November 8, 2014
This week’s study is titled,
What is prayer? How would you explain the essence of prayer in your own words? Share with those in your group.
Michael’s message and our study for this week is based on Matthew 6:5-15. Read together.
1. At the beginning of verses 5,6,&7 Jesus said ‘when you pray….’. What was His expectation for His disciples? Does this apply to us today?
Let’s go through this passage verse by verse.
· Matthew 6:5. What was the hypocrites reason for praying? Who were they really praying to?
· Matthew 6:6. What was the difference (from the hypocrites) as to how Jesus said for His disciples to pray? Why do you think He said this? What is the difference in the reward?
Does this mean we should only pray in private? What about group and corporate (eg: church) praying?
Discuss your answers.
· Matthew 6:7-8. If we are not to ‘babble on and on’ as other religions do does this mean we should only ask once and then leave our request with God?
Look at the story of the widow in Luke 18:1-8 where Jesus taught the importance of persistent prayer? Is there a difference? Discuss your thoughts.
Do we even need to pray if God already knows what we need before we ask? Matthew 6:8, Psalm 139:1-17.
Look again at your definition of prayer at the beginning.
2. Matthew 6:9-13 known as ‘The Lord’s Prayer’.
Is there an order Jesus is suggesting we should follow in our praying?
Let’s look at the content of each verse.
· Matthew 6:9. Paraphrase this in your own words. Is this in principle how we should begin all our prayers or not? Refer to Ephesians 1:15-23, Ephesians 3:14-21, Colossians 1:3, Colossians 1:9-14. Jesus ‘High Priestly’ prayer in John 17:1-26.
· Mathew 6:10. Paraphrase this in your own words. What is praying for ‘God’s Kingdom to come and His will be done,’ really asking for?
Is it your desire for this to happen in your own life? How are you going?
· Matthew 6:11. Paraphrase this in your own words. Consider Matthew 6:25-34.
Where is the balance between asking God for these things and Jesus promise of ‘….seeking first the Kingdom of God and living righteously and God will give us everything we need?’ as a result. Matthew 6:33.
What is one of the reasons Paul said for us to pray? Philippians 4:6-7. Can you think of other things we are encouraged to pray for/about?
· Matthew 6:12, 14-15. As you put this in your own words consider if Jesus is saying that a condition to God forgiving us is that we must forgive others.
If we are not willing to forgive others what does this say about our understanding of God’s forgiveness of our sins. See Jesus parable In Matthew 18:21-35. See also what Jesus said to Simon. Luke 7:41-48.
· Matthew 6:13. How much importance do you put on prayer with regards to having victory over temptations?
Read what Jesus said to His disciples in Luke 22:31-32 and what He did in His great time of need. Matthew 26:36-44.
Consider Paul’s teaching on prayer in his concluding verses on the armor of God. Ephesians 6:18-20.
Discuss the key words and phrases Paul emphasises in v.18.
Do you pray for others and ask them to pray for you especially in times of temptations? What things could hinder us from doing this?
3. As you have gone through these verses and considered what Jesus was teaching his disciples (including you) was there anything in particular which was helpful to you in your prayer life with God? Share with your group.
Footnote. (taken from the Tyndale, Life Application Study Bible)
‘Jesus ….. taught that the essence of prayer is….. private communication with God.’
Some have concluded that Jesus’ directions about private prayer call into question all public prayer. Jesus own practice indicates this wasn’t His intention. The Gospels record Jesus at prayer both privately ( Matthew 14:23 ) and publicly ( Matthew 14:18-19 ). Again Jesus was drawing attention to the motives behind actions. The point wasn’t between public and private prayer but between heartfelt and hypocritical prayer. When asked to pray in public, focus on addressing God, not on how you’re coming across to others.’