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that’s though our intention is actually
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to grow the church we don’t to drive
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people out so I’ll just stick to what I
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do all right I’ll stay in my lane when I
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preach a sermon and we’ll get out of
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here all right well you might be new
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here too Ben Davis Christian Church my
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name’s Ryan I’m the lead minister here
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at the church we are in a season of
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Prayer called 21 days of Prayer it’s a
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time of focused and intentional prayer
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in which we’re just petitioning our God
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with the requests that we have as the
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body of Christ and so last week we gave
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to everyone a prayer list that had five
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specific prayer needs of our church big
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things happen in 2019 we also gave you a
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list of 20 ways that you can pray daily
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for BDC see if you did not get one of
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those prayer lists if you lost your list
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if you would like me to put one of those
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lists in your hands after service I’d be
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happy to do that you can also get ahold
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of that at our website BTCC org slash
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21 days all of those resources are
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available right there including that
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daily prayer guide would love for you to
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get ahold of that and to be praying
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daily for our church there is also daily
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readings a daily devotional that our
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prayer team so generously put together
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and if you would like to get in the
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habit of getting in the Word of God and
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praying daily I would suggest that as a
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great place to start you can go to our
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website you can check out those daily
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readings there also if you’re like me
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and you occasionally need a reminder to
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do something we have text message
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reminders available as well those go out
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weekdays at noon and if you’d like to
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sign up for text message reminders and
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daily readings you can simply text pray
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21 2 5 5 5 8 8 8 such as simple as that
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every day this week I got a text message
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at 11:59 reminding me to pray and to
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read and it was absolutely fantastic and
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so I want to encourage you to jump in
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do that just remember just keep on
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praying right because ultimately we want
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to be the kind of people who do what
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pray first not as a last resort in fact
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that’s what we talked about a little bit
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last week that and anything and all
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things we should be the kind of people
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who pray first not as a last resort in
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other words we shouldn’t be
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characterized by praying when we’re out
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of options
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but prayer should be our first option
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the very first option that we exercise
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displaying our full dependence in our
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need for God and last week Jesus taught
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us in Luke chapter 11
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not just to pray but specifically how to
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pray and what we landed on is that we
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can pray to God about everything
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therefore we don’t need to worry about
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anything
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we can pray first we can pray to God
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about everything therefore we don’t need
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to worry about anything what’s first and
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foremost of course is that we can pray
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to God as our Father and that was a
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game-changer at the time as Jesus
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introduced to his followers this concept
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that God was their father not the father
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of their people but Father and the sense
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of a dad and Jesus used in a very
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affectionate term to return to referred
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to his father as dad or daddy and that’s
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the kind of relationship that you and I
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that we have with Jesus that ultimately
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gives us full access to God into his
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throne and we can bring absolutely
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anything before him and not worry about
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a single thing in our life so last week
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we talked about that this week we’re
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gonna continue to talk about prayer but
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we’re also going to add in this
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conversation about fasting so we’re
