This is part of an ongoing series book study which complements the Thursday and Friday morning Men’s book study on prayer. Read the other chapter discussions here. Read along with us! Last week, we discussed Calvin’s “4.5 Rules on Prayer.”
When man first made flying machines it seemed we were defying the laws of physics. The more we “mastered” the air, the more we realized it is our embrace of these laws that gave us new abilities. No master abandons the fundamentals of his art. He embraces them ever tighter so that the fundamentals become a part of him and they flow into creativity.
The Lord’s Prayer: Our outline and model
In this chapter we see the Lord’s Prayer not simply as a prayer in and of itself, but as a model for praying and an outline of sorts to structure our own prayers. It’s a fundamental understanding of the art of prayer by which we are allowed to expand and explore our prayer lives.
We begin by acknowledging our relationship to God as our Father. We then move to petitions about God’s standing in our life and in the world as well as the state of his Kingdom. Next we petition his will in our lives and in the world and only after we are nearly half way through the prayer do we begin to pull focus on ourselves.
We petition God for our basic personal needs, forgiveness of our sins as well as the grace to forgive others, deliverance from trials and deliverance from evil. In each of these sections we are allowed to see a glimpse of what Augustine, Luther and Calvin thought of these petitions and how they prayed through them. Finally, Keller wraps up the chapter by pointing out the communal nature of this prayer and our need to experience it together with Christ.
Questions for Discussion:
- What does it mean to be a sons of God? See Romans 8:29 and 1 John 3
- How does God as “Father” differ from other gods? How does this affect your view of God? Why is having a bad earthly father not an excuse for refusing to see God as father?
- How do we “Hallow” God’s name?
- If Jesus is to be believed, that the “Kingdom of God is at hand,” what does it mean to pray “thy Kingdom come?
- Inshallah, is Arabic for “God willing” or “if Allah wills.” This is a typical saying in the fatalist theology of Islam. The doctrines surrounding the sovereignty of God and of predestination of the elect is not fatalism, so how is saying “Thy will be done” different than the Islamic sentiment?
- What daily bread are you not asking for? What daily bread are you taking for granted?
- Read Calvin’s quote on the top of page 116 in the section of Debts and Debtors, and share with one another what it means to “get back in our enemies good graces.”