Sunday School Notes 7-12-2015

How do I pray?

Matthew 6:5-15

Opening Questions

  • What is prayer?
  • Have you ever heard someone pray really extravagantly, almost like they wanted to impress someone?
    • What are your thoughts when you hear someone pray like this?
  • What should prayer actually be like?
    • How should we pray?

Matthew 6:5-15 (HCSB)

Whenever you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites, because they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by people. I assure you: They’ve got their reward! But when you pray, go into your private room, shut your door, and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you. When you pray, don’t babble like the idolaters, since they imagine they’ll be heard for their many words. Don’t be like them, because your Father knows the things you need before you ask Him.

Therefore, you should pray like this:

Our Father in heaven, Your name be honored as holy. Your kingdom come. Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And do not bring us into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one. [For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.][1]

For if you forgive people their wrongdoing, your heavenly Father will forgive you as well. But if you don’t forgive people, your Father will not forgive your wrongdoing.

According to Christ, how should we approach God?

  • First and foremost, we approach God in humility.
    • People who flaunt their spirituality before men in pride do not represent God well and are not rewarded for their relationship with God.
    • Our relationships with God are intimate. I don’t have to tell the world how close I think I am to God or of all the work I do for God, and there is great freedom in that.
  • We approach God as a child approaches a good father.
    • Christ actually refers to God as the Father.
    • How does God differ from many earthly fathers?

After approaching God in humility and as a child, what are some things we pray for?

  • We ask that God’s name be honored and that He receive all glory.
  • We ask that His will be done in us and through us, and that His kingdom is advanced on this earth.
  • We ask that He provide for us day-by-day both physically and spiritually.
  • We ask that He forgive us and help us to forgive others.
  • We ask that God help us to resist temptation and that He protects us from all evil.

Questions about prayer

  • Should we ever pray in front of people?
  • Should we ever pray as a group?
  • Is it wrong to ask God for anything not listed above?
    • Things that I want…
    • People to be healed…
    • Circumstances to change…
    • Peace…
  • Do I have to bow my head and close my eyes to pray?
  • If I pray for something more often, is God more likely to answer positively?
    • What does our praying for something over and over again say about our trust in God, particularly in His goodness?
  • Why is prayer so important to the Christian life?
  • Paul tells us to pray constantly (1 Thess. 5:17). If we are not to babble, what does this reveal about the nature of prayer?
    • Is it mostly listening?
    • Is there more praise than petition?

[1] Text in brackets not present in the earliest manuscripts

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