Pastor Mike ended this series, Following Jesus, with a survey of the Lord’s Prayer. He suggested Jesus used this prayer to demonstrate simple heartfelt communication with God. Pastor Mike encouraged us to avoid hypocrisy by opening our hearts truthfully before God in prayer. In an activity found in the Family Challenge from this series, Nancy Sutton also encouraged families to study simple heartfelt communication with God together using the Lord’s Prayer. Find that Family Challenge tool here: FC – Following Jesus 5:12.
Both Pastor Mike and Nancy Sutton (from Navpress) offer great insight into the language of the Lord’s Prayer along with practical tips from that prayer found in Matthew 6 that anyone can use in their personal prayer life. The Lord’s prayer offers good discussion starters for families regarding the how and why of prayer. I wonder how many of our kids know that Jesus prayed? Just think what great conversations that truth alone could spark in our homes!
Pastor Mike gave these guidelines for how the Lord’s prayer can keep us following Jesus as we have been learning in this series. He tied all of the Following Jesus message themes together using the Lord’s Prayer as found in Matthew 6.
- Matthew 6:9 Our Father… “Perfect Father of ours…we know now that you I’ve us like a daddy loves his little child…you reach for us…you love us…we’re the apple of your eye…and all in spite of our sinfulness let your name remind us of your perfection, your power, your protection… You are everything to us! “
- Matthew 6:10 Thy kingdom come…“Keep transforming us…As we learned from the Beatitudes in chapters 5-7 “let us continue to evidence You by our transformed and transforming hearts.”
- Matthew 6:11 Give us this day…“Give us what we need today or we’re not going to make it. We cannot make it without your merciful provisions to sustain us. Our hearts have been corrupt so long that our lives are a mess and to face the truth is too hard.”
- Matthew 6:12 Forgive us..“Reconciliation all around for and keep us from hypocrisy. At the root of it all, Father, is our reconciliation with you that pours out into the world and brings us back again to our reconciliation with you.”
- Matthew 6: 13-14 Lead us…”Lead us in your ways Jesus. Lead us away from the natural tendencies in our heart. In the Sermon on the Mount context, our tendency is toward self-interest, self-glorifying behavior and approval and away from humble receiving of grace and faith in Jesus. how quickly we retreat, and regress back to old ways or run to “new” ways. You have taught us your ways…by your Spirit keep us there.”
The Sermon on the Mount ends with these words from Jesus found in Matthew 7: 24-27
“Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.”
Using the truths learned from Matthew 5-7, covered in the Following Jesus series, we have an example of how to build wise families with solid faith foundations. The example of prayer given by Jesus in Matthew 6 teaches that honest and frequent communication with God is foundational to the Christian faith. It gives our homes a solid foundation in order to weather the situations or storms of life. Families can build solid homes of faith by following Jesus’ example of prayer. God asks us to not just hear His words but to put them into practice. He instructs us to pray.
How are we building a strong foundation by practicing prayer in our homes? How is Vista encouraging families to do it together. Check out this video from you tube: find it here