. Do you see the significance of that? Prayer is not just an optional add-on to our lives. Jesus is saying, if you're my disciple, if you're treating me as the king, you will pray, this will be a part of your life. It's not an if you pray, here's how you do it, it's when you pray, it is meant to be a part of our lives. When you pray, don't be like the hypocrites. And hypocrites, some of you know this, originally the Greek word that's translated as hypocrite, referred to actors, actors who had put on a mask and pretended to be somebody who they weren't. And it came to mean that in a broader sense, in the way that it's used in the Bible.

Dan Franklin: [00:08:44] Quick clarification, some people use the word hypocrite way too broadly, they'll use the word hypocrite to refer to anybody who does not live up to their own ideals. That's not what a hypocrite is. Do you know what you call somebody who does not live up to their own ideals? A human. None of us live up to our own ideals, none of us actually practice what we think we should do, we all fall short. A hypocrite is not somebody who fails, that's all of us, a hypocrite is somebody who fakes, a hypocrite is somebody who puts on a show. And Jesus describes that, and he says, "Do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others." They love public prayer, they love whether it's in the synagogue where all the Jews are gathered for sort of a worship service, or whether it's in the street corners because they were living in a society where everybody, every Jewish person, to some degree or another, would acknowledge God so they can pray publicly, and it's actually a status thing. He says, Don't be like the hypocrites who are putting on a show, who are publicly praying in order for others to see them. And notice what he says at the end of verse 5, he says, "Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full." Whatever reward they were going to get from praying, they got it when they impressed other people and got accolades from them. So he says, don't pray to impress other people.

Dan Franklin: [00:10:19] Now, right now, somewhere between half and three-fourths of you are like, Dan, no problem, no problem at all, I will never pray in public again if that's what Jesus wants me to do. I am perfectly happy to never pray out loud in front of another human, no problem, I've got this one. You're like this is the easiest verse ever to apply to my life, I will never do this. Jesus here is not railing against public prayer. The people of God have always made as part of their prayer lives, prayer with one another, it's an expectation. In fact, in the Lord's Prayer later on, it's in the plural, it's our father, it's the idea that part of our prayers are when we're gathered together. So Jesus is not critiquing public prayer, he's critiquing public spectacles. And so there are some of you that are like, I don't even want to pray in front of other people because they would be so unimpressed by how I pray. And what I want you to know is like when we do the group prayer time in the services, if you're like, I don't want to pray out loud because they would be unimpressed with me, good, then you're in no danger of what Jesus is warning against here. Our prayers are not meant to impress other people, we are together speaking to God, and your prayers, one of the benefits of your prayers is that they can point other people toward God. So if people are unimpressed by your prayers, but if they direct them in some way to think about God, that's wonderful.

Dan Franklin: [00:12:05] For some of you, though, verse 5 is not so easy because you realize, yeah, when I'm in a group here at the church, or with my friends when we're praying, or with my life group, or with my Bible study, I am kind of praying to the crowd, I am kind of praying to the audience. Some of us have been around church circles long enough that we know the right words to say in the right cadence, and we can do it in a way that people are like, gosh, that guy can pray, man, she can pray, and it can be easy to take that in and to be excited about the positive affirmation that we're getting. Jesus says, that's not why you pray, you do pray with others, but you don't pray to be seen by them and to impress them.

Dan Franklin: [00:12:52] Jesus, instead, gives us the contrast in verse 6, where he says, "But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your father, who is unseen. Then your father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. And once again, Jesus isn't saying never pray with other Christians, but Jesus is pointing towards the idea that the main way that we pray is just with us in God. The biggest danger that we would have of falling into what he's warring against in verse 5 about sort of the public spectacle is if the only time you ever pray is with other people. The majority of our prayers are just us and God.

Dan Franklin: [00:13:34] Although, look at verse 6 again, he doesn't say it's us and God, it's us and who? The Father. Twice, he specifies that it is not just some obscure, distant God, it is a God who is our Father. And some of us in this room are fathers, and we're flawed fathers, we don't know everything, so sometimes we try to do the right thing, but we just get it wrong. Other times we're just selfish, we just don't want to be troubled with others. Here we have the perfect Father, because even those of us who are flawed fathers, at our best, we all know we would do anything for the good of our children. Here is a perfect Father, no selfishness, no ego whatsoever, who knows everything, that's who you're praying to. It says, go into your room and close the door. And in the first century, the typical Jewish family did not have a house where everybody had their separate room, that's not what he's talking about. Almost everybody agrees that he's talking about the storage house, that would have been a part of the home unit where they would keep the grain and maybe some of their equipment, it's the only room connected to the house that has a lock to it. So he says, go in there, get some privacy in there, go in that room, shut the door, and pray just between you and your Father.

