A longtime friend of mine (a note about her is at the end of this post) told me that she would have liked to have heard the answers to the questions about Jesus’ teaching on prayer that our Life group discussed. Below are answers to the questions that I included in yesterday’s post.
What standard prayer(s) did you recite as a child?
Thank you for the world so sweet;
Thank you for the food we eat;
Thank you for the birds that sing;
Thank you, God, for everything.
Now I lay me down to sleep;
I pray the Lord my soul to keep.
If I should die before I wake,
I pray the Lord my soul to take.
In Matthew 6:1-18 Jesus warns his disciples against hypocrisy (pretending to be what one isn’t) in giving to the needy, in prayer, and in fasting.
1. How does their hypocrisy affect the way that hypocrites pray?
2. How does it affect their reward?
1. Hypocrites pray where they can be seen by others.
2. Their reward is that they are seen by others instead of that God rewards them. God’s reward could include answering their prayers.
As you know, this prayer is generally called The Lord’s Prayer. Luke 11:1-4 records a shorter version of it which Jesus gave on another occasion in response to one of his disciples asking him to teach them how to pray.
1. What concerns related to God come first?
2. What personal concerns follow?
3. How are forgiveness and prayer related? See also Matthew 6:14-15.
1, The concerns related to God which come first are that He be glorifed, that His kingdom come, and that His will be done on earth as it is in Heaven.
2. The personal concerns which follow are that God will meet our needs, that He will forgive us our sins, and that He will protect us from temptation.
3. God’s answering our prayers to Him depends on our forgiving others for what they have done to us.
Jesus records Jesus as following his teaching of the Lord’s Prayer with a parable (11:5-8) and some comments (11:9-13) on prayer. The comments are also recorded in Matthew 6:7-11.
1. What does the parable in Luke 11:5-8 teach about prayer?
2. How does Luke 11:9-13 relate to the parable?
1. The parable in Luke 11:5-8 teaches that we should be persistent in our prayers to God. One of the group members, Pat Peddle, suggested the parable of the persistent widow (Luke 18:1-8) as another parable with the same lesson.
2. Luke 11:9-13 says that God will give us good things in answer to our prayers just as a father gives good things to his children in answer to their requests to him. Other group members (others present were our host, Roland; my wife, Leonora; and Eugene Champion) reminded us that God doesn’t always answer our prayers with a “Yes”; sometimes He answers with a “Later” or “No.” However we know that however He answers our prayers, He will work things out for good (Romans 8:28).
My “longtime friend” (Rose Harmer) and I attended the same Pentecostal church in northern Ontario when we were adolescents. Several years ago she and her husband, Bob, visited our family here in Newfoundland. Like me, she has a blog at WordPress. Listeningtohear is a devotional blog, and I enjoy reading Rose’s weekly posts and often comment on them.