September 27, 2019

Lords' Prayer Bible Study

General Outline of Sessions:

·      Opening Prayer
  - Introduction

·      Readings and questions for discussion
·      Closing Prayer and Prayer requests (daily bread)
·      Time for personal conversation and private prayer

Opening Prayer

(Mt. 6.9-13 NIV 2013)
Our Father in Heaven, hallowed be your name,
Your Kingdom come, your will be done,
On earth as it is in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread,
And for give us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation but deliver us from the evil one


         1. Teach Us To Pray

Jesus is teaching His disciples how to pray. They were all devout Jews and the Jews were a praying people. Everyone believed in God and believed God heard each individual prayer.
The Jews knew they were a covenant people. Their ancestors had had direct personal experience of God revealing His love by rescuing them from captivity in Egypt, protecting and feeding them as they were formed into a covenant people and giving them the 10 Commandments as the rules for remaining in this relationship. Their history was passed down from generation to generation by parents and teachers of the Law. They were men and women of God in a legally binding covenant – like a marriage:
·      Each person was in a personal love relationship with God
·      Rule # 1 (the First Commandment was to love God with all their heart, mind and soul)
·      Rules 2-5 (no other gods, no idols / images of gods, respect God’s name, keep Sabbath, honour parents) define this relationship
·      Loving their neighbour was included because God was their spiritual father and all Jews were brothers (Rules 6-10 regarding murder, adultery, stealing, false witness and coveting what belonged to their neighbour.

Lords Prayer assumes their first loyalty was to God and neighbour. Did you notice there is no I, Me, My or mine in the prayer? Instead we have:
·      Our father
·      Your name
·      Your kingdom
·      Your will
·      Give us
·      Forgive us – as we – those
·      Lead us
·      Deliver us
Jesus knew about human weakness so it ends with a cry for help in coming back into right relationship not “if“, but “when” we fail:
·      Forgive us our sins as we forgive others (conditional)
·      Lead us not into temptation / hard testing
·      Deliver us from the evil one (NIV)

The Lords Prayer is a summary of Christian faith.

Matthew 6.5-15

Questions for discussion:
¨     What do you notice about this prayer?
¨     Who is it addressed to?
¨     What does it tell us about God?
¨     What does “Hallowed” or “Holy” mean?
¨     What is this kingdom like?
¨     What is God’s “will” for us?
¨     Who is included in this Kingdom?
¨     What does the coming of the kingdom mean?
¨     How can we help this kingdom come?
¨     What three things does this prayer suggest we pray for?

Closing prayer and prayer requests:

2. Lords prayer is a framework for all prayer

Because we are human and confused in different ways at different times, the prayer is an outline.[1] It begins with a reminder that we should always begin a prayer with and expression of our love, respect and loyalty to God: “holy is your name”, “your kingdom come” and “your will be done”. In the middle we ask for the things we need:
      Forgiveness and
      Spiritual protection.  
      But we don’t just need bread and we don’t commit sins in general. We need specific things – a job, healing from cancer, guidance etc. Generic prayers for “sins” are ineffective. The spiritual world is very legalistic. The sin is my adultery with…, stealing from ---, lying to … etc. These are specific things we can repent and come to Jesus for forgiveness from.

Before we pray we need to spend a few minutes listening to what the Holy Spirit is bringing to our conscience or memory in each part of the prayer:
1.     Holy is your name – adoration / thanksgiving
2.     Your Kingdom come – we are all evangelists, builders
3.     Your will be done – the battle to surrender our will to God
4.     Give us our daily bread – things we really need
5.     Forgive us (me) for ….
6.     Lead us (me) not into temptation (OR Save me from the time of trial) - Help me resist the temptations of ………
7.     Deliver us from the evil one – save me from…..

Jesus tells us to pray from our heart, not by rote. We should add these personal petitions silently in a group or out loud when alone. Many people do what is called a “self-examination” before attending public worship to identify and come with repentance for their sins. In liturgical churches like the Roman Catholic, Anglican and Lutheran there is often a specific time for a general confession where people can silently include their personal requests for forgiveness

Matthew 6.5-15

¨     How does this prayer start?
¨     How is it organized into parts?
¨     How would you describe these parts?
¨     How is it like an outline where we can add our specific personal needs?
¨     What can we do to obey God’s will?
¨     What can we do to help God’s kingdom come?
¨     What else do we need besides “bread” ?
¨     Could we pause and add our own needs here?
¨     Could we pause and add our own sins
¨     Could we add our own requests for spiritual protection and deliverance?

