Sunday, March 25, 2018

It's WHEN We Pray, Not IF We Pray!

LISTEN! to this sermon on SOUNDCLOUD!


“From Ulster Plantation to the Carolina’s with the Gospel!” *

Russell H. McCullough / Archdale church of Christ, 2525 Archdale Drive, Charlotte, NC 28210 / - Date:  25 March 2018

Text: Matthew 6.5 - 13
Thesis:  Prayer is to the soul as breathing is to the body.  Breathing is not optional, and neither is prayer!
          Sing: “How Long Has It Been?”
          Read the Words to the Song
          Luke 11 – “Teach us to pray”
          Matthew 6 – In the middle of the Sermon on the Mount
* Prayer is to be taught but more important, it is to be lived.
F. B. Meyer – “The greatest tragedy of life is not unanswered prayer, but unoffered prayer.”
Please stand:

Our Most Kind and Gracious Heavenly Father;
As we study the prayer that Jesus taught us, may we with broken and contrite hearts seek Your Presence in prayer with the breath of our lungs as we receive the Breath of Your Word from the Scriptures.  Forgive us not for what we say in prayer but, for not saying it more often.
In the Name of Jesus Christ;
And All the church said; AMEN
Please be seated:
William Law – “Prayer is the nearest approach to God and the highest enjoyment of Him that we are capable of in this life.”
          Jesus makes 3 points as He introduces the Disciples Prayer
1.   It’s WHEN not IF
2.   Don’t Pray like this
3.   Do Pray like this
I It’s WHEN not IF We Pray!
A.  That Christians not pray is not in the equation of Christ at all.
B.  The question before us today is NOT “when should we pray?” but rather, “when should we NOT be praying[RM1] ?!”
C.   The fact remains though, we are not typically praying people.  Why not?
D.  Why do Christians fail to pray?
1.   They don’t really believe.
a.   God and / or prayer
b.   We really don’t believe “that God is and He is the rewarder of those that diligently seek Him.”
2.   They neglect the assembly
a.   I Corinthians 11.30 – “That is why many of you are weak and ill, and some have died.”
1)  Dead people don’t breathe, dead Christians don’t pray.
3.   They feel guilty about something.
4.   They are afraid God is angry with them.
5.   They feel awkward.
6.   They feel embarrassed
7.   They don’t know what to say or how to say it.
8.   They are afraid God won’t answer their prayers.
9.   They are afraid God WILL answer their prayers!
E.   George Herbert: “Prayer is the key to the day and the lock of the night.”
II Pray Not Like This – READ Matthew 6.5 - 8
A.  We automatically discount this portion for no one in our society is admired for public praying.
1.   BUT, should we ignore this?
B.  When praying publicly, we often word things in certain ways so we will meet 3rd party expectations.
C.   When praying either publicly or privately, we often say things in such a way to make sure we “say it the right way” so God won’t “hang up the phone on us.”
D.  When praying publicly, we often word things in such a way so as not to offend someone in our hearing[RM2] , or to please someone in our hearing.
E.   We must pray always regardless of how we feel spiritually, physically, mentally, psychologically or any other way and NOT give in to changes based upon any other person’s expectations.
F.   Albert Mohler – “Authentic prayer is never about impressing anyone (for any reason.)”
III Pray Like This – READ Matthew 6.9
A.  Charles Sprugeon, the English Baptist preacher of the 19th century once said; “I would just as soon pray with a machine as to sing with one.”  
1.   Rout praying, like an instrument, is mechanical.
2.   Mechanical prayers are liturgical.
a.   “The Book of Common Prayer”
3.   There is no kind of liturgical worship patterned for us in the New Testament.
4.   The Disciples Prayer is not liturgical and was never meant to be by Jesus.  It was instead, a guide for spontaneous, heartfelt, and sincere prayers for the saints of all time.
5.   How do we know this?
6.   We know this because of Jesus’ very precise use of the compound Greek word, houto, rendered “like this,” “in this manner,” or “after this manner.”
a.   Per Strong’s: “In this way, after this manner, like, on this fashion, in like manner, thus.”
b.   Christians are not robots and Jesus did not teach us to pray like robots.

Let us pray:

Our Most Divine and Majestic Heavenly Father;

May we this day and every day pray to You often as we should.  May we never seek the favor or permission of any human for what we say to You in private or in public.  May we pray as Jesus taught us to.  May our prayers never be mechanical or artificial.  May we approach You in prayer always even if we are fearful.  Even if we are feeling awkward.  Even if we feel guilt and remorse.  Even when the words won’t come.  Even when we are embarrassed.  Even when we are weakened by fear and doubt.  May we hurry to prayer especially when we are tempted by our weaknesses.  Forgive us Lord and draw us near to Your heart.

In the Name of Jesus, we pray;

And all the church said; AMEN


The Word of God is our conclusion today: “The Lord is far from the wicked, but He hears the prayer of the righteous.” – Proverbs 15.29


“The Gospel Call” – If you are not a Christian, you cannot pray “Our Father.”  Therefore: “Repent, everyone of you, and be baptized in the Name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” – Acts 2.38

·         My fifth great uncle was Hugh Gaston who was rector at the Ballywillan Presbyterian Church (pictured above left) in County Antrim, Ulster Plantation (Northern Ireland) and wrote the most dangerous book of his time; Gaston’s Collections.  It allowed “the ploughman to know more Bible than his clergyman.”  Hugh fled to South Carolina where he died prematurely of the measles.  He is buried just one hour south of Charlotte in Chester County, S.C. in “Burnt Meeting House Cemetery.”   Uncle Hugh continues to inspire my ministry to this very day.  You can read more about Uncle Hugh here:
Ruins photo courtesy of:

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