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Community Group Study Guide
for the week of February 27, 2022
Looking back at your notes from this week’s teaching, was there anything you heard for the first time or something that caught your attention, challenged or confused you?
How would you describe your experience with prayer growing up?
When it comes to prayer in your own life, do you…
This week we learned that Jesus taught the disciples to pray by using what we call, “Lord’s Prayer” to learn more about how to pray.
Matthew 6:5-15 New International Version
5 “And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. 6 But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. 7 And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. 8 Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.
9 “This, then, is how you should pray:
“‘Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
And forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation,[a]
but deliver us from the evil one.[b]’
14 For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15 But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.
[a] Matthew 6:13 The Greek for temptation can also mean testing.
[b] Matthew 6:13 Or from evil; some late manuscripts one, / for yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.
Jesus gave this prayer to the disciples not as a prayer to be recited over and over again like some magic phrase but as a format of “how to”. In the prayer Jesus gives us five components of what prayer looks like. See if you can identify all of them, and then in your own words write out what each one of them is about. (Hint: Each verse contains one component. We learned them on Sunday using the acronym, “ACTS”. If you need help figuring them out, we put them on the last page under Prayer Requests).
Matthew 6:9-13 “‘This, then, is how you should pray: Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, 10 your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. 11 Give us today our daily bread. 12 And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. 13 And lead us not into temptation but deliver us from the evil one.’
How would you rank the five components from most used to least used in your prayer life?
TAKING IT HOME
The following is a lot to read but you worship a God whose character is so complex, this is just a FEW attributes of who He is. Which ones are most meaningful to you?
Accessible: From the beginning when God made Adam and Eve, He was accessible or near. In the covenant God made with the patriarchs, He promised to be in relationship with them always. Later God commanded the people to build the tabernacle so He could live among them. God made Himself even nearer to people when He became a man, the Lord Jesus Christ, the true tabernacle. Now He is accessible in the most intimate way possible. His Spirit lives in every believer. Whenever you pray, He hears you.
Creator: There was never a time when God did not exist. Before there was anything at all, even time, God existed. No one made God. God made everything, from the tiniest subatomic particle to the farthest galaxy in the universe. Everything comes from God – what we can see and what we cannot see – heaven, angels, and the whole spiritual realm. He spoke, and all these things came into existence. God alone is able to bring something out of nothing.
Eternal: God exists outside of time. He is not measured by anything. We measure time by the movement of the planets and stars, which God created. God has always been and always will be. No one is like Him. Because God is eternal, He can give us eternal life.
Father: As the Creator, God sustains and provides for all He has made, but He is the Father only of those who believe in His Son Jesus Christ. He gives us His Spirit, adopts us into His family, and makes us His children. He has a loving relationship that lasts forever with every believer. He speaks to us personally through His Word, the Bible, and we speak to Him in prayer. Even the best human father has flaws but God is always good, wise, and loving. God loves, protects, cares for, trains, and disciplines His children.
Faithful: God knows and loves each of His own. He will do all He has promised: care for and make strong; forgive and make new; protect and purify. From the beginning, He has had a plan to restore the world that sin broke, and God is faithful to His own plan. We know God is faithful because He sent His Son to the cross to keep His promise. Now nothing can separate God’s people from His love. He is faithful to Himself and His Word. We can trust Him to keep all of His promises.
Glory: God’s glory is the total of all His attributes. God displayed His glory in the beauty and wisdom of His creation. Throughout history, God has revealed His glory to His people through His power, mercy, grace, judgment, holiness, love, and every other attribute. In the Old Testament, God was symbolically present with His people in the glory cloud. This cloud, known as the shekinah glory, guided His people in the wilderness and filled the tabernacle and later the temple. The Lord Jesus Christ reveals God’s glory completely.
Good: We see God’s goodness in His love and faithfulness. All of God’s ways are righteous. He is good to all people. God’s blessing is His goodness to us personally. God is compassionate. He satisfies those in need. He offers hope, refuge, and care to all who come to Him. God’s children experience His goodness even when bad things happen. God promises to make all things work together for our good.
Gracious: Grace is God’s kindness to those who do not deserve it. God is slow to anger and longs to forgive people. God’s grace in salvation reaches out powerfully to sinful people and makes them alive in Christ when they were dead in sin. God shows grace to all people. He gives life, families, sunshine, rain, music, talents, etc., as good gifts even to people who do not love Him.
