World’s Greatest Prayer

Our Father in Heaven, Hallowed Be Thy Name

Study Guide

Monday—Read Matthew 6:9-13 in the New Testament. Jesus had been teaching many things to a large crowd. In that time, he highlighted how we should not pray: just piling on a lot of words, trying to impress those listening to us, or trying to impress God. Instead, Jesus gave this simple format. This has become known as “The Lord’s Prayer.” In addition to the important words, notice the flow of the prayer. How does Jesus move through this prayer? What does this prayer tell us about not just what to pray, but how to pray? What part of the Lord’s Prayer is most important for you?

Tuesday- Read Romans 8:14-17 in the New Testament. As Paul wrote this letter of introduction to the Christians in Rome, he used the word that Jesus used when speaking of God. “Abba” was an Aramaic word used by children in that region as a term of endearment for their fathers. (It would be akin to “daddy” or “papa” in western cultures.) It is the word Jesus chose to use to start the Lord’s Prayer. In a world that often thought of God as immense and far away, this term signified an unusually intimate closeness. Why do you suppose Jesus chose that term? How close do you feel to God when you prayer? How close to God do you feel at other times in your life?

Wednesday—Read Ephesians 4:1-6 in the New Testament. Paul reminds the Ephesian Jesus- followers that God is God of all. Notice that Jesus doesn’t start the Lord’s Prayer by saying “MY Father…” Specifically and intentionally he says, “OUR Father…” Sometime we kind of “privatize” our prayers. Prayer is just something between me and God alone. Jesus want us to understand that God is “Abba” to ALL people. When you pray, you are communicating with the God who is “Abba” to you, and to the persons who frustrate you the most, who disagree with your politics, who have hurt or demeaned you, etc. Whenever you say the word “our” in the Lord’s Prayer, you are acknowledging this. What is your reaction to this?

Thursday—Read Psalm 139:7-12 in the Old Testament. The word that is translated into English as “heaven” in the Lord’s Prayer is actually a plural word in the original language. It came to be a word to describe the domain or presence of God. Originally it referred to what we might call outer space, the stars, or the universe. It also meant the atmosphere-the sky, clouds, etc. And it meant air, that which we breathe. In ancient Hebrew thought, wind or breath was the stuff of life. Jesus is saying that there is no place we can go where God is not present. What do you think about that? Imagine the worst circumstances you can picture. How is God there?

Friday—Read Psalm 66:1-4 in the Old Testament. In the world of Hebrew people, a person’s name had power. It wasn’t just a convenient way to identify a person. The name reflected and expressed the identity and character of the individual. A name carried weight. To speak a name or even refer to it had power. For Hebrew people, the actual name of God was unpronounceable; they had to use other words as kind of “signposts” to point people toward God. When Jesus said “Hallowed be your name”, he was conveying all of this. In what ways do we/should we acknowledge God’s name to be “hallowed”?

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Carl Junction Campus Message

World’s Greatest Prayer

Thy Kingdom Come, Thy Will Be Done

Carl Junction Campus Message

Study Guide

MondayRead Matthew 6:10 in the New Testament.   Jesus identifies God as the “Abba” of all of us, who is everywhere we are.   He then launches into this statement about God’s Kingdom and God’s will.  Of significance are the pronouns he uses.  Notice he doesn’t day, “Let MY Kingdom come and MY will be done.”  Many times when we pray, we start off with our own requests and needs.   Jesus tells us we need to start with seeking what the hopes and desires of God’s heart.   What would your prayer for today be like if you started there?

TuesdayRead Mark 1:14-15 in the New Testament.   One of Jesus’ earliest proclamations was that the Kingdom of God is near.  We don’t live in a monarchy so we don’t think in terms of kingdom.  When a ruler’s guidance and directions prevail, that’s when a kingdom is happening.   When we invite God’s kingdom, we’re inviting that which God longs for to take place.  What are evidences around us that God’s Kingdom is near?

