We started off this year by learning about one of the pillars of our faith, the 10 commandments. Now as we move on after Christmas we’ll be spending time diving deeply into two other pillars of our faith: The Lord’s Prayer and the Apostles Creed. This week we’ll be introducing the Lord’s Prayer as by asking the question:
Why should I pray the Lord’s Prayer when it feels like I’m just going through the motions?
Throughout the Bible we can find prayers, in both the Old and New Testaments. Prayer often took many different forms from sacrificing to literally talking to God. However, in the Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John) we find only a single recorded prayer directly from the lips of Jesus Christ. This has come to be known as “The Lord’s Prayer,” and it was delivered by Jesus in both the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7) and the Sermon on the Plain (Luke 6). Jesus introduced the prayer to us using these words, “Pray then in this way…”
This means that when we pray the Lord’s Prayer, we actually follow the direct advice of Jesus. He tells us to pray boldly without being afraid. However, while the prayer does suggest that we ask for specific things, we need to be aware of another piece of Jesus’ advice. He said, “When you are praying, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do, for they think that they will be heard because of their many words.” (Matthew 6:7).
In other words we are supposed to think about what we are saying when we pray. This week in large group we’ll explore the benefits of learning something by heart through the story of a dementia stricken grandmother who found solace in being able to write down the first letter of every word in the Lord’s Prayer. Then we’ll look at what each of the petitions in the prayer means to us as we take time to rewrite the Lord’s prayer in our own words with the help of Martin Luther’s Small Catechism. Then as we move into small group we’ll spend time together story-boarding a How-To video on prayer.
This week’s take home assignment is to explore the idea of prayer at home with our parents. Each member of CREW will go home with a few questions they’ll need to answer with their parents and be ready to share with their small group next week.
Over the next four weeks we’ll continue to explore more deeply the different petitions of the Lord’s Prayer. As we learn about each of these petitions we’ll ask some really hard questions together.
- Why does God let bad things happen?
- Why should I pray when God doesn’t answer all my prayers?
- Can I do something bad enough to make God stop loving me?
- How do I stop doing things I know I shouldn’t do?