Guide: God leads us in the way we should go. His Word teaches us how we are to live and think. Because God gives His children the Holy Spirit, they recognize His voice, and follow Him. We can trust God to lead us in the right way. Without God’s guidance, we stumble and fall like people in the dark.
Holy: God is high and lifted up. He is set apart from His creation. Our English word “holy” is from the same root word as “whole.” God is whole – perfect in goodness and righteousness. No one is like God. Even God’s holy angels tremble in reverent worship before Him. God sets apart His children for Himself and commands us to be holy as He is holy. Being holy makes you whole– what God intended you to be.
Immutable: God does not change. We can count on Him always to be holy, always to be good, always to be faithful, always to love us, always to hate sin. God’s Word is like Him; it does not change. We can count on His promises. Because God never changes, we can trust Him always.
Impartial: God saves people regardless of what they have done or will do. He saves people who have families in church and people who do not. He saves people who are rich and those who are poor. He saves people who are smart and those who are not smart. God always does what is right for every person and in every situation. There is nothing anyone can do to force God’s hand or to put God in their debt. No one will be able to blame God for His judgments.
Incomprehensible: We cannot understand God’s thoughts and ways. God is infinite and eternal; He knows all things. God made human beings in His image, but we are finite and flawed by sin. In heaven, we will be perfect. However, we will still not know all there is to know about God because we will always be finite. Thankfully, we can understand all we need to know about God because He has given us His Word and His Spirit.
Infinite: God has no beginning and no end; He has always existed and He always will. This is why God declared His name to be “I AM.” God IS. God also has no ‘size.’ There is no place that can contain God because God has no limits of any kind. There is no way to measure God, for everything that God is, is limitless. God’s power has no limits. God’s knowledge has no limits. God’s love has no limits. God the Father, Son, and Spirit are all the same: infinite.
Invisible: God is Spirit, and we cannot see spirit. We cannot see Him or feel Him physically, just as we cannot see or feel sound waves, light waves, energy, and atoms. However, God has made Himself visible through the Person of Jesus Christ. We can experience Jesus’ presence with us now, and we will see Him when He returns.
Jealous: God’s jealousy is one of protective love. The Lord seals every believer to Himself through the Holy Spirit. Unlike human beings, God does not experience feelings of insecurity, fear, and anxiety about His relationship with people. He is righteously angry when His children choose to devote their time and attention to lesser things. When God’s children turn their backs on Him, He pursues them.
Just: God’s justice is perfect. His decisions are always based on His righteous character. God cannot ignore sin because He is holy. It would be unjust to ignore wickedness, rebellion, and sin. God is just and does not show favoritism. Every penalty will be fair and right. God does not treat His children as their sins deserve because Jesus suffered the full punishment for our sins. Because God is just, He will never punish His children for the sin for which Jesus paid on the cross.
Love: God has always been love. Before He created the world the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit loved one another. God’s love never fails. God loves the world. He showed His love by sending His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, as Savior. When we receive His Son as our Savior, we can love God.
Merciful: God, in His mercy, does not give us what our sins deserve. He limits the extent of pain. He restrains evil and holds back sin. He makes His gospel known in places where people have turned their back on Him. God seeks those who are lost, alone, hurting, and in need. He forgives and restores those who repent and turn to Him in faith.
Omnipotent (all-powerful): God has unlimited power, authority, and influence. He does all He wants and intends to do. God’s powerful Word spoke creation into being from nothing. God is the source of all power whether atoms, energy, life, or human strength and authority. Without God’s power, everything would fall apart. His power holds the stars in the sky and sustains human lives. Nothing can stop God. Evil and death will not win. God has promised a day He will raise all His children to life that does not end, and God has the power to keep His promise.
Omnipresent (everywhere): God is present everywhere. There is nowhere in the physical universe where God is not. There is nowhere in the spiritual world where God is not. God is with His children no matter where they are. Satan can only be in one place at a time, but God is present everywhere at all times.