Dan Franklin: [00:15:04] We'll talk over the course of these six weeks, we'll occasionally mention...In fact, a couple of weeks ago, we asked a lot of you to fill out a prayer survey, about 800 people at our church in different settings, filled out a short prayer survey just to help us know where people are at. And one of the things that came out of that, the last question we asked was, what are the roadblocks? What are the obstacles that are keeping you from praying more? And we gave some options and said, to click as many as apply. The biggest one by far, number one, by far, about 70% of the 800 people said that one of their biggest obstacles is I am just so distracted when I pray. I'm just so distracted when I pray. I'm just sort of like, who's that? What's she doing? What's going on over there? There's a squirrel. We're just constantly distracted by what's going on. And Jesus says, go into your room and shut the door.

Dan Franklin: [00:16:00] The book that has been, the book apart from obviously the Bible, that's been most helpful to us as elders and pastors, as we've leaned into prayer over the past couple of years in preparation for this. Is a book by a guy named Pete Greig, it's just called How to Pray. You can look this up on Amazon, and you could buy it today if you want this. It's the number one, apart from scripture, the number one resource we recommend on this. By the way, I love the subtitle to this book, it's How to Pray, and then the subtitle is A Simple Guide for Normal People. This is not a book on prayer that's for the people who are like, I'm really good at praying. It's for all of us who are like, I'm not good at praying, normal people getting guidance on this. And one of the things that Pete Greig talks about, part of his terminology is he says, find your chair. And we sort of adapted that as sort of like find your space, because it's not always a chair, he talks about that. For some of you, going into your room and shutting the door is going to be literally, hey, I have a room in our house, I can go in and I can shut the door and I can have my time with the father. For some of you, you're like, well, I share my room with a husband or with a wife or with a sibling, so I don't just have it all the time. So maybe your room will work, maybe your room won't work. Maybe your room is going to be in the backyard where you have some privacy. Maybe your room is going to be on a trail as you're walking or riding your bike. But Jesus says, get in a place where you're undistracted and just pray to your Father, and he will reward you better than any reward you get from people that you've impressed. Jesus says, don't pray to impress other people.

Dan Franklin: [00:17:42] And then he tells us another way not to pray in verses 7 and 8, he says, also, don't pray to manipulate God. Verse 7, "And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words." And the word for pagans here is just the nation's, sort of the foreigners, the non-Jews. And this isn't Jesus saying, hey, I don't like any of those non-Jews. This is Jesus’ warning against those who are praying to foreign gods, to idols, and he says, here's their normal pattern. They think that they need to say the right words, in the right order, in the right cadence, and the right number of times, and then once they've done that, their God has to do what they're asking him to do. It's a very transactional relationship, if I go through the ritual and say the right words and the right cadence and the right order, the right number of times, then God has to do what I want him to do. And there are probably some of us here that we sort of treat prayer like that, we're only praying when we desperately need something, and when we need something, we expect God to move on it right away as long as we pray in Jesus’ name, Amen. Or as long as we add some kind of Christian heading onto this, we pray in order to manipulate or strong-arm God. In fact, you look at the end of verse seven, he says they think they will be heard because of their many words. They think that doing the ritual right and saying them in the right cadence is going to obligate God to do what they're telling him to do.

Dan Franklin: [00:19:21] And so first things first, no one obligates God to do anything, nobody manipulates God into doing anything, God is not mocked. You can't do this, it's a fool's errand. But I want you to look at it, here's the pattern of this passage. In verse 5 Jesus says, don't pray like the hypocrites, then he gives the alternative in verse 6, go into your room, shut the door, and pray between you and your Father. In verse 7, he says, don't pray like the pagans. In verse 8, he doesn't give an alternative way of acting. he gives an alternative way of thinking. He says, "Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him." Just don't go to God thinking if I can just say the right thing, in the right way, the message will somehow get through and God will do what I want him to do. He says, "Your father knows what you need before you ask him." Once again, he doesn't say God knows what you need, he reminds us it's your Father, he knows what you need before you ask him.

Dan Franklin: [00:20:21] Now, a quick pause, because some of you right now, you're having trouble with verse 8 because you're like, if God already knows what I need, why are we going through this charade? Like, why are we praying? And if you're going even further, if you know a little bit of theology and you're like, all right, if God is really sovereign over everything, why are we praying, this just seems like a big pantomime? Like, what are we doing with this? God already has his will; he's going to do what he's going to do. Why does it even matter if I pray? In fact, in the survey, some of you gave us that feedback. You said, honestly, I think that I don't pray as much as I could because I don't know that it even matters whether or not I pray.

