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Posts Tagged ‘Lord’s Prayer’

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Learning Prayer by Counter-Points & Points:

When we pray, we offer up our thoughts to God. Prayer can be done in public locations, in private locations, and silently in our inner beings in-between thoughts while going about our day to day activities. Prayers range from sharing our concerns with God, asking about the future, seeking justice, desiring discernment, pursuing guidance, appealing for help, and showing appreciation.

What does the Bible say about prayer as it is supposed to be done, and how it is not to be done?

Hypocrite Counter-Point Examples:

The Bible instructs Jesus Christ’s followers on how not to pray to God and on how to pray also. The ultimate aim is to show us how to pray in the context of a living faith. Since it is natural to come at prayer with many of our own & our culture’s assumptions & approaches, God’s inspired scriptures take extra care to showcase the prayer life God desires.

Matthew 6:5-6 (ESV): 5 “And when you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites. For they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, that they may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. 6 But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.

Hypocrite Key Points:

  • Prayer is not about looking good in front of others.
  • Prayer is about turning to God personally.
  • God created people as relational beings.
  • God desires each person to have a meaningful relationship with God.
  • God intends for prayer to draw us away from hypocracy.

Hypocrite Discussion Points / Questions:

  • Is it ok to lead a group in prayer? Explain.
  • Describe circumstances under which it allowable to be seen by others when you pray.
  • How is God able to see us when we pray in secret places? [Hint: Check out the Universe Tools Paradigm Presentation later]

Verbosity Counter-Point Example:

God already knows what you want, so there is little point in taking extra steps to inefficiently communicate what you want to God.

Matthew 6:7-8 (ESV): 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.

Verbosity Key Points:

  • Using many words to pray to God makes your prayers needlessly lengthier.
  • Be real with God, as God already knows what you need and want.

Verbosity Discussion Points / Questions:

  • Are shorter prayers always better? Why or Why Not?
  • Does God know what you need more than you yourself knows? Explain.

Lord’s Prayer Example:

Jesus provided a prayer, known as the Lord’s Prayer, which serves as a example of how to pray our own prayers, covering similar themes.

Matthew 6:9-12 (ESV): 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.

Lord’s Prayer Key Points:

  • Joining the Christian Faith is like joining a heavenly family, where God is the Father
  • God’s name is to be honored, because of all God has done & continues to do
  • God desires us to seek our voyage on Earth to be in line with God’s will in heaven
  • God knows our daily needs and it’s reasonable to ask God to allocate provisions
  • Forgiveness of others is central to our faith & relationship with God
  • Because of personal weaknesses, we ask God’s intervention in keeping us away from temptation & evil

Lord’s Prayer Discussion Points / Questions:

  • How does our earthly father / family compare to our heavenly Father / Family?
  • List ways can we show honor to God’s name & reputation.
  • Even if you pray a lot, will God forgive your sins if you do not forgive others their sins?
  • Besides in a private location like our closest, how else can our prayers be private between us and God?

Persecuted Counter-Intuitive Prayer Example:

Intuitively, many people would normally be inclined to offer up prayers to God to punish their enemies, especially those who have caused them harm through persecution. Counter-intuitively, God instructs us to pray for our enemies out of love for them, which implies a concern for their reform & eternal well-being. Even personal human enemies are created in God’s image.

Matthew 5:43-48 (ESV): 43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. 46 For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? 47 And if you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? 48 You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.

Persecution Key Points:

  • God instructs us to Love Our Enemies rather than Hate Our Enemies
  • God commands us to Pray for those who persecute us out of love for them

Persecution Discussion Points / Questions:

  • How willing are you to pray that your enemies will come to know God the Father, Son Jesus Christ, and Holy Spirit and repent of their sins and be transformed inwardly?
  • Discuss the good that would come into many nations in the world, if each resident were to come to know & follow Jesus Christ personally.
  • God provides sunlight for both righteous and evil people. Discuss how this informs behaviors of those providing products & services to others with different religious & moral beliefs.

Good Gifts Prayer Points:

Make a habit of coming to God in prayer about your needs, because God is already inclined to give good gifts to his children.