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gonna talk about prayer
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and fasting today and hopefully you come
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today with a few questions in mind about
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fasting as I say that maybe your mind
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immediately leaps to some assumptions
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you’ve made about fasting or some
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questions that you have if you’ve got
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questions I want you just to feel free
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to ask those in your own mind if I don’t
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answer everything that you need we’ve
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got a fasting guide available online you
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can also talk to me after service is
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over I’d love to clarify any of that for
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you so that you can exercise this very
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excellent spiritual discipline in your
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life because of course when I say
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fasting a lot of us immediately think of
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you know Uncle Eddie right because
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fasting is kind of the odd second-cousin
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or the weird uncle of spiritual
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disciplines it’s it’s not viewed in the
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same way that it’s other spiritual
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counterparts like generosity in prayer
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and reading your Bible and serving and
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attending church services it’s not
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viewed in the same light is it it’s
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viewed as a little bit of odd we have a
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hard time figuring out a place for it
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why would I fast when would I fast how
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would I fast and my goal is that you
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walk out of this room today with a
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little bit more clarity as to what you
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would do in order to fast and maybe with
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something on your heart to fast about
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now fasting has two important components
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they’re really two critical components
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of fasting the first is attention and
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the second is abstinence so when we fast
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we’re giving God our full attention by
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abstaining from something right so we’re
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giving up something for something that’s
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what we’re doing
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we’re giving up something that vies for
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our attention that distracts us or that
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were dependent on so that we can put
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ourselves in this rare spiritual
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territory of having a complete need for
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God and undivided
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tension now fasting was a really common
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practice and out in all of the Bible in
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the Old Testament we see Old Testament
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heroes like David and Moses fasting
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Daniel was living under captivity in
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Babylon when he read God’s promise to
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free the Israelites after a certain
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period of time and so for clarity he
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prayed to God and he saw God earnestly
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through fasting then through the angel
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Gabriel God gave Daniel a much greater
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understanding of what he had previously
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pledged the Israelites so Daniel our
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daniel gained clarity here in Scripture
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there are other examples throughout the
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Bible and as well in the New Testament
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the early church they want to go
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evangelize the whole earth and they’re
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curious about who they should sin and so
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they fast and through the process of
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fasting they select Paul and Barnabas
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and they bless them and they send them
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out of course Jesus sets his own
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examples of fasting in Matthew chapter 6
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Jesus teaches his disciples about
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fasting and so I’m going to invite you
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to go to Matthew chapter 6 now located
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in page 737 of the Bible that’s right in
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front of your seat and by the way if you
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don’t have a good copy of the Bible at
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home one that you’re confident in then I
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want to put this into your hands today
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as a resource you’re welcome to take
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that Bible with you as our free gift to
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use the New Living Translation that’s
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the translation we prefer to use here at
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the church because it blends accuracy
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and readability in a very unique way and
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so that’s why we recommend it here at
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the church it’s a great daily reader on
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the subject of prayer I think on my
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worst days my prayer is reserved for