Closing prayer and prayer requests:

3. Our Father in heaven 

Many people weep when they hear the Prodigal Son story in a meditative environment. This is an experience of the Holy Spirit speaking to our personal spirit (our intuitive mind) and telling us how much our heavenly father loves us. The key words are that the father saw the repentant son coming from “a long way off”. The father had not just forgotten his rebellious son and gone on with life. Hour after hour and week after week he was constantly watching and waiting for his beloved son to come home. This is undeserved, practical and sacrificial love. God is our father who loves us no matter what we have done. Love forgives all things.

The other lesson is the response of the elder brother. Like many of us he had worked hard and done all the right things – but without love. He did not love God, his brother or his father. This was a clear violation of the Hebrew Covenant which requires us to love God and His creation (Rule #1 and honour our father and mother (Rule # 5).

This opening phrase tells us the place of God in our lives as our spiritual creator, guide and protector. While God the Father describes our identity as sons and daughters of God this is only one way of thinking of God. God is also our redeemer or saviour in the visible form of Jesus and the one who personally guides us and makes us holy as God the Holy Spirit.

Luke 15.11-32

¨     What did the younger son do with his wealth?
¨     What did he decide to do to turn his life around?
¨     When did his father see him returning?
¨     What does this tell us about the father?
¨     How did his father respond to his request for employment?
¨     What does this tell us about God the Father?
¨     How did the older brother respond?
¨     What does this tell us about the older brother?
¨     What Commandment did the older brother break?
¨     Which of the brothers really loved God and his neighbour?
¨     Has anyone here experienced forgiveness like this?

Closing Prayer and prayer requests.

4. Hallowed be your name

It is tempting to skip over the word ”holy”, but like every word in the Bible, it is important. Names in the Bible always indicate the essential nature of the person. Holy is a word modern people do not hear often. This is tragic as Holy describes the most important characteristic of God – and the key issue in our relationship with God. Holy means different from, whole, pure, perfect and undefiled. How can a father who is as holy as a consuming fire, have a relationship of love with a son or daughter who is not whole, impure, imperfect and defiled by sin? It would be like setting a can of gasoline near a blazing fire. God does not keep us out of His presence because He is angry. He loves us enough to protect us from the consequences of our sins. He explained this and created a solution by coming in the human form of Jesus, dying a sacrificial death for our sin guilt and making a new Covenant that enables Him to forgive those who repent, believe in Jesus and ask Jesus for forgiveness.

This is the first place in the prayer where we can pause and insert our own words to make the prayer less ritualistic and more personal. Our prayers should always begin with adoration and thanksgiving. How would we like it if a friend began every conversation with a list of things they wanted from us? Praise and thanksgiving are like dialling a phone number. It establishes a personal link or opens a channel for communication. The Lord dwells in His praises! For example:
      Praise you for your mercy in…
      Thank you for……

Now that we have honoured God, and understood whom we are praying to and what God wants us to do; we can ask more intelligently for what we really need:
·      Help in building God’s kingdom
·      Help in developing our own spiritual life
·      Forgiveness of our sins
·      Strengthening and protection from the evil one

Exod. 19.20-23; Luke. 4.34; Rom. 12.1-2;
¨     What does this tell us about God
¨     What does “holy” mean?
¨     How do we fail to respect the holiness of God?

Closing Prayer and prayer requests.

5. Your kingdom come, your will be done

We all struggle to surrender our will to the will of God so this is a good place to pause and insert our own more specific requests. For example:
·              Help me give up my distraction of ….
·              Help me to trust you with….

The rest of the prayer is a plea from the heart of the things we need from God to surrender our will, be made holy and be included in Gods’ Kingdom:
·      Spiritual guidance
·      Forgiveness of our sins
·      Help in resisting temptation
·      Protection from the evil one

This is the central message of Jesus and the mission statement of the Christian church. Saudi Arabia is one of the last remaining states that calls itself a kingdom and has a traditional kingdom-like government. The point is it has a king who is the ruler and has real absolute power. This is why churches are not supposed to be democratic and waste huge amounts of time fighting over questions they should be praying about.

