Text: Matthew 6:9-15
Prop: A prayer sandwich. Use two slices of bread and add five 3 x 5 cards with each element written on it as you explain the Lord’s prayer.
Summary: Jesus teaches us how to pray with a model prayer. Make a prayer sandwich to explain it.
Jesus was a man of prayer. He would rise early in the morning to pray. He must have been watched closely by those who followed him to learn how to pray. Sensing this, Jesus took time to teach his followers how to pray. He taught us to pray about everything, to never give up praying for those things we felt were important, and to always have faith when we prayed. God hears our prayers. He loves us and wants us to spend time with Him in prayer. Let’s make a prayer sandwich as we learn how to pray.
How many of you know the Lord’s prayer? [look for show of hands] In a moment we will close by saying it. Right now, let’s look at it to see what Jesus is teaching us about prayer. After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father, which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. When Jesus says “after this manner” he means he is showing us the things to bring into our prayer life. We usually say this prayer word for word when we pray together in church, but prayer is personal and should have certain elements. The first of these is praise. We recognize that God is holy. We address our God as a loving, personal heavenly Father.
Thy kingdom come. The second element is hope. We expect that God will act to change lives now and that Jesus will return to earth in person soon. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. We should submit our lives to God in prayer and live it out daily. We should be willing to put our concerns aside for the greater good of God’s kingdom on earth. That means we should share our toys with others, and not be a selfish person. God wants us to love each other. If we won’t even share our toys, how can we love someone else?
Give us this day our daily bread. The third element is to depend. Jesus wants us to depend on God for our needs every day. We should not worry about whether we have a month’s supply of food. God is an abundant provider. He wants us to look to him in faith for our needs. Many times Jesus did not even know where he was going to sleep at night when he started out for the day, or how he would be fed. He trusted God at every turn. He doesn’t want his children to be worried and afraid, but at peace and trusting.
And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. The fourth element is to forgive. Now these words may be tricky. What is a debt? It means something that we owe. If we go the grocery store and get a candy bar, we have a debt. We owe the store money for the candy bar we want to take home. Sometimes we ask for things we cannot have. Sometimes we do things for others and they feel obligated to repay us. Jesus wants us to be willing to give to others without expecting anything in return. That is being a cheerful giver. Take the trash out even if it is not your turn. Share a candy bar with your sister even if she didn’t ask. God wants us to forgive those that are mean to us. If we cannot forgive them, then God will not forgive us. We get what we give.
And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. The fifth element is goodness. Jesus wants our prayer to strengthen our desire to do what is right. God does not intend for us to do wrong. He wants us to avoid everything that is bad and evil. He wants us to be good children. For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen. Jesus again recognizes that all authority and power rests with God. God is in control.
Now we have completed our prayer sandwich. What elements does our prayer have? [hold each card up as a review] Praise, hope, depend, forgive, goodness. Yes, these are the elements that make for a rich prayer life. Now let’s bow our heads and practice what we have learned as we say the Lord’s prayer together.
©1998 by Jim Kerlin. All rights reserved.