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Bible reading or maybe meal times you
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know we get to the dinner table and we
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think oh I’ve not prayed today you know
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I need to pray a need to bless my food
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sometimes I catch myself praying in the
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eleventh hour
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I really need God to show up in some way
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particularly about every other week when
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I’ve run my car on e4 about two days
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consecutive and I know I’m gonna roll it
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into the gas station I’m running on
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fumes and I’m praying to God so maybe
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you catch yourself praying at a habit
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where you’re praying daily at a specific
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time in a specific place maybe you’re
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less discipline and you only catch
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yourself praying that meals or praying
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when you think about it because you need
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it more than any moment at the time I
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know in my life I would also say there
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have been times and I’ve been
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characterized as not feeling very
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confident in my prayers and maybe you
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can relate to that like you’re not very
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confident and what to say or how you
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said it did I do that right did I put
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that in the right order is that the way
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that God wants me to pray today of
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course I would start out by saying that
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if you’re praying in Jesus name to God
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your father right through the sonship
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and the daughter ship that Jesus has
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provided you you really can’t mess it up
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there’s really no wrong way or right way
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to pray if you’re praying in the name of
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Jesus to God your father and when we say
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things like you know I’m just not very
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good at prayer I’m not very confident at
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Prayer it kind of makes prayer sound
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like it’s just something to do something
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on a checklist or maybe a hobby or a
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sport that you improve upon like
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bare-knuckle boxing or origami and it
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says in some way that there are some
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people who are cut out as prayer prayers
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and others who are not as though there
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are the prayer warriors among us and the
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prayer weaklings those who get it right
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and those who never will I want to
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challenge that as we come to God this
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morning’s Jesus speaks to us I want us
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to understand full well that no matter
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where you are in your faith journey you
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can be excellent and faithful in prayer
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Finnegan maybe this is not how you feel
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check this out
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top-2 doodies Wow Deena everything looks
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fabulous well I’ll tell you something
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it’s such a treat for me to have a
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home-cooked meal like this dinner at my
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ass usually consisted of everybody in
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the kitchen fighting over containers of
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Chinese food but there wasn’t enough
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food to go around
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no there was we just never really sat
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down like family like this Gregg would
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you like to say grace
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Oh Greg’s Jewish that you’re telling me
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Jews don’t pray honey unless you have
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some objection no no no I know I’d love
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to Pam come on sound like I’m a rabbi or
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something I said grace and many a dinner
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table
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okay
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Oh
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dear God
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thank you
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you are such a good god to us a kind and
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gentle and
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accommodating God and we thank you oh
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sweet sweet lord of hosts for the
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smorgasbord you have so aptly lain at
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our table this day and each day by day
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day by day by day
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oh dear Lord three things we pray love
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the more dearly to see thee more clearly
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to follow the more nearly day-by-day my
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day
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amen Oh lovely
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thank you Greg that was interesting too
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man I don’t know about you but when I
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watch that it’s kind of painful I mean
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it’s funny and at the same time it
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creates this awkwardness that’s kind of
