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The Lord’s Prayer/Jesus Teaches About Prayer
Questions to Consider
1. To acclimate yourself to the books of Luke and Matthew, choose a Bible Book Background to review.
2. Considering that the disciples were all good Jewish boys who had been praying all their lives, why do you think they asked Jesus to teach them to pray? (11:1)
Compare Luke’s version of the Lord’s Prayer (2-4) to Matthew’s version (9-13). What is “missing” from the Luke version?
3. Go through each verse of the Matthew version and explain what Jesus means for us to pray about in that verse:
Now write your own personal prayer in your own words that follows the general pattern of each verse. For example, instead of “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name,” your prayer might begin, “Heavenly Father, I praise Your holy name.”
Are the things Jesus instructs us to pray about mostly spiritual needs or physical/tangible needs? Why? How might it change the perspective of your prayer life to focus more on the spiritual than the physical/tangible when you pray?
Is it OK for us to pray for or about things that aren’t included in the Lord’s prayer? Safety on a trip? Healing for a friend? Giving thanks? Praying for your pastor? How do we know it’s OK to pray for those things if Jesus said, “Pray like this,” and those things are not included in His model prayer? (hint: Think about other NT verses about prayer, and remember who the author of Scripture is.)
4. Carefully examine Matthew 6:5-8. What is Jesus teaching us here about public prayer? What does He mean when He says “they have received their reward”? (5) Is Jesus forbidding public prayers, or is He teaching us to examine the motive of our hearts when we do it? With what motive of heart should we approach public prayer?
Have you ever seen a modern day version of “heaping up empty phrases”? (7) What did it look like? (Ex: Praying the rosary? Speaking in “tongues”?) How can we avoid heaping up empty phrases in our own prayer life?
If our Father knows what we need before we ask (8), what is the point of praying? How does the act of asking God to provide for our needs and work in our lives humble us, grow us in dependence on God, and help us align ourselves with God’s will and purposes? Could these be the purposes of prayer rather than giving God a “to do” list?
5. Study Luke 11:5-8. What topic is this mini-parable about? Who does the friend with the bread represent? Who does the man pestering the friend represent? What makes the man so persistent? What does this tell us about our own neediness, desperation, and dependence on the grace of God, and how should this drive us to persist in prayer?
How would you characterize the attitude of the friend with the bread? (7-8) Is Jesus trying to teach us that God considers our persistent prayers bothersome or annoying, or that He will, in aggravation, give us what we want so we’ll go away? Compare the annoyed friend with the heart of God in verses 9-13, and finish this sentence: “If even an irritated pagan will give the man what he wants…(hint: see v. 13).
6. Study Luke 11:9-13, and explain how this is “the rest of the story” about prayer that Jesus started in 5-8. Compare the asking, seeking, and knocking of God in verses 9-10 to the asking, seeking, and knocking of the man in verses 5-8.
Compare the child asking the father motif in 11-13 to the first verse of the Lord’s prayer in both the Luke (2) and the Matthew (9) version. Did OT Jews approach God in prayer as “Father” (you may wish to examine the OT prayers in our previous lessons, links above)? Why is Jesus teaching the disciples (and us) to approach God as “Father”? What is He trying to teach us about the nature and character of God, our relationship with Him through Christ, and prayer?
Read my article After This Manner, Therefore Pray and model your prayers after The Lord’s Prayer this week.
Suggested Memory Verse