Archive for the ‘prayer’ tag
The text for this lesson is Luke 11:1–13; John 16:23–33.
- Our heavenly Father invites us to pray and promises to hear our prayer for the sake of His Son, Jesus.
- Law: I sin by not trusting God and failing to pray to Him for all things.
- Gospel: God promises to hear and answer my prayers because of His Son, Jesus, and to do what is best and good for me.
- Several years ago, a book called The Prayer of Jabez was quite popular. The central thesis of The Prayer of Jabez is that if you pray the prayer of Jabez daily and believe hard enough that the Lord will grant your desires, then He will bless you in incredible ways.
According to 1 Chronicles 4:9–10, why did God grant Jabez that for which he asked? What part of this passage indicates that the prayer of Jabez is to provide a model for the prayers of believers? What does Matthew 6:9 tell us about Christian prayer?
- According to Luke 3:21–22, what event resulted in Jesus being identified as the beloved Son of the Father? What similar connection does Paul make in Galatians 3:26–27? According to Romans 8:14–17 and Galatians 4:4–7, what gives us the right to pray the Lord’s Prayer?
- In John 16:23, Jesus tells us to pray in His name—in the name of Jesus. Because of the need for Christians to pray in the name of Jesus, what implications are there for the occasion when we might be called on to pray in public, especially in a context where different religions are represented?
How do Matthew 6:6 and James 5:16b inform our view of prayer in the public square?
- In Luke 11:1–4, one of Jesus’ disciples asks Him to teach them to pray. He responds with a condensed version of the Lord’s Prayer, containing only five petitions. In Matthew 6:9–13, which is part of the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus gives the Lord’s Prayer as we know it with seven petitions. The Fourth and Fifth Petitions (Third and Fourth in Luke) could grammatically be combined to read, “Give us each day our daily bread and forgive us our debts (Luke: sins).” In what part of the Divine Service is the Lord’s Prayer prayed?
How does this relate to the combined petitions above? What kind of bread is received by faith and discussed in John 6:33, 35, 51, and 54?
- In the illustrations that Jesus gives in Luke 11:5–8 and 11–13, He uses a rhetorical technique called arguing from the lesser to the greater. In the first instance, Jesus basically says, “If your neighbor is willing to help you out because you are annoying him (the lesser), how much more will the Father, who loves to be bothered, help those who ask (the greater).”
In the second instance (11:11–13), how does Jesus argue from the lesser to the greater? What is so surprising about what Jesus calls the disciples in 11:13? What is a bit surprising about the prayer itself? What does this teach us?
- Read Luke 11:9–10. On face value, what seems to be the immediate result of prayer? Do our own experiences with prayer seem to contradict Luke 11:9–10?
Luke 11:9 could be better translated, “Keep on asking, and it will be given to you; keep on seeking, and you will find; keep on knocking, and it will be opened to you.” Does this translation make Jesus’ words fit more closely to our actual experiences?
- In John 16:23–24, Jesus tells His disciples, “Truly, truly, I say to you, whatever you ask of the Father in My name, He will give it to you. . . . Ask [literally “keep on asking”], and you will receive, that your joy may be full.” This also seems like an absolute, if-then statement about prayer—that if we ask for a specific thing in Jesus’ name, then the Father will give it.
Yet we are reminded of the discussion above concerning Jesus’ emphasis on prayer for spiritual things (e.g., prayer for the Holy Spirit in Luke 11:13) and also the future orientation of the fulfillment of our prayers. Where does 2 Corinthians 1:18–22 teach us to look for the final answer to all of our prayers?
- Sometimes people say that rote prayers are not from the heart but are merely spoken without meaning them. It may be true that we often say prayers without paying much attention to what we are saying—which is not a good thing—but what has Jesus taught us in Luke 11:2 and Matthew 6:9?
What is the advantage to rote prayers? Which book in the Bible is helpful to study if we desire to learn how to pray more faithfully?
- Prayer in the ancient world—and still today in many places—was almost always spoken; the idea of praying in thoughts would have been unusual. In fact, reading was almost always done out loud as well.
What advantage have we lost by becoming less oral in our praying and reading? What does Romans 10:17 remind us? In what context are our prayers still always spoken or sung?
- Paul admonishes us, “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you” (1 Thessalonians 5:16–18). Yet sometimes we do not or cannot pray as we should. What wonderful comfort does Romans 8:26–27 give us when we feel that we have failed to pray or do not know how to pray correctly?
The text for this lesson is 2 Kings 18—19.
- Just as Hezekiah prayed in faith to God and was delivered, so Jesus, our mediator and advocate with the Father, intercedes for and with us, granting us deliverance from sin, death, and the devil.
- Law: My sin makes me proud; thinking I can be self-sufficient and don’t need God, I avoid Him.
- Gospel: My heavenly Father is always ready to hear me and my cries for help, giving me His Son for my salvation.
In the late eighth century, Assyria was the world power of the ancient Near East. Led by Sennacherib, their armies went on a blitzkrieg across various lands. Ruling Judah was Hezekiah, a top-notch king. Along with Josiah, he was one of the two Israelite rulers after David who received not a word of criticism from the biblical writer (see 18:1–8). Though he initially caved in to Assyrian pres-sure, paying them tribute (vv. 13–16), Hezekiah later refused to bow to their demands. As the story in 2 Kings 18–19 recounts, Sennacherib would pay dearly for his mocking of the true God. Assyrian records echo the biblical account of his demise, that he was slain by his own sons as he knelt praying before a god who could not save (19:37).
The text for this lesson is Numbers 21:4–9.
- As the bronze serpent was lifted up to heal and save the Israelites from the snakes, so Christ was lifted up on the cross to heal and save us from sin, death, and the devil.
- Law: I have been bitten and poisoned by sin and death and foolishly complain when life is not what I want or expect.
- Gospel: God calls me to repentance and points me to Christ, who heals me by His death and resurrection.
- Catechism: 2nd Article of the Creed