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painful and maybe you would say that
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you’ve heard some people pray some
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painful prayers today maybe for you you
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would say that you found yourself
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praying some painful prayers maybe for
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you
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prayer is painful it’s awkward it’s full
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of tension you don’t know what to say
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when you have to pray in front of other
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people there’s all kinds of pressure on
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you just like there was for Greg as he
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was trying to impress Pam’s parents
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right like maybe that’s something that
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you would describe your prayer life as
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is painful awkward pressure of course
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when we think about prayer
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it requires absolutely no skill at all
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no proficiency I don’t want you to think
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today that you’ve got to learn this
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drill this acronym the specific way and
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that’s how you’ve got to commit yourself
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to praying daily prayer requires no
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skill whatsoever at all the
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eight-year-old praying is just as
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beautiful and eloquent of prayer as the
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eight-year-old who’s been a Christian
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nearly all of his life no matter what
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kind of vocabulary you use regardless of
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the amount of arms regardless of whether
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you speak in king james elizabeth ii and
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english or in the everyday talk of life
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God hears your prayers because prayer is
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ultimately predicated on relationship
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that is we pray in the name of Jesus to
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God our Father God is concerned about
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the Word of God made flesh Jesus Christ
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not the eloquent words you use as you
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pray so just come to God in complete
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conversation prayer was intended to be
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conversational and that’s
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Jesus is pointing out here in Matthew
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chapter 6 because sometimes as we pray
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or frankly as we exercise any kind of
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spiritual discipline our vision can
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become a little cloudy we get confused
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about why we’re praying and what we’re
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praying for we bring to the table the
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wrong kind of motivation we’re concerned
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about impressing people we feel the
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pressure being placed upon us we start
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worrying about whether or not we have
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the right words the right posture or the
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right place or the right time for prayer
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all of these things begin to cloud our
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spiritual vision and things can get
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especially confusing check out what
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Jesus says in Matthew chapter 6 verses
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22 through 23 he says your eye is a lamp
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that provides light for your body when
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your eye is good your whole body is
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filled with light he goes on he says but
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when your eye is bad your whole body is
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filled with darkness and if the light
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you think you have is actually darkness
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how deep that darkness is Jesus is
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telling us here in Matthew chapter 6
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that our spiritual vision is easily
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clouded and the fine line between pride
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and humility easily skewed in other
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words when we pray some of us can pray
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for all the wrong reasons
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and in all the wrong ways not because of
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the words we use not because the timing
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or the posture of our prayers but
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because of our lack of humility because
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we’re praying to the wrong audience that
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rather than praying in the context of
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relationship were praying to impress
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other people in this way sometimes our
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spiritual disciplines can become
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spiritual spectacles here in Matthew
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chapter 6 Jesus addresses three
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spiritual disciplines the first is
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generosity
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the second is prayer and the third is
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fasting and Jesus says whenever you and
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I are exercising these spiritual
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disciplines is very easy for pride to
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enter to the room and to confuse us and
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to cloud our vision it’s easy for us to
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do these things with the wrong
