A Child’s Prayer

Passage: Matthew 6:7-15

Guide for Group Discussion or Personal Reflection

Sermon Summary

The Lord’s Prayer in Matthew 6:9-13 stands at the literary and the thematic center of the whole Sermon on the Mount. If we can pray like Jesus taught us in the Lord’s Prayer, it will grow us into the beautiful community Jesus is seeking to build in his sermon.

The Lord’s Prayer is an expression of the access we already have to “our Father in heaven” (6:9). We don’t need to “heap up empty phrases” to gain a hearing with God. Yes, he is the transcendent God “in heaven”, but he is also “our Father” who loves us deeply as his children. This means we can come to him “messy”, in our sin and need, and expect him to answer our prayers. Until we grasp that God is our Father, we will struggle to truly pray the rest of the prayer. We will struggle to surrender to his will, for example, or struggle to trust that he will provide for our daily needs and protect us in our trials.

The Lord’s Prayer begins with adoration. It is a prayer fundamentally oriented to God’s agenda, not ours. In asking for our Father’s name to be “hallowed”, and for his kingdom and will to be expressed “on earth, as it is in heaven”, we are recognizing God’s rightful place in the center of our lives and world (6:9-10). Rather than seeking to escape this world, we are seeking to see our world, and our daily lives, reflect more and more of the priorities of heaven.

When we begin with a God-centered focus, we can then come before him trustingly, in full admission of our needs and temptations. We can trust him to give us our “daily bread” on the day, and ask him for forgiveness, even as we forgive others, not holding a grudge, but entrusting justice to God (6:11-12)

Finally, we recognize that we are in a real spiritual battle against an adversary—an “evil one”, who is behind the temptations we face. We are soberminded in asking for deliverance from Satan, while recognizing we have an advocate on our side always—Jesus who died and rose for us, and who intercedes for us at the Father’s right hand! (6:13)

When Jesus himself was tempted by Satan in the wilderness, he refused to cling to his privilege as God, but consistently sided with humans, expressing the kind of dependent trust in his Father that is so clearly displayed in the prayer he taught us. Ultimately, lived and died to make it possible for us to pray the Lord’s Prayer.

Sermon Outline:

• Access (6:7-9)
• Adoration (6:9-10)
• Admission (6:11-12; 14-15)
• Adversary (6:13)
• Advocate (6:13)

Group Discussion & Personal Reflection Guide

Re-read the passage(s): Matthew 6:7-15

Access (6:7-9)

1) Re-read Matthew 6:7-8. Why did the Gentiles “heap up empty phrases” in their prayers? What did this say about the access they thought they had to God?

2) What are some ways that Christians “heap up empty phrases” to gain a hearing with God? How have you yourself done this?

3) What does the phrase “Our Father in Heaven” communicate about his power and transcendence? What does it communicate about his nearness and love?

4) In the sermon, Pastor Bobby said, “Until we truly grasp that God is our Father, it will be impossible to pray the rest of the Lord’s Prayer.” Why do you think this is so? Give examples.

Adoration (6:9-10)

5) Re-read Matthew 6:9-10. What does it mean for God’s “name to be hallowed”, and for “his kingdom to come” and “will to be done on earth as it is in heaven”?

6) In your own prayers, do you typically start with adoration, and with a focus on God’s name, glory, and priorities, or own your own needs? Why? What are the effects of this?

7) In the sermon, Pastor Bobby said that vs. 9-10 represent a desire “not to escape from the circumstances of earth, but to see the priorities of earth more reflected in our real, daily lives here on earth”. Have you ever sensed an “escapist” tendency in your prayers? If so, how does this express itself?

8) What is one area in your life right now, or in our world, where you can ask your Father for his kingdom to come and his will to be expressed more fully? What might it look like for him to answer this prayer?

Admission (6:11-12; 14-15)

9) Re-read Matthew 6:11-12, and 6:14-15. Where do you need to ask the Lord for “daily bread” right now?

10) In the sermon, Pastor Bobby described the “manna principle” in Scripture—that principal that God’s provision comes day by day, not all in advance. Have you experienced this before? What might be God’s purposes in providing for us in this way, and at this pace? How might this change the way you pray?

11) Is there any area that you need to ask for forgiveness? Is there someone you need to forgive?

12) Why does Jesus say in verses 14-15 that our heavenly Father will not forgive us if we do not forgive others their trespasses? Does this mean that our salvation has conditions attached?

Adversary (6:13)

13) Re-read Matthew 6:13. Pastor Bobby reminded us that we have a real adversary, the “evil one”, or Satan. Where do you need protection and deliverance from Satan right now?

Advocate (6:13)

14) What difference does it make to remember that Jesus is our advocate before God? How does remembering this give us confidence in life, and in prayer?

15) Pastor Bobby said that “Jesus lived and died to make it possible for us to pray the Lord’s Prayer?” How is this so? What would be some characteristics of a church community that regularly prays, and is shaped by the Lord’s Prayer?

Additional Application Questions

Q) How else would you like to engage with God this week?
Q) How can you tangibly care for those in your community this week, both inside and outside of the church?

Prayer

Spend time praying for yourselves, our church community, the North Shore community, and our nation and world—particularly those most vulnerable.

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