Pastors, Bible Study Leaders, Educators:
Would you give me a few minutes of your reading time?
Briefly explore a sample lesson of a new Christ-centered, Bible study, The Life of Christ. This 54 week study will enrich the spiritual life of your congregation. It offers a wide variety of great resources and visual aids from the Internet. Thank you for your time and thoughtful consideration.
Blessings to you this day.
Ed Markquart, Author of this website.
View sample lessons
Grace to you and peace from God our Father...
And our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,
We are continuing our series on the Sermon on the mount and the
title of the sermon for tonight for all the 5th through 9th graders
is "Talk the
that in the space on your sheet.
“Talk the Talk.” The text is Matthew 6:7-15.
Tonight we are going to talk about prayer and Jesus’ teachings
about prayer in the Sermon on the Mount. But John, how are we going
to condense Jesus’ teachings about prayer into a fifteen minute
sermon? There is so much material. There is tons of material. Where
do we begin?
Like always, we did our research. In our research we found that one
thing is sure: that prayer is not dead!
Prayer is very much alive in America today and not just among
the religious flakes and fanatics.
It is a part of the spiritual life of thousands of people
including contemporary Christians like you and me.
Prayer has to be popular if it made the front page of Newsweek
magazine. The title of the front page article was: “Talking to
God. An Intimate Look at the Way We Pray.” This article in
Newsweek magazine reported on the sociological studies about prayer
life of us Americans.
The article indicated that public
worship was not enough for Christians. People want more than once a week, public worship in church. People want and
need a personal, daily
as well. That is, most
American people want a deeper intimacy with God.
We discovered through this article that lots of people in America
are praying. For example, this article says that 78% of Americans
are praying weekly. It also said that 57% of Americans praying
daily. But the statistic that I thought was most interesting was
that 13% of Americans are unchurched and are hostile or apathetic to
the church. They identify themselves as atheists or agnostics. In
this group who are apathetic or hostile to the church, one out of
five of this group, 20%, was praying daily. 20% of unchurched people
are praying daily. This article also discovered that in terms of
books sold here in the USA, there are 2000 titles on prayer and only
700 titles on sex.
that mean that prayer is more important than sex?
What is means is that prayer is more popular than sex. People are
really interested in prayer throughout all of America. Americans are
interested in this spiritual
intimacy with God. But
I have to ask the question, John. Why? Why is that so?
Why does there seem to be a craving for spiritual intimacy
here in a technological society called the United States of America?
Why is there this craving for prayer among us?
You used the word, “craving.” I think there is a craving going
on. The world has
become crazy - some
would say out of control. The world has become too fast, too busy,
too plastic, too artificial, too material.
Our spiritual life has been on hold too long. There in a
craving for intimacy and conversation with God.
I remember when I went fishing in Alaska and we couldn't have
-- we had to
drink powered milk
because whole milk would spoil.
We drank that powered
milk all summer long. At the end of the season we really
craved a nice glass of whole, fresh milk. Similarly, there is that kind of craving for prayer in our
fast paced society today.
Another thing that this article taught about prayer is that prayer
is healthy for you. Yes, according to this article in Newsweek,
prayer makes you healthy. It reported studies of people with
cardiovascular problems. This article demonstrated scientifically
that prayer helps people with cardiac problems. Prayer helps people
reduce tension and stress in their lives. It is true that prayer
helps you become healthier physically.
Something, Ed, both you and I have said to every couple we work with
who are planning to get married is that prayer together will help
their marriage. We tell young couples: “You need to be involved in
prayer together. You need to be praying together as husband and
wife.” Greely, the
sociologist and author of this Newsweek article, said and I
quote: “Spouses who pray together report the greatest level of
marital satisfaction.” That is what we try to teach our young
couples who are to be married: it is important to pray together.
Another thing that I liked about this fine article in prayer was the
concept of stages of maturation in prayer.
That is, all of our relationships go through stages e.g. our
friendship John. We have been friends for years and the more we have
talked to each other year after year, our relationship gradually
deepened. Likewise with prayer, the more time we spend with God
through in the years in prayers, the deeper our relationship with
It is interesting to note that when Jesus took his disciples up on
the mountain for the Sermon on the Mount, his disciples did not ask
him to teach them about anger. His disciples didn’t ask him to
teach about lust or revenge or giving alms. But those first
asked Jesus to teach them how to pray.
believe that the first disciples knew that prayer was very important
to Jesus. Those first disciples also knew that prayer was the key to
Jesus’ own spirituality. They knew that prayer was the key to
unlock the power of the Christian life. Those disciples want to know
how to pray because they knew it unlocked power for their own
there is no prayer, there is no power. If there is no prayer to your
life and if there is no prayer to your Christianity, there is no
power to it. The power of the Christian life finds its resource in
prayer. That is why we need to pray often and regularly: to give
power to our daily Christian lives.
so Jesus taught his disciples this model prayer, the very finest
prayer he could teach. This prayer that Jesus taught is also the
pattern or outline for prayer. What we would like to do in the
sermon for tonight is to walk through the outline or pattern that
Jesus taught. We are going to teach you the seven point outline of
the Lord’s Prayer.
number one. Our Father. Write that down, kids. Underline the word,
“our.” Jesus teaches us to begin our prayers with immense
personal intimacy such as with a father and a closest friend. This
personal intimacy is an enormous change from the Old Testament.
