God Speaks to Us
We live in a world full of problems. All around the world, we see wars and disease and poverty and many other types of suffering. Some people blame God for their troubles, others see the world’s problems as proof that there is no God. Here in our country, we see our freedoms being used by some to promote lifestyles we know are immoral. We see our politicians, in whom we put our trust to govern our country, looking out for themselves rather than for us. Scientists tell us there is no Creator -- we are all a result of chance -- and that we are our only savior from the problems of this world.
How do we answer these ideas? How do we cope in a world full of problems? Is God far away from us, leaving us to fend for ourselves in this life – or is he near, offering his help in our times of troubles? The Bible assures us that our Lord is near to us, in fact he lives in us and we live in him (1 Jn 4:12-15). He speaks to us and we speak to him. God speaks to us through what is written in the Bible. Whenever the message of the Bible is shared with us or with others, God is speaking. Through his Word he teaches us, corrects our errors, and trains us for holy living.
Although we may find it hard to understand why God allows this world to continue the way it is going, if we dig into Scripture, we find that God has the answers to our questions. God has the answer to all the really big questions. The answers to these questions allow us to deal with the many smaller, day-to-day problems which bother us.
I. God tells us why we have troubles in this life.
Read Genesis 1:10, 12, 18, 21, 25, 31. What does God tell us about how he made the earth?
Genesis 3 tells us why the world is no longer perfect – we have sinned. So what is and what isn't the cause of all the problems we see around us today?
Tell the specific consequence mentioned in each of the following verses which result from our rebellion against God, then tell how this consequence is really a blessing to us.
Because of our rebellion, what are we by nature? Eph 2:3
What does God say of the human race? Rom 3:9-18 Are there any exceptions to this? Rom 3:23
When does God first consider a child sinful? Ps 51:5; 58:3
Many Christian groups teach that God does not recognize guilt in a child until an ‘age of accountability’. Where does this teaching come from?
What results when our sinful nature governs our behavior? Gal 5:19-21
Furthermore, what can we expect as time marches on? Matt 24:4-14
Job asked God why he was suffering so, when he could think of no reason for his suffering. How did God answer him? Job 38:3-18 and 40:7-14
Summarize what God tells us about why this world has so many problems:
II. God comes with a solution to our problems.
The prophet Daniel recognized the only solution to our sinful rebellion, and he reminded God of the solution when he
prayed (Dan 9:9). The solution, simply put, is that God _______________________ us.
Why does God come to rescue us from our sinfulness? Lam 3:22, Jn 3:16
The problem of sin is a much bigger problem than we can solve. How has God solved this problem for us?
How do we grab on to this righteousness and forgiveness from God? Rom 3:22; 4:24
How does this work of Jesus help us with the day-to-day sufferings we experience in this life? Rom 5:1-11
Think of an example of something in your life which causes you to suffer. Think about how this suffering has benefited you by producing perseverance, character, and hope in your life.
In spite of the fact that there are many things which cause us to suffer in this world, God comes to us with comfort in the middle of our suffering.
God allowed the apostle Paul to suffer with an unnamed problem throughout his ministry, which Paul called “a thorn in my flesh.” What good did Paul say this suffering produced? 2 Cor 12:7
Although Paul prayed to God to have this suffering removed, what was God’s answer? 2 Cor 12:8-10
God promises many things to us in Scripture. But one thing that he does not promise, is that when we have troubles and we pray to him for help, that he will take the troubles away from us. Rather, he promises to help us grow as we experience the troubles and hardships.
Our status as forgiven children of God puts us under an obligation, however. What does Paul say will follow as we believe and take comfort in what God has done for us? Rom 6:1-14, esp vv 12-14
What do we call this change in our behavior?
What does God say is necessary for each person in order to be saved? Ez 18:30-32, Luke 13:5, Acts 17:30
Discuss: Do we repent in order to be forgiven, or do we repent because we are forgiven?
Is repenting a one-time act on our part, or a continual part of our lives?
God wants more than just simple repentance, however. What does God mention that he wants as part of a repentant life? 2 Cor 5:18-20, Matt 28:18-20
What is a very effective way to tell others how God has changed our lives? 1 Pet 2:12
III. How God Speaks to Us
In the Bible, we have many examples of God speaking his Will directly to human beings. Abraham, Moses, Samuel, David, and the prophets who wrote the Old Testament all heard God speaking ( 2 Pet 1:21). In the New Testament, Peter, Paul and John are recorded as having received words from God. Some Christians today teach that God still speaks directly to his people, and encourage them to speak in tongues, which are supposed to be messages from God.
But what does Scripture tell us is the way God speaks to us? 2 Tim 3:16a
Is there enough in Scripture for us to stand up to the troubles and temptations of this life? 2 Tim 3:16b-17
Since not everyone reads the Scripture, how does God speak to those who do not read the Bible? 2 Cor 5:20
How can we speak to others even if we do not know the right words to say to them? 1 Pet 2:12
What phrase summarizes what God wants communicated to all people? Luke 24:47, Acts 2:38, 5:31
IV. Properly Sharing what God has told us
Paul wrote to young pastor Timothy with words of advice on how to conduct the ministry of the Church properly. Two passages can be mentioned which summarize God's directive to pastors. Tell why each of these is so important:
1 Tim 4:16
2 Tim 2:15
The history of the Christian church is not one where the lifestyles of the leaders were good examples to the average person, nor was the doctrine watched closely. Over the centuries the message God had spoken was obscured by ideas of sinful men. Although many voices tried to reform the church over the years, it was not until Martin Luther that proper biblical preaching was restored. Luther summarized God's message as the 'Law' and the 'Gospel.' The reformers recognized three ways the Law is used:
A) Rom 2:14-15 All people have a basic knowledge of right and wrong. 1 Tim 1:8-10 This basic knowledge speaks to all people, telling them that certain behaviors are always wrong. This protects society as a whole from outbreaks of evil.
