In our last class of 2015, we wrapped up our study of the Lord’s Prayer by considering how we could look at the Lord’s prayer as a New Year’s Prayer.
The participants in the class made some great observations:
“Forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors”. The beginning of the year is a great time to forgive things in the past, let go of hard feelings that are hindering our relationships, and make a fresh start.
“Deliver us from evil”. We live in a scary world with active shooters, radical Islamic terrorists, and all the daily dangers associated with life in a busy, congested, fast-paced communities. We pray for God’s protection from both physical and spiritual (“lead us not into temptation”) evil.
“Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven”. 2016 is an important election year in the US. Elsewhere we are instructed to pray for kings and all who are in authority that there may be peace. We are not to give up on this world. Prayer can fix this and we should be committed to doing what we can to make life on earth more as it is in heaven.
Perhaps the most practical point made in class was to not overlook the obvious: We need to pray! Jesus said, “In this manner, therefore, pray”. Maybe the best “resolution” we can make, the one that has the most power to transform us, is to be sure to pray!
Last night we began a brief study of the Lord’s Prayer recorded in Matthew 6 and Luke 11.
Jesus taught to begin with “Our Father in heaven, Hallowed be Your name”.
In this salutation we see two reminders of who God is. He is the Holy God in Heaven and He is our Father. That is who we petition in prayer!
How do these two truths give us confidence and motivate us to pray?
Jesus continues his words of comfort. In this reading he assures them of his love he tells them he no longer considers them servants but friends. Two times in this passage He tells them again to love one another (12, 17).
An additional comfort is the promise concerning prayer in verse 16. Note that this was also stated and 14:13 and 15:7. What stands out to you about the promise regarding prayer in verse 16?
While going from Bethany to Jerusalem, and while he was hungry, Jesus sees a fig tree which has no fruit and said to the tree, “Let no on eat fruit from you ever again”. The next morning the disciples are surprised when they find the tree dried up by the roots!
Was Jesus just disappointed because he was hungry and wanted to eat the figs? Some see the fig tree as representing Israel (unfruitful and about to be judged).
Jesus follows this up by teaching about prayer. How does the topic go from cursing the fig tree to a lesson about prayer? What does the cursing of the fig tree teach us about prayer?
The lesson here is that we “always ought to pray and not lose heart” (verse 1). The reason we keep praying is because we are confident that God hears our prayers and that they have an effect on Him.
Jesus tells a story about an unjust judge who finally grants the request of a poor widow. She begged and begged and He finally answered to get her off his back.
Likewise, if we pray God will hear us, but its not like unjust judge wanting to get poor widow to leave him alone!
How are the details in our case far different (and to our advantage) from that of the judge and widow?
Today’s Text: Luke 11:1-13
Today’s reading is very similar to Jesus teaching about prayer recorded in Matthew 6 and 7. The section about the friend at midnight (v5-8) is new material, unique to Luke.
We see Luke’s account of the “Lord’s Prayer”, a parable about persistence, the promise that if we ask we will receive, and a reminder that our heavenly Father will respond the the prayers of His children.
In Matthew it says our heavenly Father will give “good things” to those who ask. Luke Luke 11:13 says “your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him!”
1. Are we more interested in “good things in general” or “the Holy Spirit”?
2. Which do we think about and ask for the most?
In Matthew 6:1-18 Jesus continues His sermon by speaking about proper attitudes when exercising the outward forms of our faith: Charitable deeds, prayer, and fasting.
Concerning prayer, Jesus tells us what NOT TO DO, giving the two negative examples (hypocrites and heathens).
As a positive example of how to pray, Jesus gives what is commonly known as the Lord’s prayer. How should we view this prayer? Is it okay to repeat it verbatim? Do you see it more as a framework after which to model our own prayers? How do you use this prayer?