Tuesday, December 30, 2014

“A Model for Prayer” Adult Sunday School Lesson

International Sunday School Lesson
For Sunday January 5, 2015

Purpose: To discover what Jesus taught us about prayer

Bible Lesson: Luke 11:1-13

Luke 11:1-13 (CEB)
(1) Jesus was praying in a certain place. When he finished, one of his disciples said, "Lord, teach us to pray, just as John taught his disciples." (2) Jesus told them, "When you pray, say: ‘Father, uphold the holiness of your name. Bring in your kingdom. (3) Give us the bread we need for today. (4) Forgive us our sins, for we also forgive everyone who has wronged us. And don’t lead us into temptation.’"

(5) He also said to them, “Imagine that one of you has a friend and you go to that friend in the middle of the night. Imagine saying, ‘Friend, loan me three loaves of bread (6) because a friend of mine on a journey has arrived and I have nothing to set before him.’ (7) Imagine further that he answers from within the house, ‘Don’t bother me. The door is already locked, and my children and I are in bed. I can’t get up to give you anything.’ (8) I assure you, even if he wouldn’t get up and help because of his friendship, he will get up and give his friend whatever he needs because of his friend’s brashness. (9) And I tell you: Ask and you will receive. Seek and you will find. Knock and the door will be opened to you. (10) Everyone who asks, receives. Whoever seeks, finds. To everyone who knocks, the door is opened.

(11) "Which father among you would give a snake to your child if the child asked for a fish? (12) If a child asked for an egg, what father would give the child a scorpion? (13) If you who are evil know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him?"

My Thoughts by Burgess Walter

It was certainly not unusual for group of disciples to ask the question, and request that their leader/teacher give them a prayer to recite and use. John had done that as well as many other teachers and Rabbis in that time period.

So, although we call it the Lord’s Prayer, it is really the disciples’ prayer, as taught by Jesus.

God’s holiness is a given, and He is certainly worthy to be addressed in that way, in fact He alone is deserving of our hallowed praise. Hallow is defined as: (1) honor as holy. "the Ganges is hallowed as a sacred, cleansing river" (2) make holy; (3) ) greatly revered or respected. as "in keeping with a hallowed family tradition.) Synonyms would be; consecrate, holy, sacred, consecrated, sanctified, blessed

Jesus then tells the disciples the goal is for earth to become like heaven, and we know God’s will is done in heaven. So our prayers should be that God’s will is carried out on earth just like we know His will is carried out in heaven.

My interpretation of this text, might be different than most commentators. The thoughts expressed are strictly mine and I have no commentator to quote. I can only share what I feel God, through his Holy Spirit, is teaching me.

When Jesus says, “Give us the bread we need for today,” as the CEB records, I do not think he is talking about the food we eat. This would go completely contrary to Jesus teaching as recorded in Matthew 6:25-34 which is also concerning the prayer taught to the disciples. In that setting Jesus says, (25) Therefore, I say to you, don’t worry about your life, what you’ll eat or what you’ll drink, or about your body, what you’ll wear. Isn’t life more than food and the body more than clothes?" So why would he make it part of this prayer?

Jesus refers to himself as the “Bread of Life.” and I think that is the bread Jesus is referring to in this prayer. John 6:35 And Jesus said to them, "I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst." Again in John 6:51-58 he says” I am the living bread which came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever; and the bread that I shall give is My flesh, which I shall give for the life of the world. As the living Father sent Me, and I live because of the Father, so he who feeds on Me will live because of Me. This is the bread which came down from heaven-- not as your fathers ate the manna, and are dead. He who eats this bread will live forever."

John 6:63 "It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing. The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life."

In my mind, Jesus wanted the disciples to get more of Him. That, I think is His wish for us also, more of Jesus in our lives and less thought about what we will eat. We need to receive that spiritual bread daily.

Forgiving others is certainly part of having the spirit of Jesus in our lives. As we become more like Jesus in our daily living, we are less likely to get caught up in the temptations of this world.

I rejoice that Jesus wants us to be bold and persistent in asking the Father for help in fulfilling our obligations and social responsibilities. Being a good neighbor is part of being a good Christian.

I think we forget who our Father is, and how much He wants us to be good messengers of the words He has taught us.

Giving us the Holy Spirit is the ultimate gift after we were given eternal life through the Son. We have access to all of God. Unfortunately, unless we live daily for Him, He does not have all of us. When we trust God for everything we do not need to worry about what we will eat for dinner. “Take and eat.” I think the Hymn says it best.

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