Readings and Questions

Matthew 5.3-12: (The Beatitudes)
·      Who will be blessed and come into this Kingdom?
o   The poor is spirit /humble / loving
o   Those who mourn
o   The meek
o   Those who hunger for righteousness
o   The merciful
o   The pure in heart
o   The peacemakers
o   Those persecuted for righteousness
o   Those who suffer on account of faith in Jesus

Matthew 13.44-50 (Pearl of great price, hidden treasure & net))
·      How important is it to be sure you are included?
o   Like the most valuable thing you could own
o   Sell everything

·      What happens to those who do not enter this Kingdom?
o   Wicked will be separated from righteous
o   Burn up in the fire of God’s holiness
o   Do not have a spiritual life

Mark 4.1-20; 30-32 (Parables of the sower & mustard seed)
·      Who is the sower?
o   God
·      What does the seed represent?
o   The Word of God / Bible / our experiences of God
·      What can prevent us from entering this Kingdom?
o   Seed on path eaten by birds – Satan and demonic
o   Rocky soil – don’t develop roots in faith and can’t face persecution
o   Thorns – fears, temptations and worries of life distract and choke faith so does not develop fruit

Matthew 7.21 and 18.21-35 (Unmerciful servant)
Who will be excluded from this kingdom?
·      Those who pay lip service (Matthew 7.21)
·      Have an unforgiving spirit (Mt.18.21-35
·      Those distracted by worldly riches and power
·      Unbelievers and the un-forgiven

Big Question: What do we have to do to grow and be included in this Kingdom?
·      The will of Him who sent Me – faith in Jesus and His teachings

Concluding Prayer and Requests

6. Give us today our daily bread

We are to acknowledge our daily dependence on God. Notice how immediate and temporary our prayers are to be. What we need today and for today. Bread is of course a shorthand way of saying what we need to live on – the essentials of life. It is very open-ended but does not include winning a hockey game. This could be the longest part of the prayer if we need to pause and ask for something very important. What are we desperate for?
·       Healing from a life threatening disease or condition for….
·       Employment for…
·       Comfort in grief for…..
·       Housing for …..

Reading and questions Matthew 6.5-15
¨     What does the Lords Prayer suggest are our basic needs?
¨     Can we think of specific examples of our personal needs?
¨     Can we think of ways in which we have failed to:
¨     Honour Gods” name as holy?
¨     Respect God as our personal “king”
¨     Do things that help us be part of this kingdom?
¨     Have we followed the “will of God” in our lives?
¨     Do we need forgiveness for any specific sins today?
¨     Do we need help in overcoming specific temptations today?
¨     Do we need deliverance from past sin guilt?

Concluding Prayer and Requests

7. Forgive us our debts (trespasses/ sins) as we also have forgiven our debtors (those who trespass against us / those who sin against us (NIV)

Opening Prayer

Notice the special condition. We are only asking for forgiveness in the same way as we have already forgiven others. We are limiting God by prohibiting Him from forgiving us until we have forgiven all our debtors / those who have sinned against us. This can be seen as putting a curse on ourselves so that God cannot forgive us unless we have forgiven others. The point is forgiveness is very important and un-forgiveness is an unforgivable – but very common sin. I have seen three people in my own family place themselves in bondage and let un-forgiveness ruin their lives.

Un-forgiveness is the main reason people come for prayer ministry. Often people have held grudges and lived lives of bitterness for years. In my book “Going Spiritual” I share how a great feeling of heaviness and darkness was lifted from me when I forgave my ex-wife. We had not spoken directly for 30 years. Healing ministry is simple and effective. We simply ask the Holy Spirit to show us where there is un-forgiveness. Many people are in denial. They believe they have forgiven but they have only forgiven in their heads. In their heart (personal spirit) they still hold anger, and that anger is destroying their lives. The good news is that we can ask the Holy Spirit to show us where there is anger and un-forgiveness – and get an answer. The Holy Spirit includes our conscience and guides us spiritually.

Once we discover what is un-forgiven, many people find it hard to let go of their anger and forgive someone from their heart. Fortunately we can ask the Holy Spirit to give us the strength and love we need to forgive someone. The Good News is that God answers the prayer of the heart – when you have trouble with the words God will either give them to you or accept your unspoken intention. It’s all in the intention of the heart.

Christian churches are in the forgiveness business – in spite of what some people think. This is generally during pastoral visits, spiritual direction of counselling sessions. Some churches have healing prayer services or offer brief healing ministry after or during services. If you think you do not need forgiveness from the church you are probably wrong. Jesus gave specific authority to the Christian church to pray for repentant sinners and offer forgiveness as James, the brother of Jesus writes:
            15 And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person             well; the Lord will raise them up. If they have sinned, they             will be forgiven. 16 Therefore confess your sins to each other             and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The             prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.” (NIV)

One of the reasons Christians gather in communities is accountability. Members of the community are there to help each other stay on track and grow spiritually. Most churches have a time in their service for confession and absolution. Serious Christians go through some form of self-examination before worship to identify things they need prayer for. Asking for help from the Holy Spirit in examining your life will help you remember those you need to forgive.

