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May 05, 2019

Sacred Anchor

Sacred Anchor

Passage: Matthew 6:7-15

Speaker: Patrick Lafferty

Series: The Highest Good

Keywords: faith, grace, matthew 6, sermon on the mount, highest good, patrick lafferty, mills river church, prayer

By the prayer Jesus taught His disciples to pray, we take praying as both a given, and as something that needs guidance. What guidance do we (still) need if we are to believe it to be a given--a non-negotiable--of taking refuge in God?


Pre-Service Text: Matthew 6:7-8
Call To Worship: Psalm 100:1-5 ESV
Old Testament Reading: Psalm 86:1-10
Sermon Title: Sacred Anchor
Central Text: Matthew 6:7-15
Benediction: Galatians 1:3-5 ESV
Post-Service Text: 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

Download the printable Prayer Guide

  05.05.19 Sermon Notes

Fasting & Prayer


Readings & Scripture

Pre-Service Text: Matthew 6:7-8
7 “And when you pray, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do, for they think that they will be heard for their many words. 8 Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.”

Call To Worship: Psalm 100:1-5 ESV
LEADER: Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth! 2 Serve the Lord with gladness!
Come into his presence with singing! 3 Know that the Lord, he is God! It is he who made us, and we are his, we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture. 4 Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise! Give thanks to him; bless his name!

ALL: 5 For the Lord is good; his steadfast love endures forever, and his faithfulness to all generations.

Old Testament Reading: Psalm 86:1-10 A Prayer of David
1 Hear me, Lord, and answer me,
for I am poor and needy.
2 Guard my life, for I am faithful to you;
save your servant who trusts in you.
You are my God;
3 have mercy on me, Lord,
for I call to you all day long.
4 Bring joy to your servant, Lord,
for I put my trust in you.
5 You, Lord, are forgiving and good,
abounding in love to all who call to you.
6 Hear my prayer, Lord;
listen to my cry for mercy.
7 When I am in distress, I call to you,
because you answer me.
8 Among the gods there is none like you, Lord;
no deeds can compare with yours.
9 All the nations you have made
will come and worship before you, Lord;
they will bring glory to your name.
10 For you are great and do marvelous deeds;
you alone are God.

Central Text: Matthew 6:7-15
And when you pray, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do, for they think that they will be heard for their many words. 8 Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him. 9 Pray then like this:
“Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name.
10 Your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
11 Give us this day our daily bread,
12 and forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.
13 And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.

14 For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, 15 but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.

Benediction: Galatians 1:3-5 ESV
LEADER: 3 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ, 4 who gave himself for our sins to deliver us from the present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father, 5 to whom be the glory forever and ever.

ALL: Amen.

Post-Service Text: 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
16 Rejoice always, 17 pray continually, 18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus

Related Scripture

  • Job 21:15
  • Ecclesiastes 5:2
  • Psalm 32:6
  • Proverbs 30:18
  • *Matthew 18:23-35
  • Luke 6:28
  • Luke 7:47-49
  • John 17
  • Ephesians 6:16-19
  • 1 Thessalonians 5:16-19

Discussion Questions & Applications:

  1. Does praying come naturally to you, or do you find it more a thing to submit to rather than naturally turn to? Why?
  2. What are typical reasons people might find praying a challenge?
  3. What are several moments we find Jesus praying, and what prompted them? How do His reasons for praying prompt us to pray--even if they don’t fully answer our questions about praying?
  4. Which have you found more helpful to praying--when you do so alone or with others?
  5. How can we as a church be of assistance to your as you learn to believe (again?) that prayer is, as Calvin put it, a “sacred anchor”?


  • If prayer is anything, it is everything. - Alexander Whyte
  • . . .a man discovers the real condition of his spiritual life when he examines himself in private, when he is alone with God. - David Martyn Lloyd-Jones
  • Pray as you can, and do not try to pray as you can't. Take yourself as you find yourself--and start from that. . .The more you pray, the better it goes. - Abbot John Chapman
  • But if God is so good as you represent Him, and if He knows all that we need, and better far than we do ourselves, why should it be necessary to ask Him for anything?" I answer, "What if He knows prayer to be the thing we need first and most? What if the main object in God's idea of prayer be the supplying of our great, our endless need - the need of Himself? Hunger may drive the runaway child home, and he may or may not be fed at once, but he needs his mother more than his dinner. Communion with God is the one need of the soul beyond all other need: prayer is the beginning of that communion, and some need is the motive of that prayer. - George MacDonald
  • And why should the good of anyone depend on the prayer of another? I can only answer with the return question, “Why should my love be powerless to help another?” - George MacDonald
  • . . . prayer ought to be the fuel of the spirit, the fuel that gives us the strength and the hope that alone can sustain work for justice and peace. “Lord, make me an instrument of Your peace” — make me an instrument. Set me to work. In these dark days let me at least light a candle. - Alan Jacobs
  • Earth is Forgiveness School. You might as well start at the dinner table. That way, you can do this work in comfortable pants. - Anne Lamott
  • There is no serious prayer for forgiveness except on the lips of a forgiver. - Adolf Schlatter



  • Prayer, by Tim Keller
  • A Praying Life, by Paul Miller

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