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motivation and before the
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audience and so Jesus answer to this
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problem is actually to practice some of
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these habits in private which is an
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interesting piece of the conversation
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that Jesus tells him to take these
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somewhat public exercises and to go
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private with them now understand before
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we leap into that that Jesus isn’t so
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much saying that all these spiritual
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disciplines are only right if you’re
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doing them in private he’s not
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contrasting public spiritual discipline
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against private spiritual discipline
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he’s contrasting humility the kind of
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humility that God desires in you and I
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and the kind of pride that the Bible
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says he opposes did you know the Bible
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actually says on a number of times that
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God opposes the proud and he grows grace
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to the humble when we approach God
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whether it’s in generosity what we give
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when we approach God in prayer those
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conversations we have with God or
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fasting what God desires from us is an
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attitude of humility complete dependence
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void of distraction that you and I just
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come to God as authentically as we
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possibly can the problem is that there
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are all kinds of people in Jesus day who
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are making spiritual spectacles out of
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these spiritual disciplines they were
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doing it for the wrong reason they were
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doing it to get themselves attention and
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praise
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so this is what Jesus says in the first
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place Matthew chapter 6 and verse 5
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verse 5 he says when you pray don’t be
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like the hypocrites that’s literally a
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Greek word for actor Jesus was the one
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who coined the term Jesus saying hey
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don’t be like a poser don’t be like a
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bad actor who loved to pray publicly on
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street corners and in the synagogues
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where everyone can see them read this
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next part aloud with me ready I tell you
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the truth that is all the reward they
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will ever get three times in this
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passage Jesus says that is all the
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reward they will ever get if you give in
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order to be noticed to be praised
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Jesus says then that’s the only reward
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you will ever get if you pray in such a
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way to be a spectacle congratulations
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that’s the only answer to prayer you’ll
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ever get and if you fast in order to get
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everybody’s attention so they think
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you’re a super Christian then that is
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the only reward you will ever get three
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times Jesus says we get what we aim for
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when our position is pride and arrogance
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and we’re doing it to make a spiritual
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spectacle of ourselves that is the only
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reward you will ever get but when you
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come to God in humility and you lay your
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heart before him when you give as to
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give it all away and lay it all on the
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line when you pray to your hearts
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fullest and you tell God the deepest
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things about yourself in humility and
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when you fast seeking for his clarity
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that is the reward God promises you and
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I that’s what God wants to give us but
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Jesus makes it clear here that it’s easy
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for us to pray bloated and babbling
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prayers that make no sense
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to God at all what’s more that God has
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no intention of honoring I want you to
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think about this today
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is it possible that you could be praying
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with the wrong motivation for that
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matter that you could be giving with the
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wrong motivation or that you could be
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fasting with the wrong motivation giving
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praying fasting are all three spiritual
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disciplines that God promises in his
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word to bless but is it possible that
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you fort the answer to prayer or frankly
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you barricade God’s blessing from your
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life simply because you’re doing these
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things with the wrong motivation with
