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Christmas 2009
Christmas 2009

About praying

An Introduction to the Lord’s Prayer

“This, then, is how you should pray:” (Matthew 6:9 a)

When the disciples asked Jesus to teach them how to pray, this was his response. Jesus gave His followers what we now know as the Lord’s Prayer, which is as complete and as powerful a model for prayer as you will ever findPrayer.

Day 1: Our Father in heaven...

In the Bible Jesus tells the story of the prodigal son (Luke 15:11-32). The son rejects his father, demands his inheritance (saying in effect that he wished his father were dead), and squanders his wealth. When the son finally realises he would be better off at home, he decides to return and ask his father for a job as a servant. His father - in total contradiction to what would have been expected, or even what is respectable - runs out to meet him and embraces him. Some have suggested that this story should really be called the prodigal father, because the father is so free and “wasteful” with his love, expecting nothing in return. This is the Father that we address when we begin the Lord’s Prayer.

Think about or write down the qualities of God as our Father in Heaven who is loving and forgiving. Read these out loud or share them with a friend.

Day 2: Hallowed Be Your Name…

When we pray “hallowed be your name,” we are saying that the name of God is special and we want all of creation to worship the name. This is a name that should be praised because of its majesty - after all, God is in heaven. This, when understood in the context of God’s majesty, should reveal to us what an unbelievable and undeserved gift it is to be children of the living God.

Think about the privilege it would be to be invited to visit a world leader. Consider the privilege of being in the presence of the leader of all world leaders down throughout history. God is this ruler of all things. His name is very special! Put these thoughts into words and share them.

Day 3: Your Kingdom Come, Your Will Be Done, On Earth As It Is In Heaven...

This prayer can only be understood in the light of how Jesus lived while he was here on earth. He preached the message about His Father in heaven, he reached out to the poor and the disadvantaged, he brought healing and comfort to the suffering, and he proclaimed the truth that anyone can have a new start in life. These were the things that the Father wanted Jesus to do. And these are the things He wants us to continue to do as well.

Consider how you could live today in a way that is in step with God’s Kingdom. What would you do differently?  Ask God to help you do this today.

Day 4: Give Us This Day Our Daily Bread...

At the heart of the Lords Prayer we are encouraged to pray for our daily needs - food, shelter, finances, relationships, and the like. Nothing is too small for us to bring before our Father in Heaven. He wants us to be in complete, daily dependence on him. In His wisdom He will supply all our needs.

Make a list of your needs, but only what you need for today. Ask God to help provide your daily needs.

Day 5: And Forgive Us Our Sins, As We Forgive Those Who Sin Against Us…

We are asking, in this prayer, for God to forgive us in exactly the same way as we forgive those who wrong us. The gospel of Matthew puts this in stronger terms: “For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.” (Matthew 6:14-15).

Firstly, consider any wrongdoing that you have done and ask God to forgive you. Secondly, consider any wrong doing that has been committed against you; ask God to help you to forgive them for their wrongdoing.

Day 6: Lead Us Not Into Temptation, But Deliver Us From Evil…

There is an evil that is powerful and active in this world today, and it is opposed to God’s good creation and perfect will. But the victory that Jesus brings is more powerful, and more active. This prayer asks that we would not be tempted more than we can withstand, and that with the strength of Jesus we would be able to resist evil and pass safely through the testing of our faith.

Imagine if you were able to assign a guardian angel to be with you – where would you want him to be present the most? Ask God to give protection in these places.

Day 7: For Yours Is The Kingdom, The Power And The Glory, For Ever And Ever, Amen.

Jesus showed us that the world’s understanding of power and glory is flawed. Real power and glory is found in obedience, humility, grace, justice, love, forgiveness, and all the things that characterised His life. This is the power and glory that exists in the Kingdom of God.

Reflect on any times when you might have abused power or desired power to force the things that you thought were important. Contrast the patience and gentleness of God’s kingdom ways, which are built on Love, Joy and Peace – these are the things that last.

Pray for more of God’s Kingdom to be seen in our world now and forever.