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Prayer - Approach Confidently Matthew 6v5-8 & Hebrews 4v9-16

Intro. - prayer day to seek God for this term. Sermon on the way..... throw away line - Prayer shaping history. • • • • •

Ignite our hearts fresh vision for prayer. Refresh our expectations of what happens when we pray Draw us together, - new connections and encourage new prayer partnerships. Try out new things. - Fresh ways of praying haven’t tried before. Shape the future of our church - Prayer sets the way forwards.

Two services. - preach same at both 11am - Baptisms & All Age services children in. - gives a few extra sermon slots at 9.1tam to enjoy. Range of different preachers, share honesty about their prayer life. We're all different & pray differently. If my relationship with God looks exactly the same as yours, then neither of us are being authentically ourselves with God. Learn from one another. Lots of coming & going... Stay engaged. – talks on our website. Podcasts. Etc. Pray What is prayer? Relating to God Very simple - Above all RELATIONAL. Truths, principles, new things to try... all good. But its about knowing God, relating to him.

Ourselves Learn more about who we are How we best express ourselves & concentrate How God sees us, (essential)

God Learn more about Him. Because what we know of God shapes prayer Images of God - screens. Its all about him & us.

let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence that we may receive mercy & find grace to help us in our time of need. Approach Prayer begins when we choose to go near to God. Choice - discipline. That’s the heart choice - the desire, the vision. Choosing to approach. When we choose not to pray - we stay at a distance from God. Psalms of ascent. - I was glad... lets go. - Let’s choose to go and meet with God. Greek tense; - Let us again and again approach the throne.... prayer is daily. regular. Keep on going, keep on approaching. We slip away. Summer.... routine is gone. - More time & Space - but how connected do we feel? What stops us approaching..? Matt 6v6 - go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. As a child - I was quite legalistic... Had to shut the door to pray. Daniel 6 - Daniel in the Lions den. - Opens his window towards Jerusalem to pray... thought you had to open your window too.... there’s no legalism in Prayer.. - not rules. But, its a good picture of what it means to pray. Shut the door - close out the distractions, get alone, get away. Open the window - Look beyond where we are, let the fresh air in, look towards Jerusalem. (exile - look to where hope) Prayer begins with Choice to approach God Physical factors. - work, family... - shut the door.

Emotional factors. - open the window... Get out of our preoccupation of how we feel..

What do we approach - Throne heavenly imagery - God throne-room • God is King • God is powerful He’s i/c He’s majestic. • God has victory over his enemies. Chariot Footstool. (Ps 110v1) Whatever gets you down, whatever tempts you to stop approaching. Whatever lies to you consistently, oppresses you. VICTORY. of Grace little experience of throne rooms. - Intimidating place. Approaching the ruler the one who is i/c. The throne-room - is a place of welcome, love, acceptance, generosity, unmerited favour, safety. If this were not true - throne - far less exciting truth. Throne of Grace Very foundation of prayer in that phrase. Throne & Grace. Essential to hold both together. - Good & Powerful. He’s the King. & He accepts us.

Confidence crucial to prayer life. - confidence.

if we’re not confident - we won’t approach the throne. [Two nervous teenage girls - wanting to ask for an autograph... “No you ask”, “No you do it...” I couldn’t possibly” ] Personally - quite nervous - like to send Nells to ask directions... Grace Outpouring.... two elderly ladies - first prayers story. Essential to having a life-giving relationship of prayer = honesty. 1. Honesty No need to try and perform. when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners. Matt 6v5 Hypocrites - actors wearing masks. Internal & External. There’s no need for masks to cover up whats inside (Hypocrites)

v12 the word of God is living and active, sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul & spirit, joints and marrow, it judges the thoughts and attitudes of our hearts. v13 Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Hebs 4v12-13 he sees it all. So there’s no point in hiding from him, there’s no reason why we can’t be fully honest and open and direct with God. He’s gracious and loving & accepting. He’s made forgiveness possible. He knows everything anyway. I love reconciliation. - I love the bit in films or stories, when two people have been drifting apart, unable to say things to one another, keeping secrets - hiding and deceiving. & then it all comes out. - There’s a full scale reconnection. always brings a tear to my eye. - Because its the heart of God.

God doesn’t want your carefully crafted prayers - or your best behaviour. He wants an honest, open, let it all out - Relationship with you. more good news... We are no longer snivelling sinners We were sinners - we were dead in our sin. Colossians - Rescued us from dominion of darkness - brought into kingdom of Son. We’re now children of God. - Welcomed in. 1. Rest Confidence is part of rest as new covenant - children of God. His Presence is a place of rest.

Hebs 4v9 There remains then, a Sabbath rest for the people of God. Until we know we can be honest & accepted by God.We won’t enter his rest. When we’re afraid of being told off, or rejected. or we’re ashamed of what we’ve done & in angst over it. Then we can’t find that place of rest. Prayer - is finding rest. The Sabbath - God’s gift a day of rest and a day of His presence. The two are completely linked. Through history of course - its become a religious pressure. It was one of the main points of conflict between Jesus and the Pharisees. Pharisees - religious duty, law, strict rules. - Sabbath Police. - Mustn’t break the law - God will be cross. Jesus - day to be with Father - to enjoy him, to focus not on work, but on relationship - on being together. My soul finds rest in God alone.

Sometimes - we need to find rest - in order to find God. Need to find the rest of God - so that we can discover the rest of God. God living life at a different pace. - Need to slow down, to meet with him. [we’ll talk about this more at the term goes ahead] Thirdly - Our confidence is based on 3. Faith Hebs 11v1 Being sure of what we hope for & certain of what we do not see Prayer is about what is unseen. - about engaging with heaven. • •

Prayer is always an exercise of faith. Asking. Based on what?

A. The work of Jesus. Great High Priest who has broken through the heavens

A. The Power of the Spirit. Romans 8 - helps us to pray. Acts 4v13 - Peter & John, boldness. (same word) look back at v8

A. The Character of the Father we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.

A. Our true identity. To enter with confidence - we need to believe that we are fully accepted.