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the wrong audience in mind trying to get
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yourself the attention of men Jesus says
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when you pray and don’t pray like that
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there’s absolutely no room in the
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relationship with God for that check out
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what he says next Matthew chapter 6
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verse 6 through 7 he says but when you
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pray go away by yourself shut the door
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behind you
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and pray to your who father in private
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so again Jesus is introducing this
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relationship notice again then your
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father who sees everything will reward
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you in other words God already knew your
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need you know you go to God in the
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closet of life in the private places God
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knows where you are and he knows where
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you are coming from your father knows
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and Jesus says when you pray with that
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kind of humility he will reward you he
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goes on to say when you pray don’t
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babble on and on as people of other
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religions do they think their prayers
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are answered merely by repeating their
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words again and again hocus-pocus
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abracadabra right they’re trying to get
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their God’s attention but he’s not
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listening and what Jesus said is your
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God is a father when you go to the
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Father you don’t need to use some
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special language you don’t need to say
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the same thing over and over again
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prayer is conversation predicated on
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relationship we go to God as a father we
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speak and we expect to be spoken to that
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is we listen we listen to the voice of
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God when you think about that for a
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moment that prayer is intended to be a
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conversation and we’re going to listen
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that means that we need to give
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ourselves space to listen my kids do
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this thing it’s like they only talk when
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we’re on the phone or my wife and I are
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talking to each other has anyone else
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ever experienced that phenomenon that
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your children get louder when you’re on
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the phone or you’re talking to your
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spouse yeah listen we need in our life
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an intentional place where we can go and
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experience silence so as Jesus begins to
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teach us about prayer and fasting the
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first thing that he says is hey you
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should find a quiet place to exercise
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some of these spiritual disciplines you
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should find a quiet place to pray find
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that place where you can go and you can
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get alone and you can not only talk to
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God but you can actually have the
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silence required the lack of distraction
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the clarity the attention necessary to
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focus and receive his answer because I
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personally believe friends that we not
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only can pray that not only does God
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hear but God also speaks a couple years
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ago an author and by the name of Mark
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Patterson wrote a book called their
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circle maker and he wrote all about
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prayer in this book it’s a fantastic
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book but he writes a story about a guy
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by the name of seagard Olson who built a
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small cabin on the banks of a lake in
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Minnesota and apparently when you have a
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lake cabin or a lake home it’s customary
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especially in the land of 10,000 lakes
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to name it to give it
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nickname and a lot of those names are
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rather predictable but Olson was
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incredibly intentional his objective in
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building that cabin was to hear what was
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worth listening for and so he nicknamed
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his cabin the listening point there’s a
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place of solitude for him as a place
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that he could go and he could get alone
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and he could listen other people have
23:13
had listening spots or what mark
23:15
Patterson called a whispering spot some
23:18
geniuses in our day had places where
23:20
they would get alone with their thoughts
23:22
Thomas Edison for example had a thinking
23:24
chair Alexander Graham Bell had a
23:26
dreaming place Henry Thoreau skipped
23:29
stones on the Walden Pond there were
23:32
places for these people another genius I
23:34
know in my life by the name of Lynn
23:36
heathco has her listening spot she sets
23:39
her Bible on our end table at home and
23:41