Dan Franklin: [00:21:00] So a couple of things in response to this question. It's a genuine question. Why do we pray if God knows everything? The first answer to this question is we are never going to solve this mystery of God's sovereignty and our free will. And it's not just Christians that have trouble with this, nobody understands this mystery, this is just a deep mystery. I've shared before, my brother got his doctorate in philosophy and specifically did his dissertation on free will. And one of the things he said to me when he was in the process is he said, Dan, a lot of people think that the whole free will question is sort of a Christian problem that we don't know how to solve. And he said, no one knows how to solve this, no philosophy, you got atheists who don't know what to do with free will because did our biology determine us? Nobody understands how this mystery works. Where there are factors outside of our control sort of controlling us, but then we're making real, meaningful choices. Nobody understands how this works.

Dan Franklin: [00:22:03] And the way the Bible consistently presents it is in terms of that confusing mystery, where God is graciously in control of all things, and at the same time, we're told things like this in James chapter 5, verse 16, "The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective." If you read the Bible, from Genesis to Revelation, prayer changes things, that's how God presents it to us.

Dan Franklin: [00:22:31] Jeff was sharing this earlier during the baptism, some of the people who were in that baptismal were there as a result of prayers being answered. Prayers matter, God responds to our prayers. Now, how does that work with God's sovereignty? We don't know, it is a deep mystery, and nobody gets this. So I'm not saying, hey, just turn off your brain, I'm saying literally nobody understands this. But God has said we get to rest in the reality that he is never surprised by anything, and we also get to move forward in the reality that our prayers make a difference. So that's the first answer to the question.

Dan Franklin: [00:23:11] The second answer to the question is this, if God already knows everything, why would I pray? Because we pray to experience union with God. We pray and we ask God for stuff, but that's not even the main reason why we pray. The main reason why we pray is to experience the union and togetherness with God that Jesus opened the door for. So a lot of our prayers don't even involve asking for stuff, they involve our hearts being connected to the Father's heart. We pray to experience union with God.

Dan Franklin: [00:23:55] And so here's what I want to do now, I want to get real practical with us. Not just for this week, but for this series and really with some guidance on how I think we as a church are called to respond to this. Most of us kind of know we need help in this area. You know how if you think through areas of your life and you're like, here's where I am, here's where I should be, there's always a gap. Like, if you're married right now, you're like, well, here's where our marriage is, but here's where it should be. And maybe you're pretty close, maybe you feel pretty good, maybe there's a little bit more of a gap. Maybe with your finances, you're like, all right, here's how generous we are and how organized we are, and here's where we should be, there's always a gap. For most of us with prayer, there's a big gap. Like, this is one of the most sizable gaps, here's where I am, and here's where I want to be, and I need some help getting there. And I think, sadly, churches like ours have been reluctant to give specific help because we don't want to be legalistic. We don't want to get up and say, here's exactly how you have to do it. And we're so afraid of that that we don't give any guidance, we just sort of say, figure it out. We say go out and pray, and just figure it out. Just go ahead, it doesn't have to be in the church, it doesn't have to be on your knees, it doesn't have to be inside out, just go and figure it out.

Dan Franklin: [00:25:18] And while some of you might hear that and feel like energized by that, most of us hear that and we're paralyzed by that. Well, just go and figure it out. Do you know me? I'm not competent to figure this out. This would be like a swim coach talking to a new swimmer who's about to swim the 200 freestyle, and the swimmer comes up and says, well, how should I do this? And the coach just says, it's freestyle, you can do whatever you want. Hey, you want to do Butterfly? It's allowed. Do you want to do the doggy paddle? Do doggy paddle, it's allowed, and you will not be disqualified. There is no right way to do it, it is freestyle. That would be a terrible, terrible coach because there is wisdom from the ages on the best way to approach this, and it would be foolish just to say get in the water and figure it out. So what we want to come to is this, is to say we don't think that we need a script, as a church leadership we're not interested in giving everybody a script and saying, here's the words you pray in this order. Jesus doesn't even do that with the Lord's Prayer. He doesn't say, pray this, he says, pray like this. So we don't need a script, but we do need a structure. We need some help on this. We need some guidance on saying, all right, what would be a format for how we approach this? And really, we do this in all areas here at the church. We don't tell life groups, hey, just go and meet and figure it out. We're like, hey, here's a curriculum, go through this, this will facilitate a great discussion. We don't show up, believe it or not, we don't show up for a church service and just say we'll wing it, we plan a structure to say this is what we hope will most facilitate people drawing near to Jesus. The structure is not the point, but it facilitates the point. We don't need a script, but we need a structure.