Omniscient (all-knowing): God is never surprised. He knows all there is to know. Nothing is hidden from God. God knows the past and the future; He knows every person even before we are born. He knows the number of our days and all the plans He has for us. He knows what every person thinks, feels, says, and does. Only God knows the choices people would make if their circumstances were different. Therefore, we can trust God to judge perfectly. Only God knows all things.
Patient: God is patient. He could put an end to human rebellion immediately, but God has pity on people whose lives are broken by sin. He loves His creation. His plan is to restore creation and reconcile repentant sinners to Himself. Today is the day of salvation, but one day God will come to judge all people.
Perfect: Everything God is, does, and says, all His attributes, His revelation, and His works, are completely free of fault or defect. Because God is unchanging and faithful, the measure of perfection begins with God. What God wills is good and perfect; His ways are flawless; His judgments are upright; His Word is without error. Therefore, everything God is, does, or says is right, including His Word in Scripture.
Person: God is a person. God is not an idea or an impersonal force. Like us, He has identity and personality. He is one being in three persons. God is Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, and all work together to accomplish our salvation. As a person, God has a mind and a will, and He communicates. God made people in His image with a mind and a will and the ability to communicate. He speaks to us through His Word, the Bible, and we speak to Him through prayer.
Preserver: When we trust Christ, we can know that God will continue the good work He started in us. God preserves our lives for His purpose, and He preserves our salvation. Jesus promised that no one can take you out of God’s hand. No temptation, no failure, no person, not even Satan can cause God’s children to lose their salvation. God preserves us so He will accomplish His purpose for us because He is our Preserver.
Provider: God provides for every creature He has made. He feeds the birds and gives us our daily bread. We do not have strength or goodness of our own but God gives it to us generously. He provides a way out of temptation and protects us from evil. God’s greatest gift is His Son. Because He gave us His Son, we can trust Him to give us everything else we need.
Righteous: God is right in all He does. He always has been right and always will be right. All of His words and actions are right. All of His plans are right. God has no sin and is positively perfect. God never lies. He is fair, just, and faithful in all He does. We never need to wonder whether God is right, so we can trust God when we do not understand. We do not always see God’s righteousness in the world today, but He has promised that His righteousness will prevail. Because God is righteous, He expects us to be righteous. Even the best person cannot be perfectly righteous. But God sees His children as clothed with Christ’s righteousness!
Savior: God reaches down and rescues sinners from the penalty of death and hell that our sin deserves. We have no power to save ourselves from sin because we are dead in our sin. God has planned from eternity past to save His children fully from sin — from its penalty, power, and presence. He sent His Son to live the perfect life we cannot live and die in our place for our sin. On the cross, Jesus satisfied God’s full wrath against our sin. Therefore, Jesus saves completely from the penalty of sin. God has no punishment left for His children. Jesus saves His children from sin’s power. He gives us new desires and a new ability to fight sin through the power of the Holy Spirit. One day, our Savior will free us from the presence of sin when we see Him face-to-face.
Sovereign: God controls all things. There is nothing that is outside of God’s wise control, even the exact time and place for each person to live. No one tells God what to do. What God plans, happens. No event, no natural disaster, no person, not even Satan, can stop God’s plans. When God permits evil, we can trust He has planned to use it for His people’s good and His glory. God planned the time for His Son to come to earth the first time, and He has a time for His Son to return. God will accomplish His plan because He alone has power to do it.
Wise: God is not simply all-knowing. He always uses His knowledge to do exactly what it right. God’s Word is full of His wisdom. Both His plan of redemption and His design of creation are perfectly wise. Science is still discovering the riches of God’s wisdom. The order of an atom displays God’s wisdom. Mathematics and music are possible because they were first in God’s mind. God is wise in how He put people in families and families in communities and communities in nations. God is wise in the plan He has for each of His children individually. All wisdom comes from God. To be wise we must seek Him.
(For further study, check out KNOWING GOD by J.I. Packer.)
This week we focused on ADORATION of who God is, specifically, our Father. How could using one of the above attributes with “Father” enhance your prayer time?
Components: Praise for God’s character; prayer for kingdom expansion and God’s will to be done; prayer for material provision, prayer for forgiveness and a forgiving spirit; prayer for protection.
Tonight, when you pray or when you are home alone praying, try using one of the attributes from above to begin your prayer. For example, “Merciful Father”.