that serves as both a reminder to she
23:44
and I that we need to be praying and
23:46
getting in the word at daily it’s also a
23:49
place where in the wee morning hours she
23:51
can go and she can open up the word and
23:53
she can read and she can pray and she
23:56
can be alone there with her God and
23:57
nourish that relationship right it also
23:59
serves by the way it’s a fantastic
24:01
example for our kids the point is that
24:04
you need a place right you need a place
24:06
where you know you won’t be interrupted
24:08
you need a place where you know it’ll be
24:09
quiet enough for you to think clearly
24:11
and not only you can pray with clarity
24:13
but you can listen for a clear response
24:16
from a God who does in fact speak here’s
24:20
the second thing we can do this I think
24:22
the second thing we can do is we can
24:23
check our motives when we pray we not
24:25
only need to get to that quiet place but
24:27
I think from time to time we should
24:29
check our motives Urban’s specific times
24:30
in my life where I’m praying for
24:32
something and I’m praying for something
24:33
and I’m praying for something and I
24:35
realized you know what why am i praying
24:38
for this and there come those moments
24:39
when I just ask God Lord my heart is
24:42
confusing my heart will lie to me nine
24:45
times out of ten
24:47
god I want you to speak to me now about
24:49
why I’m praying for this God search my
24:52
heart and know me father God tell me
24:56
things about myself that not even I know
24:58
I want to know why I’m praying I want to
25:01
know that I’m coming before you in
25:02
humility and then in all things I’m
25:04
asking for your name to be hallowed and
25:06
glorified throughout the earth it’s a
25:08
good thing to check your motives it’s a
25:10
better thing even to ask God to do that
25:14
for you
25:14
and here’s the third thing slow down I
25:16
don’t know about you but when I get
25:18
nervous I speed up right I talk a little
25:21
faster
25:21
I sometimes insert cliches rather than
25:26
clear thoughts because I’m a little bit
25:28
tense I’m a little bit uptight Jesus
25:31
says when you pray slow down
25:34
talk to God as though he’s your father
25:36
don’t go babbling on and on like the
25:39
pagans because prayer is intended to be
25:42
about what relationship prayer is
25:45
predicated on relationship when we pray
25:48
we can pray authentically knowing that
25:51
our Father God is listening and we can
25:54
expect him to answer what’s more we can
25:57
expect him to speak we’ll just give
26:00
ourselves that margin I think one reason
26:02
that Jesus talks about a private place
26:04
is not just we get this place of
26:06
spiritual clarity but frankly because of
26:09
the danger of hypocrisy there is the
26:11
sense in which Jesus is saying if you
26:14
wouldn’t be willing to do it in private
26:15
then maybe don’t do it at all in other
26:19
words if you give a gift to someone if
26:22
you wouldn’t be willing to give that
26:23
anonymously if their praise matters more
26:26
than the gift then don’t bother giving
26:28
it because that’s not a gift that God
26:30
really cares to receive Jesus says if
26:32
you’re praying a prayer and you wouldn’t
26:34
be willing to go to your closet and pray
26:37
it privately
26:38
then maybe you’re praying with the wrong
26:40
motivation or maybe for that matter we
26:42
could say the same exact thing about
26:45
fasting check out what Jesus says in
26:48
Matthew chapter 6 verses 16 through 18
26:50
as he starts talking about fasting and
26:52
when you fast
26:54
don’t make it obvious as the hypocrites
26:56
do for they try to look what miserable
26:58
and disheveled at so people will admire
27:02
them for their fasting I tell you the
27:05
truth that is the what only reward they
27:09
will ever get here’s Jesus instructions
27:11
check this out
27:12
but when you fast comb your hair and
27:16
wash your face Jesus is saying that by
27:19
the way forever a customary reason
27:22
people would come to the dinner table
27:24
and they would anoint themselves they
27:25
would wash their face they would comb
27:27
their hair they would make themselves
27:28
presentable effectively it was the
27:31
equivalent of putting on ancient
27:32
deodorant because people stink and those
27:34
times and the odor could spoil
27:36
everyone’s appetite and so Jesus says
27:39
hey when you fast just go about your
27:41
business just show up like it’s any
27:43
other day
27:44
don’t make a big scene about it and
27:46
certainly don’t be like the Pharisees
27:47
and try to make it look like you’re
27:49
absolutely miserable Jesus says but when
27:52
you fast comb your hair and wash your
27:54
face then he says no one will notice
27:57
that you are fasting except your father
27:59
who knows what you do in private right
28:03
knows what’s going on in your heart
28:07
Jesus is saying and your father who sees
28:10
everything
28:11
rewards you he’ll honor that he’ll bless
28:14
that again there are three points and
28:16
spiritual discipline we are told God God
28:18
will bless us he will bless our giving
28:21
he will bless our praying and he will
28:23
bless our fasting and so when we do this
28:26
with the right kind of motivation and
28:29
the right kind of expectations we can
28:31
expect God’s blessing and return of
28:34
course when it comes to fasting there’s
28:37
not only some awkwardness there’s also a
28:39
whole lot of misconceptions I think in
28:41
the Christian Church in particular we’ve
28:43
not been taught well how to fast what’s
28:46
more why to fast why would i fast in the
28:48
first place well let’s answer that
28:50
misnomer right off the bat here fasting
28:53
doesn’t serve to change God’s mind speed
28:56
up his answer or manipulate his
29:00
in other words we don’t fast in order to
29:02
get God’s attention or to get his answer
29:05
to convince him that we’re right and he
29:08
needs to do everything we say and so
29:10
we’re gonna do this very big spiritual
29:12
thing and it’s gonna convince God to
29:14
give us what we want or need
29:16
instead fasting prepares us to hear from
29:19
God prepares us to hear from God because
29:22
we believe what prayer is conversational
29:25
predicated on relationship we believe
29:27
that we can not only pray to a God who
29:29
hears but a God who speaks therefore
29:34
when we fast we’re preparing our hearts
29:36
to hear a word from the Lord by
29:39
temporarily laying aside something that
29:41
vies for our attention or devotion in
29:44
other words I’m abstaining from
29:46
something so that God can have my
29:50
complete attention there are things in
29:52
my life that I’m fully dependent on
29:54
things like food for example love to eat
29:57
right maybe a little bit more dependent
30:00
on food than I should be I put that
30:02
aside and what I’m saying is God I need
30:05
you more than I need my daily bread I
30:09
need you more than I need food God in
30:11
all these things that I depend on I’m
30:15
gonna kind of push those into the
30:16
periphery so I can focus on you God all
30:19
of these things that vie for my
30:21
attention I’m gonna take a break from
30:23
for just a moment so that I can hear you
30:26
speak clearly that’s why we fast so that
30:31
we can have a better connection to the
30:33
Lord our God there’s some other
30:34
misconceptions of course about fasting
30:36
Jesus addresses each of these here in
30:38
Matthew chapter 6 the first is we don’t
30:40
fast to make ourselves miserable right
30:43
the second we don’t fast for the purpose
30:45
of penance that is that when we’ve
30:46
sinned and we need to make things right
30:48
we don’t say oh I’ve got to give up all
30:50
this stuff in my life so that God will
30:52
forgive me God forgives us you heard Ben
30:55
say earlier not because of what we’ve
30:58
done but because of the work of Jesus
31:00
Christ on the cross it’s by grace that
31:03
we’ve been saved when we believed
31:05
in Christ Jesus when we believed in the
31:07
gospel therefore we’re forgiven for all
31:09
the same reasons we don’t need to fast
31:11
in order to be forgiven and of course
31:13
that means that we don’t fast for