Luke 11:5-13 (ESV): 5 And he said to them, “Which of you who has a friend will go to him at midnight and say to him, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves, 6 for a friend of mine has arrived on a journey, and I have nothing to set before him’; 7 and he will answer from within, ‘Do not bother me; the door is now shut, and my children are with me in bed. I cannot get up and give you anything’? 8 I tell you, though he will not get up and give him anything because he is his friend, yet because of his impudence he will rise and give him whatever he needs. 9 And I tell you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. 10 For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened. 11 What father among you, if his son asks for a fish, will instead of a fish give him a serpent; 12 or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? 13 If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!”

Good Gifts Key Points:

  • As Heavenly Father, God wants to provide his children/followers what is good for them.
  • Ask God for the good gift of the Holy Spirit.

Good Gifts Discussion Points / Questions:

  • Is God providing a blank check when he says “For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened”? Explain.
  • What would those who properly follow God under the Holy Spirit ask for, and not ask for?

Persistent Prayer Points:

When something is important to you, it is reasonable to expect you’ll come to God in prayer persistently about it.

Luke 18:1-8 (ESV): 1 And he told them a parable to the effect that they ought always to pray and not lose heart. 2 He said, “In a certain city there was a judge who neither feared God nor respected man. 3 And there was a widow in that city who kept coming to him and saying, ‘Give me justice against my adversary.’ 4 For a while he refused, but afterward he said to himself, ‘Though I neither fear God nor respect man, 5 yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will give her justice, so that she will not beat me down by her continual coming.'” 6 And the Lord said, “Hear what the unrighteous judge says. 7 And will not God give justice to his elect, who cry to him day and night? Will he delay long over them? 8 I tell you, he will give justice to them speedily. Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?”

Persistence Key Points:

  • Be persistent with God across different prayer sessions.
  • Pray during the daytime and evening too.
  • Remain faithful to God even as you Ask God for justice speedily, and wait for your prayers to be answered.

Persistence Discussion Points / Questions:

  • Does being persistent mean repeating the same words over & over again?
  • Provide examples of what is meant & what is not meant to ask God for justice.

Righteousness & Forgiveness Prayer Points:

Many people have trouble seeing their own sin, even though they find it easy to point to others’ sins & imperfections. In contrast, many other people see ways in which they’ve done wrong & need God’s forgiveness.

Luke 11:9-14 (ESV): 9 He also told this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and treated others with contempt: 10 “Two men went up into the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. 11 The Pharisee, standing by himself, prayed thus: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. 12 I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I get.’ 13 But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even lift up his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, a sinner!’ 14 I tell you, this man went down to his house justified, rather than the other. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted.”

Matthew 6:14-15 (ESV): 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.

Righteousness & Forgiveness Key Points:

  • Before God, all people except Jesus have sinned.
  • When we come to God, admit our sin.
  • Pray to God for forgiveness and to redirect your heart anew to repent and follow God.
  • Make sure you also forgive others so God will also forgive your sins.

Your Prayer Journey:

Our Prayer Journey is meant to lead us far away from hypocrisy to recognition of our sins, with a heart leading to repentance & forgiveness. Prayer is not meant to be an abundance of wordy verbose words, but instead sincere communication with God. Prayer is meant to recognize God’s Greatness, his ability to help us, and to direct us to desire God’s will to become increasingly more prevalent on earth, including the administration of justice. God is ready to provide good gifts like the Holy Spirit to all people who follow God the Father, Son Jesus Christ, and Holy Spirit. Prayer is meant to call us to be forgiving of others, and to love & pray for others, even enemies.

The Bible has much more to share about how to pray, so take some time to search the Bible (for example, on websites like https://www.biblegateway.com).

Credits:

The Closet image visual with this post is Courtesy Microsoft Corporation (Microsoft.com).

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"The Blue Marble" is a famous photog...

Image via Wikipedia

Acknowledging our incomplete understanding of heaven and its’ ordinances, while looking forward to Jesus’ reign on earth by God’s power, we ask in the Lord’s prayer for God’s will to be done on earth as in heaven, understanding God is holy and heaven far exceeds earth.

Job 38:33 (ESV):

33  Do you know the ordinances of the heavens? Can you establish their rule on the earth?

Matthew 6:9-10 (ESV):

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.

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Look at Earth from the Heaven

Image via Wikipedia

In the Lord’s prayer, people pray for God’s will to be done on Earth as in Heaven. Counter-intuitively, Jesus’ followers on Earth are allowed to set parameters of what is permitted in Heaven, consistent with God’s will.

Matthew 16:18-20 (ESV):

17 And Jesus answered him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven. 18 And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. 19 I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.”

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