The Roman Catholic Church has a long developed process called the “examine”. Ideally Christians go through a process of self-examination weekly before coming to church. This can be as simple as sitting quietly in prayer and asking the Holy Spirit to help you see examples of rebellion against God’s rule and failures to love God and your neighbour. For example you can start with Monday morning and then go slowly through the week recalling what you did or failed to do during the day. With practice you will find your attention focussing on what you said to other people, did or failed to do. Often people feel a twinge of guilt or regret in their conscience (personal spirit). Roman Catholics are encouraged to see a priest and do a formal confession, repent and ask for forgiveness during the week before coming to Mass.

Liturgical Protestant churches may have a formal part of Sunday worship, like the Holy Communion service, that includes a general congregational prayer of Confession where everyone expresses repentance of “the things they have done or left undone”. Those who come prepared are encouraged to say the general words aloud with everyone else, but be silently repenting specific instances of failure in their hearts. The prayer concludes with the priest giving a general absolution that applies to what has been really repented from the heart. This is the most effective way to restoring your relationship with God and other people – and assuring your place in to Kingdom

Readings: Matthew 6.14-15; 1 John 1.5-10; Luke 24.46-49; Acts 10.43;

¨     Can we think of common examples of “debts” or “sins”?
¨     Why are they called debits or sins?
¨     Why are these debits or sins so important?
¨     Why do we need forgiveness?
¨     Is this forgiveness unconditional?
¨     What is the condition for God to forgive us?
¨     Why do we need forgiveness from both God and our neighbour?
¨     What does it mean to say Jesus is our personal “saviour”
¨     What does a saviour do?
¨     What did Jesus do?
¨     How did God respond to what Jesus did?
¨     Who is Jesus?
¨     Why is Jesus called our “Lord and Saviour”?
¨     Has anybody ever gone for a formal time of confession and absolution with a priest?
Concluding prayer and personal prayer requests.

8. Lead us not into temptation / save us from the time of trial

Opening Prayer

Today we are going deeper into the Lords Prayer. We are beginning to see that this is a prayer not just for forgiveness but a prayer for personal spiritual guidance and protection. The Lords prayer is really a prayer of covenant or contract with God where we are asking for “bread” – the material things we need each day, forgiveness and spiritual protection. This is God’s part of the agreement. Our part is to honour God as holy by keeping His rules and accept Jesus as our personal Lord and Saviour.

Today we are examining the hard realities of the temptations we face each day and God’s final judgement.

1 Corinthians 10.6-13; Matthew 26.36-41

·      What temptations do we face in life?
·      Why would God “lead us into temptation”?
·      What happens when we give in to temptations?
·      What can we do to protect ourselves against temptations?

Matthew 25.1-46

·      What is this “Time of Trial”
·      When does it come?
·      What happens in the Time of Trial
·      What does Jesus teach us to do to be saved from spiritual death?

Concluding prayer and personal prayer requests.

9. Deliver us from the evil one.

Opening Prayer

Deliverance is the final thing we ask for in the Lord’s Prayer. Deliverance is a scary word that many people do not fully understand. Many translations of the Lords’ Prayer sadly do not include the word “one” (personal one in Greek). The result is confusion over what is meant by “evil”. Evil is commonly assumed to mean “badness” or “bad things” happening. From a theological point of view “evil” generally refers to the work of Satan and his spiritual destruction of human lives. Notice evil is “live” spelled backward.

While Satan is under the authority of God, he is a fallen angel who rebelled against God and continues to tempt and deceive humans into joining his rebellion against God. His goal is to destroy our spiritual and human lives. He does this by deceiving and tempting people into patterns of sin that gradually separate them from their love of God and Jesus and obedience to His teachings. Satan rules over the demonic spirits that do his destructive work. When people fall into patterns of sinful behaviour they break their covenant relationship with God, wound themselves and loose Gods’ spiritual protection. This may allow demons, such as spirits of alcoholism or pride to enter their personal spirit and oppress them from inside, gradually gaining control of the will. This demonic oppression can lead to spiritual bondages such as alcoholism, intellectualism and homosexuality that trap people in destructive behaviour patterns. This is what we may need spiritual deliverance and healing from.

Romans 6.15-23

·      What is “evil”?
·      Who is the “evil one”?
·      What does the evil one do?
·      How do we become “slaves to sin” v. 16?
·      What does being a slave to sin lead to (v. 16, 23)?
·      How does Jesus free us from our slavery to sin? (V.23)?
·      What do we have to do to become free from our slavery to sin (v. 16)?
·      What does “obey from the heart “ mean (v.17)?
·      How do we become “slaves to righteousness”?
·      Other questions?

Concluding prayer and personal prayer requests.

[1] Willam Barclay. The Plain Man’s guide to the Lord’s Prayer (London: Collier 1964), 11

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