Wednesday – Read Mark 12:28-34 in the New Testament.   Someone once asked Jesus which of the many, many rules and commandments in Jewish faith was most important.  Jesus answered with the central commandment:  To love God with our whole heart, mind, soul, and strength and to love our neighbor as ourselves.  The questioner acknowledged that these actions are more important than religious rituals.  Jesus told him that he was not far from the Kingdom of God.   How are you inviting God’s Kingdom by obeying this command?

ThursdayRead Isaiah 6:1-18 in the Old Testament.   God called Isaiah to be a spokesperson for him (a prophet) at a bad time in the nation of Judah.  The people of God had failed to represent God.  Injustice and unrighteousness were rampant.  Folks were just going through the motions of faith.  The last thing Isaiah wanted to be was a prophet in the midst of all this.  When in your life has your agenda prevailed over that which God wanted of you?   On the other hand, when have you had a moment of, “Here I am.  Send me!”

FridayRead Luke 22:39-43 in the New Testament.   Even Jesus struggled with this part of the prayer that he himself taught.  Within hours of his own grisly death, quite understandably he put his own agenda first:  “Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me!”  Don’t make me go through the unspeakable horror of the cross.  But then he made the incredibly hard choice to seek God’s will and heart first.   What does it mean to you to know that Jesus faced the same battle between putting his own desires first and seeking God’s desire first?

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World’s Greatest Prayer

Bread

Carl Junction Campus Message

Study Guide

MondayRead Matthew 26:26 in the New Testament.   Bread of some kind is a staple food in many, if not most cultures.   Bread becomes symbolic of the basic food we need or the stuff of life.  That was certainly the case in the first century world in which Jesus lived, moved, taught, and acted.   Bread was a central element of the Passover Meal celebrated by people of Jewish faith.  This was the setting in which Jesus identified bread as his body, the night before he was executed.   Think about that.  What does it mean for Jesus to identify his body, which is about to be broken and killed, with the powerful symbol of bread?

Tuesday- Read Matthew 6:25-27, 31-33 in the New Testament.   We can find it hard to trust God to provide what we need each day, when the circumstances of our lives are not good.   That’s when worry can kick in.  And there’s no shortage of things to worry about: money, relationships, divisions in our country, etc.   Worry can come naturally, but worry at its most elemental level assumes that God cannot or will not provide what we need each day.  Jesus addressed this in these words recorded by Matthew.  When occasions to worry hit us, how we manage to seek God’s Kingdom and righteousness first?

WednesdayRead Ephesians 4:1-6 in the New Testament.   Paul reminds the Ephesian Jesus-followers that God is God of all.   Notice that Jesus doesn’t start the Lord’s Prayer by saying “MY Father…”   Specifically and intentionally he says, “OUR Father…”   Sometime we kind of “privatize” our prayers.  Prayer is just something between me and God alone.   Jesus want us to understand that God is “Abba” to ALL people.   When you pray, you are communicating with the God who is “Abba” to you, and to the persons who frustrate you the most, who disagree with your politics, who have hurt or demeaned you, etc.   Whenever you say the word “our” in the Lord’s Prayer, you are acknowledging this.    What is your reaction to this?

Thursday—Read Proverbs 30:8-9 in the Old Testament.   Maybe Jesus had this proverb in mind when he used the phrase “daily bread” in the Lord’s Prayer.   Notice that the writer sees no virtue in either being rich or being trapped in poverty.  The only good worth seeking is to rely on the daily bread provided by God.   What would it look like to seek neither wealth nor poverty, but only that for which God can be trusted every day?

Friday—Read John 6:35 in the New Testament.   This is one of Jesus’ most powerful statements about bread, and linking the symbol of bread to life itself.    Think about what it’s like to have your hunger satisfied and your thirst quenched.  Those are good feelings, but they are temporary.  Eventually hunger and thirst will return.   It’s similar to feeding off of that which the world provides us:  money, status, popularity, power, possessions, etc.  Those satisfy our thirst only temporarily.   Jesus is saying that who he is and what he provides addresses our deepest hungers, thirsts, and longings permanently.    What have you experienced or what evidence do you see that this is true?

