Jesus teaches his disciples to approach the Father with shameless neediness, expecting him to provide what is most needed. And what is most needed is the Holy Spirit....
In the gospel of Luke we see over and over that Jesus is devoted to prayer. He is obeying the command to “pray without ceasing.” He is living faithfully as one who is continually in fellowship with the Father, hearing the Words of God in the Scriptures and talking with God in prayer. Of all those who have walked on earth, Jesus is uniquely qualified to teach us to pray! He has been perfectly devoted to prayer in eternity past, during His earthly ministry and even now as He is at the right hand of the Father interceding for us. His disciples realized this and they said in Luke 11:1, "Lord, teach us to pray, as John taught his disciples."
So now we want to say to our Lord, “teach us to pray!” He is gracious and kind and patient and He invites us to take His yoke upon us and to learn from Him, and that includes learning from Him to pray.
We are going to focus on Jesus’ teaching about prayer for His disciples which we find in its fullest form in Matthew 6:5-15. He also taught these same things at other times, which is what we find in Luke 11:1-13. However, because the teaching that Matthew records is the most detailed version, we will use that passage as our focus even though the messages on Sundays will be taken from Luke 11.
The design of these growth guides is that we will study the aspect of the Lord’s Prayer during the week that will be taught the following Sunday. Our prayer is that this will help us to continue to value and prepare for and apply the preaching of God’s Word.
The Lord’s Prayer gives us the areas of focus that we should have in prayer – God is our Father in heaven, so we pray about His name, His kingdom and His will and we pray about our provision, pardon and protection. This will give us a pattern that we can pray regarding any issue in our lives – our families, our work, our school and anything else we might be facing!
The first week’s study is a “pre-study” designed to help you to see the context of Jesus’ teaching on prayer in Matthew 6 and Luke 11 and to begin to learn from our Lord regarding prayer. The goal would be that you would complete both the pre-study and week 1 before your first growth group meeting in January. Then week 1 will focus on the approach to God in prayer (the topic of the sermon on January 5) and petition 1 (Hallowed be Your Name, which is the topic of the sermon on January 12). After that every week will be studying the petition or petitions that will be taught the following Sunday.
May we learn to pray together at the feet of our Lord!
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