This morning we continued our study into the heart of Jesus' Sermon on the Mount. The Section on Prayer is interesting because of the thousands of years Jesus followers have envoked "The Lord's Prayer" when they approach their faith. Here it is...
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.
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.
11 Give us today our daily bread.
12 And forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.
13 And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from the evil one.’
14 For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15 But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.
The Discussion was very interesting. We spent a little time talking through the attitude of prayer. Most students agreed the showmanship of prayer has taken a front row seat when people are insecure in their faith, and it's our duty to check our spirit when we pray in public. When we are tempted to use phrases that lace up our prayer life, we need to be careful prayer is used for the specific purpose of communicating our REAL lives with God.
Then we traveled through the forgiveness section since Jesus was asking us to forgive others. I think we take for granted the gravity of this section when we feel justified by the wrongs committed against us. We often rush to judgement and execution when sometimes we need to take a long hard look at what it might mean to forgive someone who has done wrong by us.
I shared a few current stories in my life where someone continues to badger my work, and shared what it meant to reach out and just forgive without any expectation circumstances would change. It's the bitterness of anger that begins to root in our spirit causing all our relationships to turn, it's those times we need to be especially careful of our responses.
Overall, the study of learning how to forgive was the highlight of this morning's discussion. So, for those of you who don't have an opportunity to join us, I'll ask you....
Who do you need to forgive today? (it's a sobering question)