How to Talk to God, Pt. 2

Scripture: Luke 11:1-4, James 4:3, Matthew 6:5-15
One of the most crucial components of our Christian life is prayer. The disciples of Jesus heard Him prayer and asked the Lord to teach them to pray. This broadcast looks at Jesus' example of prayer as a guide for our prayer life.
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Announcer: It's time now for Bible Talk. Join our hosts Gary Gibbs and John Bradshaw as they open the Bible and talk about themes that affect your life today. Stay tuned because the next 15 minutes will deepen your understanding of God's word.

John Bradshaw: Hi and welcome to Bible Talk where we talk about the Bible and how the Bible affects us today. I'm John Bradshaw, with me is Gary Gibbs. Hi there, Gary.

Gary Gibbs: Hi, John. We have a very interesting topic today. We're going talking about one of the most crucial components to a successful Christian life and that is prayer.

John: We've talked about prayer before and I think today as we talk about prayer, we'll want to talk about maybe how to pray. Some friends of Jesus came to him one day and said, "Could you teach us to pray?" And what did Jesus say in response? We're going to follow this in the book of Luke 11.

Gary: Well, he actually taught them what we know today as the Lord's Prayer. You read about it in Luke 11. You can also read about it in Matthew six but, as you said, the disciples of Jesus came to him and said, "Lord, teach us to pray." I think actually they overheard him praying. He would often go apart in the garden of Gethsemane and pray. I think they overheard him praying and they said, "We want to learn how to pray."

John: Therefore the disciples came to Jesus and said, "Teach us to pray." I think everybody listening right now ought to know in their hearts how to pray. It's something very, very important for all of us.

Gary: So he starts here, he says pray, saying, "Our father which art in heaven hallowed be thy name." That's a very important part to start. What do you get out of that? How is he starting this prayer? First, he says, "Our Father."

John: The first thing we noticed is when we come to God in prayer, we have the assurance that we're praying to our father. We're not praying to a stranger. We're praying to a close family member. We're praying to the one who brought us into being.

Gary: He's not a DAD that you have to appease that you're going to cut deals with. God, if you get me out of this situation, then I'll do XYZ for you.

John: I'll tell you this is one of the reasons why healthy family relationships are so important. I've met people who've said it's hard for me to relate to God as a father because my relationship with my father was so bad. So if you had a healthy relationship with your dad, you're going to understand that coming to God is going to be a joy. And if ever you've been a parent, you'll understand on how a parent would welcome a child into his or her parents a presents rather. This is the way God welcomes us, we go to him who is our father, we can go with assurance he wants the very best for us. Man, we're off to a good start already.

Gary: It really is and this prayer actually starts with adoration. It's glorifying God, adoring him for who he is, "Hallowed be your name."

John: That's right.

Gary: Name represents a character and so he's saying pray to God, honoring him for who he is. We honor your name, you've got a holy name, you're a holy God and we're coming to you.

John: We've talked about prayer here another time on Bible Talk and we talked about how one critical component, or good aspect to prayer, is to pray and praise. And in the Lord's prayer we begin with praise. "Our father who is in heaven" -- this great God, your name is holy -- "hallowed be thy name." So there we're introduced to prayer to praise in prayer. For many people, not that you have to follow the said formula when you pray. But for many people, the Lord's prayer represents the model prayer, not something that you necessarily have to pray by rote or repetition -- mind you it's good to do that and OK to do that -- but it can serve as a model prayer. Here is how to pray. Here's the steps to follow. We begin approaching our father and praising his name.

Gary: Then we move on into praying for his will to be done. "Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done as in heaven, so on earth." Often we start off our prayers with, "God here's my need." And we start off right with telling him what we need, what we want, all our problems and he teaches us here to start off with praying for God's will to be done.

John: Let me ask you a question then and I don't want to detour too far away from the Lords prayer here. Why is it, maybe there are a number of reasons but what do you think? Someone comes to God, they pray, they ask for something, they don't get it, why is that? What are some of the reasons for that?

