A lady once asked the great British preacher, evangelist and biblical scholar G. Campbell Morgan, “Do you think we ought to pray about even the little things in life?” To which Dr. Morgan replied in his typical British manner, “Madam, can you think of anything in your life that is big to God?”
We are taking some time this month to consider the remarkable realities of prayer and we have decided to center our meditations on the Lord’s Prayer. We have given thought to “recollection” (Our Father in heaven) and to the first three petitions. This week we will look at the last four petitions, and we will turn from our concern for God’s glory (His name, kingdom and will) to what concerns us and our need for God’s grace. But we ought not hold these two “tablets” of prayer apart (The Ten Commandments are divided into two tablets as well – our duty to God and our duty to one another). As someone wisely observed we need to pray for His grace that we might live for His glory.
Read Matthew 6:5-15 once again, and use the questions listed below to help you meditate on how Jesus teaches us to pray.
1. In review, what does Jesus want us to do when we begin our prayer with “our Father in heaven” (v. 9)?
2. And what is at the heart of the first three petitions (vv. 9-10)? What are we asking our heavenly Father for when we pray these petitions about His name, kingdom and will?
3. What are the next four petitions (vv. 11-13)?
4. When we pray the fourth petition, “Give us this day our daily bread,” what are we asking from our heavenly Father? Are we asking for literal food or something more?
• Why is it significant that we pray for daily bread?
• Do the rich and the poor pray this prayer in the same way? What do you think?
5. What is the fifth petition and why is this an indispensable request we must make of our heavenly Father (v. 11)?
6. What does Jesus teach us about how we are to ask God to forgive us?
• Do you think it is true that we want God to forgive us like we forgive others? Is it true of you?
7. Jesus seems to see forgiveness as a critical issue when it comes to prayer; it is the only subject in the prayer itself to which He returns after teaching us how to prayer. How do you understand verses 14-15? (Consider Mark 11:25; see footnote on v. 26 which is not in most texts).
8. What are we praying for when we ask our heavenly Father to not lead us into temptation? Does God ever lead us into temptation (Jas. 13-15)? Are we ever free from temptation?
• Consider I Corinthians 10:13. How does this verse shed light on our sixth petition?
9. The seventh and final petition is often connected with the sixth into one request. What realities lie behind the seventh petition? And what are we asking God to do?
10. Put these four petitions in your own words.
11. What do you think it would look like for God to answer these four petitions for you?
12. Finally, here is a thought question. Jesus tells us to pray “our Father in heaven.” Why not
“my” Father in heaven? Why do you think it important to keep in mind the “our” Jesus tell us to use? How does that affect all of our prayers?
I hope this has been helpful! And I hope to see you on Sunday!
God be with you,