31:15
righteousness sake right we don’t fast
31:17
speak to be made right in our
31:19
relationship with God we don’t fast in
31:21
order to be righteous before men
31:24
ultimately the reason we fast is to draw
31:28
closer to God so draw nearer to God
31:32
that’s why we fast we fast to make
31:35
ourselves spiritually available for
31:38
God’s speaking and if there’s some
31:41
particular area in your life where you
31:43
really need to hear the voice of God I
31:45
would encourage you not to only be
31:47
faithful in prayer
31:48
I’d being I’d encourage you to be
31:51
faithful in fasting I think a lot of
31:53
times in the church we’re guilty of
31:55
saying no you’ve got something that you
31:56
need pray about it you’ve got something
31:59
that you need assurance of or clarity
32:02
for pray about it I think Jesus would
32:05
have said you need to pray and fast
32:07
about that if you’re expecting God to
32:10
answer something if you need a word from
32:12
the Lord then you need to put yourself
32:13
in the position of spiritual attention
32:16
spiritual availability and that means
32:19
that maybe there’s a few things you
32:21
abstain from in your life so that you
32:25
you can make yourself available not
32:28
because you’re wanting to get God’s
32:30
attention right but because you want him
32:33
to have yours you want to give God your
32:37
full undivided attention so let’s talk
32:39
about a few ways that you could fast of
32:42
course there’s the traditional way
32:43
fasting there’s a complete fast if
32:45
you’ve got your notes out you can fill
32:46
these in these are also available online
32:48
by the way but there is a complete fast
32:50
that means that you abstain from all
32:52
food for a period of time some people
32:55
will do that based on a day 24 hour
32:59
literal period of a day Sun up til
33:02
sunrise the next day 24 hours midnight
33:05
to midnight however you might define
33:07
that the point is that you abstain from
33:09
all food not things like water liquids
33:12
that kind of thing things that you would
33:13
need in a 24 hour period you’d give
33:15
yourself those I know there are some
33:17
people who are already fasting here you
33:19
started fasting last week when we
33:20
started 21 days of Prayer and you’ve
33:23
committed to a full week or even some
33:25
people 2 weeks of fasting I would say
33:29
that if you’re going to try a complete
33:30
fast at least try it for the very first
33:31
time for just one day for a 24-hour
33:34
period defined by however you want to do
33:36
that in fact someone said to me you know
33:38
what do I do if I know that I’m gonna
33:40
have dinner guests but I went too fast
33:42
and I said you know what maybe you skip
33:45
dinner on Monday you know and you fast
33:48
until dinner on Tuesday and then that
33:50
first meal you can join around with
33:52
friends because they were concerned that
33:54
they would be kind of Jesus living
33:56
example of someone who came to the table
33:59
and made a spiritual spectacle of a
34:00
spiritual discipline that’s one way can
34:02
exercise a complete fast another way
34:04
that you can fast is 3 selective fast a
34:07
selective fast this kind of fast
34:09
involves removing certain elements from
34:11
your diet one example is the Daniel Fast
34:14
and the Book of Daniel Daniel fasted
34:17
from all meat sweets and bread and he
34:20
only ate
34:22
for vegetables for a period of time
34:24
that’s one way to do it select it fast
34:26
it’s a Daniel fast a third way is a
34:28
partial fast a partial fast what’s a
34:31
partial fast well this fast is sometimes
34:33
called the Jewish fast and it involves
34:35
abstaining from eating any food of any
34:38
kind in the morning until the evening so
34:41
you could literally fast from about 6
34:43
a.m. until about 3 p.m. 4 p.m. you know
34:46
from sunup to sundown you could just
34:48
observe the fast throughout the day I’m
34:51
not gonna fast or I’m not gonna eat
34:53
until I get to the dinner table and I’m
34:55
gonna thank God for what he’s provided
34:57
me and that’s gonna be the ending of my
34:59
fast another way that you can fast of
35:01
course is a soul fast and some of us
35:03
have special dietary needs some of us
35:05
have life circumstances that wouldn’t
35:07
allow us to forego food for a period of
35:09
time and that’s certainly understood
35:11
another way that you can fast is by
35:12
giving up something material in your
35:14
life I know from time to time I fast
35:16
from technology because I’m a technology
35:18
addict I love social media I love to be
35:22
entertained by you your memes your
35:25
videos are hilarious and I love them and
35:27
I find myself occupied by my facebook
35:31
timeline by Instagram by Twitter going
35:33
through all of these feeds laughing
35:35
reading being interested my attention
35:38
constantly being consumed so from time
35:41
to time I go on a social media fast I go
35:43
through technology fast I go through a
35:45
TV fast right like the Colts just got
35:48
beat yesterday so might as well give up
35:50
TV for a while you know go in my cave
35:52
but hey so that’s an option right you
35:55
can do that the important thing is by
35:57
the way I find is that when you fast
36:00
particularly when you fast from
36:01
something like technology it’s important
36:03
that when you give up something you
36:05
replace it with something else
36:07
particularly a better spiritual
36:09
discipline Jesus tells this crazy story
36:13
later on in the book of Matthew about
36:15
how when we avoid ourselves of something
36:18
we should be intentional about what we
36:20
fill ourselves back up
36:22
because there’s kind of the backfill of
36:23
all the spiritual junk that comes into
36:25
play I could give up something and
36:27
easily replace it with something else so
36:29
I want to be intentional about what I do
36:31
so when I go on for example a social
36:33
media fast rather than scrolling my
36:34
Facebook Timeline now I’m just gonna say
36:36
you know what I’m not gonna do social
36:38
mean I’m gonna delete all those apps on
36:39
my phone so I’m not tempted instead I’m
36:42
just gonna put my Bible app on the phone
36:43
and when I have the urge just to blow up
36:45
my phone and read something I’m gonna
36:46
read the Bible you know when I give up
36:49
television for a period of time instead
36:51
of doing that you know I’m gonna read a
36:53
Christian author I’m gonna read a book
36:55
that’s gonna help me mature in my faith
36:56
I’m gonna read the Bible I’m gonna enjoy
36:58
God’s Word I’m that’s gonna be not only
37:00
my nourishment but also my joy I’m gonna
37:02
replace something that was stealing my
37:05
attention that I was devoted to I’m
37:07
gonna replace it with something better
37:09
that is a spiritual discipline so so
37:11
here’s my question as we wrap up this
37:12
morning how are you gonna fast this week
37:15
what are you fasting about what is God
37:17
putting on your heart right now I would
37:19
ask you to at least give one day of
37:21
fasting this week to something that
37:23
God’s laying on your heart and I would
37:24
ask that you would also fast for our
37:26
church I’d ask that as you pray for our
37:28
church that you would fast for our
37:29
church as we’ve presented these needs
37:31
before you that you’d fast about those
37:33
things that you would ask God to give us
37:34
a sense of spiritual clarity and
37:36
confidence about our next steps as a
37:38
congregation I’d love for you to do that
37:40
with us my question what are you fasting
37:42
about this week how you gonna fast yeah
37:44
we’re gonna fast about when you’re gonna
37:45
do that this week commit yourself to
37:48
that and here’s what’s cool if you do it
37:50
for the right reasons
37:51
not because of pressure right not
37:54
because of compulsion and certainly not
37:55
because of pride God will bless that do
37:59
you believe that the God
38:00
we’ll bless that let’s pray father God
38:02
we love you so much we thank you for
38:05
these moments God when we can come
38:07
together as a congregation and we can
38:09
just connect to your word God you