John, how did they pray in the Old Testament?
All of the Old Testament prayers all started like this: Baruch ata
Adoni Elohanu Melick ha ohlam.
That means, “Blessed are you O Lord our God, King of the
And Jesus simply said "Abba"
Father , Dad, Papa. Very close like the closest of friends.
When Jesus teaches us how to pray, he teaches us to begin our
prayers with immense simplistic intimacy.
There was no more need for a high priest. There was no more need for
a go-between. Jesus wanted us to come directly to God in a very
intimate way such as Abba.
Sermon on the Mount is the oldest layer of the New Testament. In
that oldest layer of the New Testament, there is one word that is
repeated seventeen times in Matthew, chapters five, six and seven.
What is the key, important word that occurs seventeen times? It is
the simple word, Abba. Pappa. Father.
Now, the issue is not whether it is Abba or Imma, father or mother.
That is not the issue for God is neither male nor female. That is
not the issue. Rather, this word, Abba or Imma, introduces us into
this immense intimacy, this closeness that a young child has with a
Jesus was teaching us that we need private,
personal prayer. Public worship is not enough. We need daily
intimacy with God. When you think of it, this isn’t any different
from any other intimate relationship that we have. The more you talk
the closer you become. The
more conversation, the deeper the friendship.
The disciples realized that this intimacy with God was where
the power of Jesus own spiritual life came from.
So the first point of Jesus’ outline of prayer is this intimate
Abba. Point two: prayer and thanksgiving. Write that down, kids. Jesus teaches us to continue our prayers with
praise and thanksgiving.
He taught: “Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come.”
Jesus invites us to begin our prayers by expressing thanksgiving to
God such as “thank you Lord for the mountains, for Puget Sound,
for food and family and nation. Lord, we thank you and praise your
name you’re your goodness.
move to point three. The next part is "Your will be done."
Write that down, kids. The heart of prayer is not getting God
to do the things that we want to be done. At the heart of prayer is
transforming our hearts and wills so we want to do what God wants us
to do. The purpose of prayer is not getting God to do my will but
rather to transform my heart so that I submit my will to God’s
Point number four: “daily bread.” Write that down, kids. What is that? The
word “daily” is a very rare word in the New Testament. It only occurs twice. It means, "just for today."
Just what I need for this day.
Not for the future. Not
for tomorrow or next year but only for today.
Just what I need to get by for today.
That is what “daily” means. Bread is understood as
anything we need to survive such as food clothing, housing, job.
And God wants us to pray for the things we need.
God wants us to ask for the things we need.
So if I was a farmer living in Kansas and there hasn't been any
rain, I would pray for rain.
If I had cancer, I would pray to God for healing.
If my family and village were starving in Somalia, I would pray of
If my marriage was having trouble or I was having trouble with my
children I would pray for God's help.
If I was living in Iraq and my father and brothers were being shot
up in war, I would pray for peace. In other words, God wants us to
pray for our deepest needs. At the very heart of prayer is bringing
these deepest needs to our heavenly Father in prayer.
God wants us to pray for our needs but the we need to be a little
careful that our prayers don't get too heavily weighted on the
“daily bread” side and we forget about the other important parts
The fifth part of the Lord’s Prayer is forgive us our sins as we
forgive those who sin against us. Write that down, kids. Pray for
forgiveness. During our prayers, we are to specifically name our
sins daily. Jesus is asking us to be honest with ourselves and
honest with God for the ways that we have sinned. We are to confess
our sins. This is healthy for us to do.
The sixth point is: “Lead us not into temptation.”
This is a little confusing here. We assume that God is not
going to lead us into temptation. When the Green LBW came out, some
people had a difficult time with new version of the Lord's Prayer.
This new translation is actually much more accurate.
It says, “Save us from the time of trial.” Write that
down kids, “save us from the time of trials.” We all go through
trials and difficulties in life. What we are asking from God is for
God to be with us and strengthen us in our times of trial, so that
we don’t fall away from God during these difficult times of life
but remain close with God.
We come to the seventh point in the outline of the Lord’s Prayer:
For yours is the kingdom, the power and the glory, forever and ever.
Amen.” Write that down, kids. For yours is the kingdom, power and
glory, forever and ever. Amen.” That means, “You are awesome,
God.” Write that down kids. “You are awesome, God.” Jesus
teaches us to end our prayers with praise and thanksgiving to God.
Then conclude the word, “amen,” which means, “This is true”
or “Let it happen.”
your prayer life has fallen by the wayside in this crazy and hectic
world, perhaps now is time for you to begin to pray more
consistently and regularly to God.
it is important for Christians to “walk the walk” …but….
… it is also important to talk the talk.