Summary: Today, I'll be speaking on the topic of prayer...

Review - The Purpose of this Series:

The Bible says that developing and maintaining spiritual disciplines is God’s will for you.

"...that you may become mature Christians and may fulfill God's will for you."

So far in this series we have looked at the topics of “How to Get a Grasp On Your Bible” and “The Habit of a Daily Time with God.” In the messages on the “habit of spending a daily time with God” we looked at how we might begin and maintain a daily quiet time. This is where we spend time with God by reading and reflecting on Scripture and praying.

Today we will look more in-depth on the topic of prayer in our lesson called, “The Habit of Prayer - Talking with God”.

The Habit of Prayer - Talking with God

In Romans 12 Paul exhorts Christians to offer themselves to God as a result of the blessings of God given them in Christ Jesus. One of the offerings listed in this chapter is the habit of prayer.

"Base your happiness on your hope in Christ. When trials come, endure them patiently; steadfastly maintain THE HABIT OF PRAYER." Rom. 12:12 (Ph)

A June 29, 2000 article entitled, For Seniors, Prayer is Good for Body and Soul by Kathleen Fackelmann, of USA TODAY cited a study that reported that relatively healthy seniors who pray or meditate may add years to their lives.

"This is one of the first studies showing that people who pray live longer," says Harold Koenig, one of the researchers at Duke University Medical Center in Durham, N.C. Koenig and colleagues describe the study in the Journal of Gerontology.

Koenig and his colleagues studied nearly 4,000 mostly Christian men and women 65 and older from 1986 to 1992. The team asked the seniors about health problems and whether the seniors prayed, meditated or read the Bible. Researchers discovered that relatively healthy seniors who said they rarely or never prayed ran about a 50% greater risk of dying during the six-year study compared with seniors who prayed at least once a month. People who prayed once a month got the same protection as those who prayed more often, the researchers say.

In another article called, Praying Aids Mental Health, we find that people who pray frequently have better mental health.

The British study reports that “People who pray frequently are less likely to suffer from depression and anxiety.”

A study by psychologists from Sheffield Hallam University looks into what aspects of religious observance are particularly likely to influence mental well-being. They studied 251 men and 223 women aged between 18 and 29, and measured their reasons for having a religious belief, the frequency with which they attended church and their tendency to depression.

Women were more likely to be religious than men, but for both the frequency with which they prayed was strongly associated with fewer symptoms of depression and anxiety. The researchers, led by Dr John Maltby, say their findings suggest that the relationship between mental health and religion is linked to the way people use prayer to deal with stress.

Today we will look briefly at a spiritual habit that can add years to your life—the habit of prayer.

(Mat 6:5 NKJV) "And when you pray, you shall not be like the hypocrites. For they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the corners of the streets, that they may be seen by men. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward.

(Mat 6:6 NKJV) "But you, when you pray, go into your room, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly.

(Mat 6:7 NKJV) "And when you pray, do not use vain repetitions as the heathen do. For they think that they will be heard for their many words.

(Mat 6:8 NKJV) "Therefore do not be like them. For your Father knows the things you have need of before you ask Him.

In Matthew 6, Jesus gives His disciples a lesson on prayer. In verses 5-8, Jesus teaches His disciples how to approach prayer with the correct attitude. In verses 9-13 He teaches His disciples how to approach prayer using the correct structure or model.

I. Approach Prayer With the Right Attitude

Be real.

"When you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, For they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by men." (vs. 5)

Don't try to impress others. “KJV prayers”

Don't try to impress God.

When my 3 year old daughter Rosie calls upstairs to me asking for candy, she doesn’t beat around the bush with flowery words like, “Daddy, would you do me the favor of gathering for me some corn syrup and sugar combined with artificial and natural flavors, and hydrogenated oil and carnauba wax?”

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