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World’s Greatest Prayer

Forgive Us Our Trespasses

Carl Junction Campus Message

Study Guide

MondayRead Matthew 6:9-13 in the New Testament.   In verse 12, many English versions of the Bible use the word “debt.”  In our day and culture, we pretty much accept debt as normal; we become pretty casual about it.  In the first century world, debt was critical.  If you failed to meet a financial debt, it meant imprisonment or enslavement.  In the Roman Empire, most imprisoned people were there because of debt.   Debt was often an insurmountable barrier.  This is the context in which Jesus used this word in the Lord’s Prayer.   How does this change the meaning of this line in the prayer for you?

Tuesday- Read Romans 12:19 in the New Testament.   In his epic letter to the Christians in Rome, Paul understood human nature.  When we believe someone has wronged us in some way, our impulse is to strike back.  We want to even the score, exact retribution, get revenge, etc.   But Jesus invites us to choose to forgive instead.  So forgiveness is not doing what human nature wants us to do.  How do we do that?   What do we draw on to go against the flow of our impulses and to choose forgiveness?

WednesdayRead Luke 6:27-28 in the New Testament.   Just like Paul, Jesus understood human nature.   It’s easy to be nice to those we love.  We have no problem doing good for those who are like us, who believe as we do, who act in ways that please us, or who clearly love and support us.   Jesus noted that anybody can do that; it takes no effort.  What DOES take conscious effort and an intentional choice is to do good to those who hate us and hurt us.  Forgiveness is doing what human nature doesn’t want to do.   Where and with whom is it hardest for you to do that right now?

Thursday—Read Matthew 20:1-16 in the New Testament.   While not having to do with forgiveness directly, this parable Jesus told addresses God’s view of fairness.   Just as people in the first century, we have pretty clear ideas on fairness.   Equal wages for equal work times are fair.  Having people pay what they owe is fair.  Getting punished for doing something wrong is fair.  Getting even is fair.  God’s grace and forgiveness are not fair.   Why do you think that is the case?

FridayRead Matthew 6:14-15 in the New Testament.    In verse 12 of Matthew 6, Jesus speaks of the desire we have to receive God’s forgiveness.  Once we realize that we’ve created a breach between us and God, a gap that we don’t have the power to close, then we want the forgiveness of that breach which God offers in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus.  However, notice that the prayer links God’s forgiveness for us with our forgiveness for others.  When I prayer the Lord’s Prayer but I have not done the critical work of forgiving someone else, then literally I am praying, “God, please don’t forgive me.”  What’s your reaction to this important truth?   With whom do you need to practice the forgiveness  which God has offered to you?

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World’s Greatest Prayer

Temptation

Carl Junction Campus Message

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Study Guide

MondayRead Matthew 6:9-13 in the New Testament.   Notice verse 13.  There’s kind of a double message here.   On the one hand, we ask God to keep us from that which would tempt us.  On the other hand, there seems to be an assumption that we will fall prey to temptation, and we will need help to stay away that which is evil.   This isn’t just about obeying rules and not breaking rules.  Remember, our main aim is a relationship: to love God with every part of us, and to love others as God loves us.  To be tempted is to pull away from that purpose.  Evil is that which keeps us from our purpose.  By that definition, what most tempts you?  Where do you feel the greatest need to be delivered from evil?

Tuesday- Read Ephesians 6:10-17 in the New Testament.   Paul wanted the Jesus-followers of Ephesus to take the devil seriously.  As they struggled with temptation, attack, and all that would pull them away from Christ and their mission, they needed to know that there is a very real power of evil determined to keep them separated from God and from each other.  Paul used a soldier’s armor as a metaphor to explain how we all must be protected from temptation and evil.  Where do you feel strongest in putting on the whole armor of God?  Where are you most vulnerable?

