(Delete the portions in red when handing out questions to students.)
Bible Study 6
Did Jesus say that following him is an easy task?
(Luke 9:23-24 NIV) Then he said to them all: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will save it.
To deny ourselves means to subdue our sinful desires and worldly passions and make all these secondary to living godly lives.
(Titus 2:11-12 NIV) For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people. It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age…
To take up our cross is to fulfil the mission that God has for us in this world. Jesus’ mission is the cross i.e. is to die for the sins of mankind. Our mission or our cross is a different one. It is whatever God calls us to fulfil in this life. He may call some of us to serve Him full time in a church. For most others He may call us to live impactful lives right where we are and be a positive influence in the market place.
Jesus taught His disciples how to pray.
(Luke 11:1-4 NIV) One day Jesus was praying in a certain place. When he finished, one of his disciples said to him, “Lord, teach us to pray, just as John taught his disciples.” He said to them, “When you pray, say: “‘Father, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come. Give us each day our daily bread. Forgive us our sins, for we also forgive everyone who sins against us. And lead us not into temptation.’”
“Our Father…” What did Jesus mean when He said we can address God as our Father?
By teaching us to address God as Father, Jesus is telling us that prayer should arise from a close relationship with God.
It should not be ritualistic. The Bible does not advocate fixed mandatory prayers. A Christian is told to be constantly in communication with his God (1 Thessalonians 5:17).
Prayer need not be formal. The prayer that Jesus taught is to be a model for prayer, not a list to recite every time one prays. God wants us to pour out our feelings to Him as a child would to his earthly father. When we look at the prayers of the biblical characters like David, they poured out their deepest feelings to God, telling him of their fears, struggles, even complaints.
Prayer is done in a language that the pray-er understands as he is communicating with God. Having said that, there is such a thing as praying in an unknown tongue when one is led by the Holy Spirit. However, a Christian is not asked to memorize prayers in another foreign language.
“…hallowed be your name”
This is the part where you worship God and praise Him for who He is. His Name is holy. His Name also reveals aspects of His character that we can praise and worship Him for.
What are the names of God you can think of that reveals His character?
(Genesis 22:14 NIV) So Abraham called that place The Lord Will Provide (Jehovah-Jireh). And to this day it is said, “On the mountain of the Lord it will be provided.”
(Exodus 15:26 NIV) He said, “If you listen carefully to the Lord your God and do what is right in his eyes, if you pay attention to his commands and keep all his decrees, I will not bring on you any of the diseases I brought on the Egyptians, for I am the Lord, who heals you.” (Jehovah-Rophe).
(Jeremiah 23:6 NIV) In his days Judah will be saved and Israel will live in safety. This is the name by which he will be called: The Lord Our Righteous Savior. (Jehovah-tsidkenu).
(Leviticus 20:8 NIV) Keep my decrees and follow them. I am the Lord, who makes you holy. (Jehovah-m’kaddesh).
(Psalms 23:1 NIV) The Lord is my shepherd (Jehovah-Rohi), I lack nothing.
(Judges 6:24 NIV) So Gideon built an altar to the Lord there and called it The Lord Is Peace (Jehovah-shalom). To this day it stands in Ophrah of the Abiezrites.
Why is it important to praise and worship God at the very beginning of prayer and not put forth our requests immediately?
When we request for things, our mind set is often negative. We focus on the things we are lacking in life or the problems we would like God to solve. However, if we praise and worship God at the beginning of our prayer, we begin with a positive mind set and it will put our requests in perspective.
For example, when we worship God because He is almighty, it means that God is bigger than our problems. We later on can pray in faith that God can grant us our requests because nothing is impossible with Him.
When we praise God as our Provider and thank Him for the things He has provided for us, our faith also rises because we know that if God can provide for us in the past, He can also do so in the future. We also have no doubt that God loves us and wants only the best for us. Furthermore, we put things in perspective that while we may put forth our requests for other things, our life is not characterized by lack, but by the many things that God has already provided for us.
“your kingdom come” What do you understand by this phrase?
The kingdom of God is the sphere of God’s rule.
(Mat 4:23 NIV) Jesus went throughout Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom, and healing every disease and sickness among the people.
(Mat 12:28 NIV) But if it is by the Spirit of God that I drive out demons, then the kingdom of God has come upon you.
In heaven, God’s rule prevailed entirely. But on earth, humans rebel against God. Jesus tells us to pray that God’s rule will be extended to earth as it is in heaven. In other words, pray for God’s divine intervention on your situations.
“Give us each day our daily bread”
Most people rattle off their requests at the beginning of prayer. Some people’s prayer contain nothing but requests. However, when Jesus taught us how to pray, He puts other more important things before petitioning for our own needs. While coming to God with our needs is important, the Bible teaches that God already knows our needs even before we come to Him. Therefore, there is no need to worry that our needs won’t be met and let our requests be the pre-occupation of our prayers.
(Matthew 6:2532 NIV) “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life? “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labour or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendour was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them.