Gary: My children sometimes ask me for things and they don't get it and the reason they don't get it is because it's not the best thing for them. We read in James 4:3 it says, "You ask and you don't receive" because you've asked wrongly or incorrectly. It's not the best thing for you.

John: All right, there's someone listening here today who recently lost a child to sickness and they pray to God, "Lord heal my child," and recently attended the child's funeral. Now did they ask in this?

Gary: Now they ask what God would actually want to. God would rather heal everybody and prevent all death but that would be heaven.

John: Right.

Gary: The God is going to answer that prayer. One day Jesus is going to come back. He's going to put an end to all sin, all suffering, all death, but right now we live on this sinful earth and people are going to die. We don't like it when it hits us. We don't want it. We pray to prevent it and sometimes God answers those prayers but other times, he doesn't. We have to trust him. We have to trust him, he who is in heaven.

John: Right.

Gary: To do the best thing.

John: And he who is our father. Isn't it true, even if you've been a life-long Christian, you don't always understand here on this earth why God has done what he's done but I don't think when we get to heaven we'll have any bones to pick with God. I think when we get to heaven, we'll say, "God you did the right thing, even though I didn't understand it." If we pray to our father and we learn to trust our father. Haven't you ever said to your kids, I know I've said to mine, "Trust me, we're doing this because dad knows its best. You might not understand it now but one day you'll understand."

Gary: Yes, and that's hard for them to comprehend.

John: Oh sure, it is.

Gary: My little girl wants to reason with me and there's no way she'll ask me, "Well, why? Can you explain that to me?" "No, I can't." It's because she doesn't have the reference point and we can't understand from God's perspective -- he who sees the past, who sees the future -- he knows what's best and some of these very painful things we can't understand.

John: Therefore, it becomes very important when you pray to pray, "Thy will be done," because as long as we can be confident that God is in control and God's will is being done then we can trust and then we can move on, can't we?

Gary: We can, and John, we have to remember. When we talk about God knows what's best, I believe God weeps sometimes when people die. He would rather them live too but because we live in a sinful environment, these things happen. There's another force out there and it's Satan. Satan delights in taking life. I think it's wrong to pin all the blame on God all the time.

John: Absolutely. That's right. Well, we're back in the Lords' prayer. We're up to the part where it says give us day by day or give us this day, our daily bread.

Gary: That's learning to trust God daily for his provision. Sometimes, we become too dependent upon ourselves what we can do. This is a surrender of our life to God day-by-day, saying, "Lord, I'm giving my life to you today. You would lead me and I want to be open to your leading today. Help me be to be in tune with your word." I was praying one day as a young Christian and I was just talking to the Lord about what was going to happen that day. It wasn't going to be an unusual day compared to any other. I was gone, go to work and come home. But as I was talking to the Lord about my work situation, I had an interesting boss, supervisor.

As I was talking to him about that, it was like dawn-dawn made that this revelation that this supervisor of mine was going to have a major loss of temper that day. He was going to blow up and explode and I would be the object of this volcanic eruption.

You know, it wasn't a voice or anything. It was just realization and it was very clear. I said, "OK. Well, we'll how this goes." I went to work that day and that's exactly what happened. This guy lost his cool. He blew up but I was in perfect piece and totally at ease because I'd seen this before, sensed it in my prayer time that morning.

I don't want to sound like I had a vision because it wasn't anything like that but I was sitting back saying, "Wow. This is pretty cool. This is what I sensed in my prayer today. I never had that happen before." That guy later, he lost his faith. He became an atheist.

John: Wow.

Gary: But then years later, a few years later he came back to God and he's now an active Christian today. But that showed me the power of prayer that God could help us day by day to meet the challenges of the day.

