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”?