Red Letter Prayers: The Model Prayer

Walking with Christ: A Guide for Weekly Scripture Reading and Prayer

What is this?
We are busy people. Our days are jam-packed with noise, demands, and obligations. Most of us long to be closer to Christ and to each other, but we frankly don’t know where to start. We want our families to spend quality time praying and reading Scripture together, but our days are hectic and evening comes before we’re ready.  As a church staff, we love to see the people of God connecting with the heart of God.  And, thus, we will provide you a simple tool to carry home each Sunday.  This guide will help you slow down, remember the message you heard, and engage the biblical texts in a deeper way.  It will remind you to pray and reflect on God’s presence in your life each day. And all the while, you will be on this journey with others in the FBC family!  Together we can strive to be a people who not only hear God’s word but allow it to take root and transform our lives every single day. 

What do I do with it?
Each week the guide will be divided into three points.  You can do all three in one sitting or work through one a day throughout the week. The guides can be used for personal reflection or as a tool to use with your family or friends around the dinner table or before bed.  There will be room to take notes and record your own thoughts and reflections.  Since you will receive a new sheet each week, you are encouraged to purchase a notebook so you can keep the materials in one place. Each session will conclude with a children’s challenge.  This will give parents several ideas to help bring the passage to life for the whole family. Use this in whichever way you feel it will be most effective in your life and in the lives of your family and/or friends. 
August 12-18, 2012
Matthew 6:9-13
As this week’s sermon looks at the Model Prayer it seems appropriate to focus especially on pausing in the midst of a busy day and actually praying. Before beginning each day’s exercise take a moment to sit in silence and prepare yourself to meet with God. Read through the Scripture passage several times, asking God to speak to you through His Word.

1.      Many of us have recited the Lord’s Prayer more times than we can possibly count.  For some, it has become so familiar that we can pray the prayer without really praying the prayer. The Message translation of the Bible has a modern version of the Lord’s Prayer that offers the same meaning with renewed language.  In this season of prayer meditate on this translation, line by line, taking the time to actually think about what we are proclaiming, confessing, and asking.

Our Father in heaven,
Reveal who you are.
Set the world right;
Do what’s best—
As above, so below
Keep us alive with three square meals
Keep us forgiven with you and forgiving others
You’re in charge!
You can do anything you want

You’re ablaze in beauty.

Yes. Yes. Yes.

2.      The Model Prayer begins with adoration. The Father is acknowledged as one who is holy and exalted. The verses before the Model Prayer tell believers not to heap up empty phrases and fill their prayer with meaningless words.  There is no secret formula that must be spoken to invoke God’s presence.  Rather than begging God to open Himself up to us, prayer allows us to intentionally open ourselves up to the God who is always present. Jesus is not speaking against long, thoughtful prayers, but rather, against prayers spoken to a god who is picky and difficult to please.  When our prayers to the Lord flow out of genuine hearts longing for an intimate relationship there is plenty of room for adoration.  In fact, there is something very humbling about remembering the names of God throughout Scripture and praying a prayer of praise as they cross your mind.  Take some time to remember all the ways God is named and described. As you think of each word honor God for who God is.

3.      Jesus says that confession should be a consistent part of our prayer life. “And forgive us our debts…” Too often we downplay our sin and pray the detached, blanket prayer- “and forgive me for all my sins.”   When we hurt someone in a relationship, our apology and desire for healing seems most sincere when we actually acknowledge our mistake and name it.  To name our sin for what it is constantly reminds us of our need for grace.  As you pray today, name your sins and trust that the Lord is faithful to forgive them.

“As we also have forgiven others.” We should not expect the Lord to do something for us that we, as God’s children, are not willing to do for our brothers and sisters. Who in your life do you need to forgive?  Are you willing to make a step in repairing that relationship today?

Humble confession is followed by a renewed awareness of God’s grace. This awareness will naturally lead to a heart of gratitude. As you pray, take the time to thank God for the many ways God has been good to you. 

Finally, pray for others and yourself.

Children’s Challenge

·         Throughout the week help your child memorize the Lord’s Prayer.  As they learn it take the time to explain each line in a way he or she will understand.

·         If your child already knows the Lord’s Prayer it would be a fun activity to rewrite it together.  Talk about what each line says and ask, “What do you think this means?” For example, “Your will be done,” could be reworded, “God, do what you want!”  This can become a prayer you write together and pray together regularly as a family.

·         Choose 4 different times this week to teach your child different ways to pray. One night focus on adoration and help them think of the many names of God. On another night talk about sin and explain how you also sin. Ask God for forgiveness together.  Spend a day thanking God for your many blessings. You may want to have a small Thanksgiving dinner that night and share your praises around the table.  Finally, take a night to teach your child how you pray for family, friends, and strangers. Finish by praying for one another and yourself.

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