TEXT: Matthew 6:5-15; 1 John 5:14-15
The students will be able to relate the elements of prayer as modeled in the prayer of our Lord.
Think about this:
You cannot pray the Lord’s Prayer and even once say “I.”
You cannot pray the Lord’s Prayer and even once say “my.”
You cannot pray the Lord’s Prayer and not pray for one another,
For when you ask for daily bread, you must include your brother,
For others are included in each and every plea.
From beginning to the end of it, it does not once say “me.”
Christ’s instruction to us regarding how to pray is given as an integral part of His Sermon on the Mount. There can be no doubt as to its great importance for our spiritual success. Earnestly praying the Lord’s Prayer can lead to a very special time with the Lord.
Decapolis was a small country, made up of ten cities, the most ancient being Damascus. “Beyond Jordan” probably refers to the area that was occupied by the two tribes of Reuben and Gad and half of the tribe of Manasseh, which they had requested as their inheritance. It was from these places that the people came, making up the “multitude” on the mount where the Lord’s Prayer originated.
The Gospels tell us of a number of occasions when Jesus prayed. Our communion with God is no less important. Christ gave His disciples what is now known as the Lord’s Prayer, thus teaching them that their discipleship depended on their communication with God the Father. As we study Christ’s example and instruction of how to pray contained in the Lord’s Prayer, we will seek to identify those attitudes required for true communication with God. Such communication is no less essential today if we would live for Jesus.
- In your own words, define prayer.
Response: To the Christian, prayer is communicating with God the Father through Jesus Christ His Son, with the aid of the Holy Spirit. The students will respond with such definitions as: talking to God, worshiping God, praising God, requesting help from the Lord, and thanking God. Note these on the blackboard or overhead, discussing each of them as part of the communication process.
- When two friends communicate well, what is the result? Make a spiritual application.
Response: Allow time for your students to respond. They will most likely conclude that good communication will result in a good friendship. God desires to communicate with us, and we should certainly desire to communicate with Him. As a result, the bond of friendship is cemented in love. Abraham was a man of prayer, and the Bible records him as a “friend of God.” Isaiah 41:8; James 2:23.
- Christ began the Lord’s Prayer with the words, “Our Father which art in heaven.” What do these words imply regarding our relationship with Him?
Response: Your students’ answers should bring out that we must be children of God through being born again and receiving forgiveness for sins before we can truly approach God as our Father. Have a volunteer read Romans 8:15-16. Unger’s Bible Handbook brings out that the term abba is an endearing term for “father.”
- In reference to the phrase, “Hallowed be thy name,” define the word hallow. What attitude is evidenced by the use of this phrase, and why should this attitude be evidenced in our prayers?
Response: Webster defines hallow as, “to make holy or set apart for holy use.” In using this phrase, the Lord sets an example of the reverence and honor that is due the Father. Your students should bring out that this evidence of respect and reverence is an important part of one’s communication with God.
- Verse 10 includes the words, “Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.” If these words are said sincerely, they reflect a spirit of submission. What are some of the specific areas which would then be submitted to the will of God?
Response: This offers an opportunity to set up a circle response with your class. The answers given may include: their time, family, job, education, service to God, and friends. Ask your students: Suppose God’s will doesn’t fit your current plans? What if it means change or sacrifice? Can you, with Paul the Apostle, “die daily” to self so that Christ can live in you and His will be accomplished in your life? Can you sincerely pray, “Thy will be done [in me], as it is in heaven”? Your students should see that Christ set an example of submission which they must strive to follow. A spirit of consecration and yielding to God will certainly strengthen their communication with Him in prayer and will bring forth fruit in their lives.
- The phrase, “Give us this day our daily bread,” indicates a feeling of dependence upon God. Name some other things for which we depend upon God.
Response: As your students offer suggestions, your discussion should bring out that they receive many blessings from God that they do not specifically request on a day-to-day basis. Allow time for one or two personal examples of times when the Lord provided for needs known only to Him.
- What two thoughts are brought out by the phrase, “Forgive us our debts [trespasses], as we forgive our debtors [those who trespass against us]”?
Response: The first thought expressed is that God in love forgives our trespasses when we repent of them. The second thought is that if we expect God’s forgiveness, we have to be willing to forgive those who trespass against us.
- Explain in your own words what is meant by the phrase, “And lead us not into temptation.”
Response: The original word translated as temptation had the meaning of “adversity, affliction or trouble permitted by God.” Your students should conclude that this phrase means they would not wish to be led into trials that would endanger their souls. This prayer is, however, to be prayed in a spirit of submission to whatever trials of their Christian character God allows. So our Lord added “. . . but deliver us from evil”—as if to say, “if we are led into trials, give us strength to overcome.”
- What attitude toward God is reflected in the concluding words of the prayer?
Response: Your students’ answers will bring out that the conclusion of this prayer is an acknowledgment of God’s greatness and power. It recognizes His control of both the present and future. Wrap up your lesson by discussing why this attitude of honor and praise is necessary and should be a natural part of our communication with God.
Using an overhead or a chalkboard, write the Lord’s Prayer phrase by phrase, leaving space for comments after each. As you discuss the prayer, pick out the elements exemplified which we should include in our prayers too.
As a witness to God’s promise that He will hear and answer our petitions, have an adult come to class to give his/her testimony about a special healing or some definite answer to prayer.
If the students are interested, have a prayer pledge for the week. Write down special needs on separate pieces of paper and have each student select one to take home with him. The request he chooses should be a special part of his prayer time each day of that week.
Bring to class a pattern for an article of clothing. Ask whether the dress (or whatever) would be complete as shown if you left off a sleeve, or the back, or some other piece. Compare that pattern to the pattern for prayer given to us by the Lord. Discuss the elements of the prayer He gave (honor, submission, thanksgiving, forgiveness, etc.). Will our prayer life be complete if we do not include the elements found in the pattern we have been given?
Have your students look up the following Scriptures to find the missing words in the motto:
1. Proverbs 15:8 (word 14)
2. Revelation 20:1 (word 12)
3. Genesis 1:1 (word 7)
4. Hebrews 11:1 (word 2)
5. John 10:1 (word 13)
1. __________ is the 2. __________ to 3. __________ but 4. __________ unlocks the 5. __________.
Tract No. 57 — Prevailing Prayer