Good morning. This is one of our monthly family services so can all the children come down to the front, feel free to bring a parent with you if you'd like. This term we've been thinking about prayer; we've been looking at some of the great prayers to a great God that we find in the Bible, today we're looking at a prayer that Jesus himself taught us to pray so let's start by praying and asking God to help us as we listen to his word this morning. Let's pray.
Heavenly Father you are amazing; you are powerful and perfect and yet you love us and gave your Son; Jesus for each one of us. We praise you and thank you for him and for your word - the Bible. We ask that you would help us to understand it, believe it and obey it today. Amen.
Today we're looking at probably the most famous prayer ever written. It's in Matthew 6.9-13 on p3 of the service sheets or on p684 of the blue bibles. Often it's called: 'The Lords' Prayer' and that's because Jesus taught it to his friends - the disciples. When they found it hard to pray they asked Jesus to teach them how to pray and Jesus said:
9 This, then, is how you should pray...
So this prayer is going to be an example, a template for how we should pray. In fact it's a bit like a recipe for baking a cake. Well this morning we're going to bake a cake together but I'm not sure we'll be putting it out next to the tea and coffee at the end. Now, there are lots of different types of cake that you can bake but they all have roughly the same ingredients. In the same way we can pray lots of different prayers that we can pray but they should also all have roughly the same ingredients - this part of the Bible simply helps us not forget any of those ingredients - it's a recipe.
Big Idea: Pray using a recipe so you don't forget any of the ingredients.
Ingredient 1 - Who are we praying to?
'9...Our Father in heaven'
When we pray we aren't talking to the ceiling or into thin air, we are praying to someone. We're speaking to God in heaven, the God of the whole universe who created everything including you and me. But he's also our father who loves us and wants the best for us.
Illustrate - picture of Aslan/fierce bear.
Ingredient 2 - Praising God because of who he is.
'9...hallowed be your name'
Picture of football shirt with 'Rooney' on back. Why would someone do this? To remind them of their name? No! They do it to celebrate, to give recognition to ***** for being a great footballer. They're not celebrating the name itself but the person it refers to and what they can do. When it says 'hallowed be your name' it means 'Let's get everyone to celebrate God because of the great things he has done'.
Illustrate - football shirt.
Ingredient 3 - God is the boss
10 your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.
So we know who we're praying to: God our heavenly father and we know that one of the things we should do is celebrate the things he has done for us. What else do we need to remember in our recipe?
Verse 10 tells us to ask that God would be the boss here on earth and in our lives as he is in heaven. It's a bit like if you go to your friends house and play with their toys - they're the boss. It's their house and their toys so you have to play by their rules.
The difference is we're always at God's house because everything in the universe is his. Sometimes we forget that and so Jesus says we should pray that God would be treated as the boss on earth and in our lives just like he is treated as the boss, as the king in heaven.
Illustrate - crown
Ingredient 4 - We need God to provide for us.
11 Give us today our daily bread.
God is our father who loves us and wants what's best for us, he's also the boss; the owner of the entire universe. So v11 says that we should ask God for the things that we need day by day like the food that we eat, or a home to live in, a job. All these things come from God and so we need to remember that when:
a) We do have them and say thank you.
b) We don't have them and say please.
Normally we're better at asking for the things that we don't have rather than remembering that all the good things we do have come from God. That's why saying grace before you eat is a good idea - it helps us to remember that its God not Asda who provides for us.
Illustrate - loaf of bread
Ingredient 5 - We need God to forgive us.
12 Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.
The next thing to pray is that God would forgive us the debts that we owe him. It's like asking a bank to stop asking you to pay back a loan. That's what banks used to do - loan people money, know we loan them money but that's another story. Jesus tells us to ask God to forgive the debt we owe him because Jesus has paid back everything we owe God by dying on the cross.
There's one more thing though. It says; Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. Jesus thinks that people who have been forgiven by God should be good at forgiving other people too. I think Jesus is telling us to pray two things here:
1. That God would forgive us.
2. That God would help us to forgive other people.
Illustrate - Jar of golden coins
Ingredient 6 - We need God to help us live as Christians
13 And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.'
Finally Jesus says that we should ask God to help us to say no to the things that God says aren't good. Sometimes we want to do things even though we know they're not good; we want to get our own back on people, we want to make someone else feel bad. So we can be cruel and mean or we conveniently forget about what God says about; loving others, telling the truth or obeying his commands. Jesus says that we should ask God to help us avoid those things.
Illustrate - warning sign?
Well let's take a look at our cake. Doesn't look very appetising does it but it's got some great ingredients. It's got:
1. Knowing that we're praying to God in heaven who's our father.
2. Praising God for who he is.
3. Remembering that God is the boss of us and everything.
4. Asking God for the things we need each day.
5. Asking for forgiveness and to be able to forgive others.
6. Help to choose the things that God says are good.
There's lots of other things that we can pray for; That we would be more like Jesus, that God would have mercy on our world and on our friends by helping them to trust in him. We can pray for those who are sick and for our Queen and the government too. But we shouldn't forget the ingredients Jesus has taught us in this prayer, they will help us not to bake good cakes but to pray good prayers that God loves to answer.
Our Father in heaven, may you be celebrated for the the things you have done. Please be known as the king in my life as you are king in heaven. Give us today all the things that you know we need. Forgive our sins and help us to forgive those who sin against us. Help us to avoid the things which you warn us are bad for us. In Jesus name we ask these things. Amen.