John: Notice too give us today our daily bread. Now, what David say, "I've been young. Now I'm old. I've never seen the righteous forsaken or his seed begging bread." You can trust God to provide for your needs. He's not always going to provide you with your wants, not always. Many times, he will but we pray for our wants and expect that God would provide our needs.

Gary: John, this can apply not only to physical food but emotional needs we have. You mentioned somebody who may be lost a loved one and they have to survive day by day to get through that crisis. Maybe somebody, a listener is struggling with some addiction. They've go to go day by day. They need God's strength for that day. And so this also applies in this ways. We pray for God to sustain us that day in our faithful walk with him.

John: Which underscores the importance of coming to God everyday because he promises to give us strength for this day, now today's offer is something that's really going to bless your spiritual life. Call the number you're about hear, write the address that we're about to give you and make sure you ask for the little book called "The Surrender of Self." "The Surrender of Self," a key principle in successful Christian Living. This offer is something you're really going to love. Now in the Lords prayer, it says forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors. Gary, what do you get out of that?

Gary: Well, John, that's the version over in Matthew 6. I believe as we go over to Luke 11, it says forgive us our sins so it's talking about our debt of sin. You know, the Bible says the wages of sin is death. And so we've created this debt of sin against God and so what we're doing is we're asking God, "Forgive us our sin debt." So that we don't receive its wage, which is death, in the same way that we will forgive those who sinned against us.

John: What if you've got a hard heart and you hold a grudge and you're unwilling to forgive your brother or your sister?

Gary: Well, then we're not going to receive forgiveness. Do you remember the parable of the Unjust Steward? He was a man who owed the king a huge debt and the king arrested him, throws him in debtors' prison. King has mercy on him, releases the guy. When he gets out of prison, he goes and he rings the necks of all these people who owe him just this little pittance. So what God is saying is that we have to be merciful in the same degree that we expect him to be merciful to us.

John: And then, Jesus told us that we ought to pray that God would lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil. Now that's an interesting concept, isn't it? Start your day by praying that God would lead you with a path that doesn't intersect with sin.

Gary: Well, some people John, would say, "Does God tempt us?" We're saying, "God, don't you tempt me, don't you lead me into temptation."

John: I think what we really understand from that is we're praying that God would keep us from temptation. Give us power through temptation. Perhaps lead us in a way that day where we're not going to cross paths with the devil any more than we really have to.

Gary: When I pray in the morning like that and I start my day, I say, "Lord, you know the temptation I'm going to face today and as I'm at that intersection with temptation, help me to understand how you want me to respond to it. Speak to my heart and remind me that this is you. Let me know clearly this is you." Because sometimes, John, we have a split seconds to make the right decision when we're being tempted and we need to know clearly the right decision to make so that we don't lose our cool, we don't get angry, we don't say the wrong things, we don't entertain a sinful thought, whatever it might be. We need to know God is guiding us and we need to be obedient immediately to him, and praying about this in our prayer that starts the day is a good idea.

John: The power of prayer is that it connects us with God. The devil and life, however you're going to put it, is going to throw all sorts of things at us through the day. But if we start our day connected with Jesus. He said, "Without me, you can do nothing." But we know that we can do how many things?

Gary: "We can do all things through Christ Jesus who strengthens us."

John: Come to Jesus in prayer. Connect with him. Get plugged in, one pastor, one servant. If you're not experiencing the power, check the connection. Connect with God in prayer and watch your life grow in blessing. Thanks for joining us again with Gary Gibbs, I'm John Bradshaw. This has been Bible Talk. [music]

Announcer: If you'd like more information on what we've been studying today, we have a comprehensive Bible study guide we'd love to share with you that's absolutely free. This study includes many of the texts we've just discussed and expands on the subject including information you'll want to know. To receive this free informative Bible Study Guide, simply call, write or email and ask for "The Surrender of Self." The toll free number is 866-BIBLE-SAYS. That's 866-242-5372. You can write to us at Bible Talk, PO Box 1058, Roseville, CA, 95678 or email us at

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