WednesdayRead James 4:7 in the New Testament.   In this simple statement James (the brother of Jesus) reminds us that we have to play an active role in avoiding temptation and evil.  It’s not a matter of praying to God and then sitting back and expecting God to do all the work.  We have to partner with God.   A partnership between us and God will send the enemy running.   In what ways are you resisting the devil?  In what ways do you need to start resisting the devil?

ThursdayRead I Corinthians 10:6-13 in the New Testament.  God doesn’t shield us from all temptation.  Sometimes we enter into it in spite of God.  Sometimes temptation just happens.  And sometimes God allows it.   We grow and strengthen against resistance, after all, and this is true in our faith life as well.   But we’re assured God has no intention to allow temptation to the point of breaking us.  In what ways has God provided you with pathways to escape temptation or to avoid it?

FridayRead  Philippians 4:8 in the New Testament.   Some of the specific paths out of temptation and the impact of evil include the following: 1) JOY.   We can choose to know that the joy of the Lord is our strength.  (Nehemiah 8:10)   God provides joy that the world can’t give and the world can’t take away.  2) RELATIONSHIPS OF ACCOUNTABILITY.   This is where life groups are of such value.  We each need persons who care enough about us to let us know when we’re dangerously close to the guardrails.  3) THINKING THE RIGHT THOUGHTS.  In this verse Paul urges us to think of that which reflects Jesus, intentionally.  Where is it easiest for you to think healthy thoughts?   Where do you struggle with thoughts that pull you away from God?

World’s Greatest Prayer

For Yours is the Kingdom, Power and Glory

Carl Junction Campus Message

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Study Guide

MondayRead Matthew 6:9-13 in the New Testament.   The last line of the Lord’s Prayer as most churches use it is, “For thine is the Kingdom, and the Power, and the Glory forever, Amen.”  In most translations of the Bible it does not appear in the text.  Rather, it’s noted in a footnote that some manuscripts contained it, but others did not.  It may be just a footnote, but it packs a powerful punch.  The word “For” might better be translated “Because.”  We pray everything in the Lord’s Prayer BECAUSE the Kingdom, Power, and Glory all belong to God.  What does this mean for you?

TuesdayRead  Exodus 3:13-15 in the Old Testament.   Moses largely was unfamiliar with God when God called him to lead the Hebrew Slaves out of bondage in Egypt and to the land God had promised them.  Moses was reluctant, and asked God who he should tell the Hebrews had sent him.  He wanted to know God’s name.   God’s answer was less of a name and more of a verb.  “I AM,” he replied.   What does it say about the level of God’s power that God would identify himself by the first person singular being-verb?

WednesdayRead John 1:14 in the New Testament.   The concept of  “glory” has multiple dimensions.  Glory means fame, success, acclaim, and being worthy of praise.  Glory also has a certain glow of energy, or magnificence, or light.  When people encountered God’s glory, they fell facedown.  They were awestruck and couldn’t speak.  John lets us know from the beginning of his gospel that God’s glory is most fully known in Jesus.   What is the closest you have come to experiencing God’s glory?

ThursdayRead Luke 22:39-42 in the New Testament.   A powerful word in the last line of the Lord’s Prayer as we pray it is “thine” or “yours” in current word usage.   That one word acknowledges that it all begins with God, continues with God, and finishes with God.  It is all about what the heart and will of God, who loves us with a love greater than we can imagine.  That’s hard to acknowledge, especially when life or circumstances want us to shift to “mine.”   Where is it hardest right now in your life to say, “God, not my will, but yours.”?

Friday – Read Revelation 22:1-5 Nothing lasts forever, right?  But the Lord’s Prayer states a belief that God’s Kingdom, Glory, and Power WILL last forever.   In fact, they will not be bound by the limits of time that define our existence.   In these verses, and exiled Christian leader named John describes a glimpse of God’s forever?   Where do you see glimpses of God’s forever?   What makes you most hopeful about God’s forever?