These questions are meant to be a choose-your-own-adventure. That is, use what you like. Skip what you don’t. And add to it in any way you see fit.
Here are a couple of completely off-topic icebreaker questions…take it or leave ‘em!
- If you could be famous, what would you want to be famous for?
- If you could be the age you are now in any decade from the last century, what decade would you choose?
- If you could play any instrument at the top-professional level, what would it be?
When You Pray
Read Matthew 6.5-8 together.
5 “And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. 6 But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. 7 And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. 8 Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.
- Look at verses 5 and 6 first. What do you hear Jesus saying to us?
- And in verses 7 and 8. Same idea…what do you hear Jesus saying?
- Jesus goes a long way here to address some major questions about prayer, but we all have more questions or concerns or confusion about prayer. What about you?
How You Should Pray
As you read these first few lines from the Lord’s Prayer, pay attention to these two things – WHAT Jesus prays and HOW Jesus prays.
Read Matthew 6.9-10
9 “This, then, is how you should pray: “‘Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, 10 your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.
- Our Father – Look at HOW Jesus begins. We miss how big of deal this is. It’s revolutionary. In fact, this was enough to turn the Pharisees against Jesus…the compete audacity to call God, our Father. No one had addressed God this way before. So what do you think Jesus is trying to teach us about prayer?
- Our Father in Heaven – This may feel like we’re getting too far into the weeds, but this is very unfortunate translation of what Jesus said. It would be much better to say, “in the heavens.” We read Heaven as a far-off place, that place reserved for after death. Jesus, so it seems, is saying the opposite. God is in the heavens, as in, he’s in the air around us, he is as close as oxygen we breath. How does this change the way you see God? How could this change the way you pray?
- Hollowed be your name. – This is a declaration that God is holy, but there’s more to it than that. God is also unique, He is without parallel. He is joy and peace and love. But this isn’t in the prayer because God needs us to remind him of his goodness. It’s us – we need to be reminded of who he is when pray. Because God is Good and because God is Love, how can that affect how we pray and what we pray for?
- Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. – This is Jesus teaching us that we can ask God to take over in any area where his will is not happening. What does that mean to you? And prayer do you have where you are asking God for his will to be done?
A Final Question
- Matt offered four truths about God at the end of the sermon. Which of these do you need to be reminded of? And why?
– God is a loving father who has good intentions toward you.
– God is as close as the air around you.
– The point of prayer is joyful enjoyment of the Father’s company.
– Your prayers make a difference.