Dan Franklin: [00:27:00] And so I want to spend some time now just talking through four action points that are a bit more specific. And as you hear them, you might be like, well, can you prove from the Bible I'm supposed to do that? No, but I think this is a wise structure that could help us to experience union with God. So I'm going to put them up here on the screen, and I'll just go through them one by one. We don't need a script, but we need a structure.

Dan Franklin: [00:27:23] So point number one is, find your space, find the room, find the space outside, find the space away from your home, find the space wherever it is where you can have undistracted prayer time with the Father. I've shared this a little bit before; I pray much better when my body is moving. Some of you can sit down in a chair and just have a rich time with the Lord, I'm not saying it's impossible for me to do that, I just pray much better when my body is moving. So I go on prayer walks, and I have a prayer walk from my house that I do nearly every day, and it provides me... And some of you are like, if I was outside, I'd be distracted. I don't know what to tell you, I'm not. Some of you are going to be like me and this is going to be very liberating. Find your space. Don't get up each morning and just be like, what should I do? Come in with a plan and find your space.

Dan Franklin: [00:28:17] Number two, build toward 30 minutes of prayer a day. Now, again, some of you are going to be like, where's that in the Bible? It's not in the Bible, it's not a biblical command, it's a pastoral suggestion. And here's the reason why it's a suggestion that I want to give, most of us could find half an hour in a day, that's less than a lot of Netflix episodes that we watch every day. We can find a half hour somewhere, and half an hour is enough time that you can really commune with the Lord. For right now you're like, I got five, ten minutes. Hey, five, ten minutes, that's better than nothing, use that time. That's going to feel really rushed, and you're not going to have the time just for your soul to rest in the Lord. Now, some of you are doing more than half an hour and that's great, I'm suggesting that we build towards this as a normal thing at our church, so we don't look at people praying for half an hour and say, those are the heroes, but we say, that's what we do around here, we set aside half an hour with the Lord.

Dan Franklin: [00:29:24] And I'll just share this with you on a personal level, prayer has always been hard for me. I'm reading the Bible. I do that pretty organically because I'm a reader, but prayer has always been hard for me. Over the past year and a half, I've experienced more consistency and more joy in my prayer life than at any point in my life, and the biggest tangible change that I made was I started setting aside 30 minutes. Some of you are like, I couldn't fill 30 minutes. You could, you'll find beautiful things happening. In fact, yesterday I went on my prayer walk. I'll tell you, I know because my prayer walk is about 30 minutes, I had about seven minutes left and I was like, I think I'm done, like, I don't have anything else to pray. And I paused and I just said, Lord, is there something you want to direct my attention to? And it didn't take long before he directed my attention to like 12 or 13 people that have deep prayer needs that I got to intercede for. Build towards having enough time that you're not rushed, build towards 30 minutes.

Dan Franklin: [00:30:30] Number three is to choose a structure. And I already mentioned that prayer booklet that's out there that some of you are going to grab or you're going to scan the QR code and get that, in there, we have two suggested structures. These aren't the only ones, but these are two good ones. One of them is the acronym P.R.A.Y., that's the one that we got from the book, from Pete Greig's book, P.R.A.Y. You start with a pause, and you just reflect on the one that you're speaking to. Then you rejoice in who he is and all he's done for you. Then you ask all of the things on your heart. And then you yield to his will. P.R.A.Y.

Dan Franklin: [00:31:08] The other one that we have in that booklet is a famous one that a lot of you will know, the ACTS one. Starting with adoration and praising God for just who he is. Confessing your sins and your shortcomings and your failures. Giving him thanks, which by the way, sometimes I just use my whole 30-minute prayer walk and just give thanks. Some of you are like, I would be out after like a minute and a half. You wouldn't be, you will be amazed if you start praying for things, how many things there are to be thankful for. And then, supplication, this is when we ask for all the things that are on our hearts to ask God for.

Dan Franklin: [00:31:47] Now, here's the deal, some of you are going to look at this and you're going to be like, I don't really like these, that's fine if you have another one, this structure is better than your non-structure. So if you right now, we're kind of like, I don't know if I like the PRAY, I don't know if I like the ACTS. Here's all I want to say, be humble enough to learn from people who have gone before us and who have done this better than we're currently doing it. Don't be so proud that you're going to say, I don't need a structure, you probably do. And the structure is not the point, the structure facilitates what we want.

