March 27, 2010

A Daily Online Lenten Study Guide: Day 34



Monte Holland

This is the thirty-fourth in a series of daily Lenten devotionals called “Scriptural Lessons Leading to a Godly and Moral Life.” To start the study, click on: A Daily Online Lenten Study Guide: Introduction or

To view yesterday’s A DAILY ON-LINE LENTEN STUDY GUIDE click on: A Daily Online Lenten Study Guide: Day 33

Today’s photographs feature the Palm Sunday walk in Connellsville, PA. Unfortunately, the community Palm Sunday celebration is no longer being celebrated in this manner. To view click on:

     During the final seven devotionals relating to the Godly, moral life, we will look at the most famous prayer from Jesus, images of God, as well as some wisdom from the Old Testament prophet, Jeremiah, and the current times, followed by a final summary.

The Lord’s Prayer (part 1)

     Some television ads really “bug” me. And the worst part — they are aired over and over again during my favorite daily programs. The most offensive one advertises a necklace with a cross, in which the embedded Lord’s Prayer becomes visible by viewing one of the stones in the cross at just the right angle. The offensiveness occurs in the announcer’s statement: “The prayer almost miraculously appears when you look closely at the cross.” To equate the appearance of the implanted text of the prayer of Jesus, the true miracle worker, with being “miraculous”, is to almost imply that the Lord’s Prayer is an incantation that brings miracles. This is truly offensive.

    Jesus gave us the Lord’s Prayer to assist us in building our relationship with God. We pray it with expectation, not of a miracle, but of growing closer to God. Let us look at this great prayer with our eyes toward how it helps us build relationship with God.

The Lord’s Prayer – Matthew 6:5-15 (CEV) and Luke 11.2-4)

 5When you pray, don’t be like those show-offs who love to stand up and pray in the meeting places and on the street corners. They do this just to look good. I can assure you that they already have their reward.

    6When you pray, go into a room alone and close the door. Pray to your Father in private. He knows what is done in private, and he will reward you.

    7When you pray, don’t talk on and on as people do who don’t know God. They think God likes to hear long prayers. 8Don’t be like them. Your Father knows what you need before you ask.

    9You should pray like this:

   Our Father in heaven, help us to honor your name.

    10Come and set up your kingdom, so that everyone on earth will obey you, as you are obeyed

   in heaven.

    11Give us our food for today.

    12Forgive us for doing wrong, as we forgive others.

    13Keep us from being tempted and protect us from evil.

    14If you forgive others for the wrongs they do to you, your Father in heaven will forgive you.  

   15But if you don’t forgive others, your Father will not forgive your sins.

Verses 9b-13 include the main thoughts of our traditional version of the Lord’s Prayer.

Preceding the words of the prayer, Jesus gives us some general instruction about prayer:

  1. Don’t show off for others to see when you pray.
  2. When you pray, go into a room alone and close the door. (God knows what you are doing there.)
  3. Keep your prayer brief and to the point. God already knows what you need.
  4. If you don’t forgive others, God will not forgive you your sins.

Today, let us focus on the meaning of prayer and its role in the Godly, moral life.

First, prayer is connecting with God.

Second, prayer is important because the Godly, moral life is about loving God, neighbor and self.

Third, following up on the second point, God first loved our neighbor and our self. Thus, connecting with God in prayer is crucial.

Fourth, prayer involves listening as much, and probably more, than speaking.

A Model for Prayer – The Lord’s Prayer, given to us by Jesus, is often thought of as a model prayer. There is another model for prayer (more…)

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