Dan Franklin: [00:32:23] So find your space, build towards 30 minutes so that you're not rushed, choose a structure, and finally, number one, fight for joy. Because I guarantee you this, anybody in this room that looks at this and says, all right, Dan, I think this is good, I'm going to do this. I've already kind of got my space in mind, I think I know it's going to be in the evening that I think I can carve out that 30 minutes, I think I can do that. I'm going to choose the structure the PRAY sounds really good to me, I think I'm going to go for it. Get ready for the fight of your life because you have an enemy that desperately wants to prevent you from experiencing union with God. And you might get right into this, and after about ten days, you're going to be like, Why did I even do this? I have no consistency, I keep getting distracted, and this isn't working. Get ready for the fight of your lives because it's a fight for joy, and the enemy will do everything in his power to discourage you and prevent you from getting this. Don't expect that you're going to walk out of here and this is going to be smooth sailing, fight for the joy that we get through prayer.

Dan Franklin: [00:33:32] Now here's what I want us to do now. Some of you will know this, we actually whoever's preaching, which about three times out of four is me, on Thursday, whoever's preaching actually gives the sermon to a small group of people. We call it the sermon preview, and they give advanced feedback and guidance on how we might switch things up. I did that on Thursday and I got some good feedback, and one of the points of feedback was from Andy, our worship pastor, and he said, Dan, I kind of feel like the sermon was like this, it was like you spent like 40 minutes describing cake to us and telling us how great it was and trying to assure us that it tastes good and describing to us what the cake looked like. It's like, man, I just want to I want to have a sample, I want to eat some of the cake. So I intentionally shortened the sermon so that in the service we can get a sample of just experiencing some of this union with God. So in a minute, I'm going to lead us through just a structured prayer time, it's going to be personal, it's not going to be out loud, it's just going to be you privately. Most of you are going to bow your heads and close your eyes during this time. If there's some other posture if some of you are like, I actually like to stand, or I want to kneel, or I keep my eyes open because that actually helps me because I'm afraid I'm going to zone out if I close my eyes, that's all fine.

Dan Franklin: [00:34:52] But in a minute we'll do that, and what I'm going to do is I'm just going to lead us through the five parts of the Lord's Prayer. I'll read the verse, I'll say a sentence about what you pray, and then we're going to leave some quiet time for us to be able to just get a taste of what this can be like. So right now, if you're going to bow your heads and close your eyes, you can go ahead and do that. If you want to take some other posture, that's fine, too. Let's move into this time of prayer.

Dan Franklin: [00:35:20] "Our Father in Heaven, hallowed be your name." Pause now and rejoice in God being so close that he's your Father, and in God being so great that he's the Almighty. "Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven." Pray for your agenda to fade into the background and for God's priorities to take center stage in your life. "Give us today our daily bread." Ask God about all the burdens on your heart, specifically asking him to give you today what you need for today. "Forgive us our debts, as we have forgiven our debtors." Confess your sins confidently receiving God's forgiveness and asking God to empower you to forgive others. "Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one." Ask God not just for physical safety, but for deliverance from the lies and temptations that are much more dangerous to your soul. In Jesus' name. Amen.

Dan Franklin: [00:39:49] Let me just ask two quick questions. First of all, it's a little bit risky to ask, but did anybody feel like, man, I really needed that right now? Now, a second question, did anybody get annoyed with me because you were like, I wasn't done with that part yet? Anybody? If you did, just think what it would be like to have a half an hour, think what it would be like if you were not rushed at all. If you're like, I'm not done with confession, I got some stuff to deal with, I'm not done with this praise, I'm not done reflecting on who the Father is, I'm not done praying for deliverance, think if you were unrushed and going through all that.

Dan Franklin: [00:40:32] And friends, we are fighting for joy here. The leaders of this church, we're not wanting to throw burdens on anyone's back, we're wanting to invite us all to the joy that is accessible to us. You know, some of you are going to walk out of here and you're like, gosh, I feel pretty clear on what my next step is. Some of you are going to walk out of here and you're going to look straight to the left and you're going to grab some of the booklets that are out there to help you. Some of you are going to come up front afterward and pray with someone else because you're going to say like, I know my marching orders, but I also know me and I will abandon this really quickly, and so I need partners in prayer. Let's lean in and really believe that the joy on the other side of leaning into this is going to be greater than whatever price we pay to lean in. Amen? Amen. God bless you for the rest of this Sunday. Have a wonderful rest of your fall kickoff here.



Recorded in Upland, California.
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Life Bible Fellowship Church
2426 N Euclid Ave
Upland, California 91786
(909) 981-4848