(See Rom 13:5) In this way the Law functions as a ___________.
B) Rom 3:20; 7:7 The Law makes people aware that they fall short of what God expects of them. In this way the Law
functions as a ______________.
C) Rom 12:2 As Christians, we ought to live by the desires of the 'New Man' who lives in us. As we do, we use God's
Law to tell us what is God's Will in day-to-day circumstances. In this way the Law functions as a _____________.
The reformers recognized two parts to the Gospel. Each part comes only to those who believe.
A) The first, that Jesus took on our sins and we take his righteousness (2 Cor 5:21), means (Rom 3:21) we are freely
_______________________ in God's eyes. This part is called ____________________________.
B) The second part is a motivation that begins the moment we believe, and continues throughout our entire lives. Where does the motivation begin? Rom 12:1,2; Phil 3:7,8; Col 3:2
We do not just believe what God has done for us, we respond with a change in our behavior (James 1:22ff), and we try
to conform more and more to God's Will (Eph 4:24). This part of the Gospel is called ________________________.
Both justification and sanctification become ours the moment we believe the Gospel. Although God tells us that we are dead in our sins at birth, what does he say occurs the moment we believe? John 5:24
Sanctification and Justification
God's act of justification is supernatural -- it was done totally by God for us. God's act of sanctification is natural -- it is done through us, using our sinful nature, our weak emotions, and our limited talents and abilities to break our rebellious will. God's act of justification was a one time act, accomplished 2000 years ago by the sinless life of Jesus, and by his death on the cross. His life and death was all that was needed to completely secure forgiveness for all the world (Heb 7:27; 2 Co 5:17-21). But sanctification is an ongoing process, worked in us daily to a greater or lesser degree as we cooperate with or resist the work of the Holy Spirit in us.
Jesus mentions these two parts to the gospel in his Great Commission to us (Mt 28:19-20). He says, "Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them .... and teaching them to obey...." Through baptism, God comes to us with the comfort that he has justified us and made us his children. Through teachings of obedience, the Holy Spirit leads believers into lives of service to God.
God speaks through Paul in 2 Tim 2:19, with two statements called the 'solid foundation' of the Church. The first: "The Lord knows those who are his" brings us comfort as we remember that he has forgiven us all our sins, and he will provide for us with everything we need. This statement summarizes our justification.
The second: "Everyone who confesses the name of the Lord must turn away from wickedness" commits us to live our lives for our Lord. This statement summarizes our sanctification.
As we share God’s Word with others, we remember to share both law and gospel – this is the message of repentance and forgiveness. The Law, functioning as a mirror, makes people realize their sin and their need for a savior. The Gospel brings them comfort, showing them that God has forgiven them because of Jesus’ perfect life and innocent death in our place. As people believe this message, they have a new life – eternal life.
When we share the Gospel, we also share the commitment Christians make to living the new life given to us. We speak of daily repentance, or our life of sanctification to describe this commitment. We use the Law as a guide to living our lives according to the Will of the God who saved us.
Prayer is an important part of living the new life in Christ. In prayer, we take time to carry the desires of our heart to God. Jesus himself taught us to pray. In the rest of this study, we will examine what Jesus taught about praying to our heavenly Father, by considering that special prayer we call The Lord’s Prayer. We will especially consider how each section of the prayer reminds us of the comfort God has for his people, and their commitment to living for him.
We Speak to God
Part 1: An Overview of the Lord's Prayer
The Lord's Prayer is recorded only twice in the Bible, at Matthew 6:9-13 and at Luke 11:2-4. Matthew records the prayer with seven petitions, Luke with only five. No doubt our Savior taught his followers how to pray on many occasions, this prayer serving only as a model as to what they should request from their Heavenly Father. As a model prayer, we notice its shortness. Each of the petitions is short and concise, making the entire prayer very short.
Why are short prayers sufficient? Matt 6:8; Ps 139:4
1 Sam 16:7; Ps 37:4
As a model prayer, we also notice that it is a corporate prayer, that is, a prayer in which we pray together with other children of God. "Our Father...", "give us today our daily bread, forgive us our debts," etc. What does this teach us?
Mention should also be made of the types of petitions in this model prayer. Only one petition asks for earthly needs to be fulfilled, all the others deal with spiritual needs. Which petition is this?
Let us emphasize spiritual needs as we pray, and let God take care of our earthly needs!
1. Read Matthew 6:5-8 Discuss the main issues Jesus teaches about prayer in:
a) verses 5 and 6
b) verses 7 and 8
2. If God knows what we need before we ask him, and if he promises to give us everything we need (Mt 6:33; Ps 145:19), why is it necessary to pray for these things? (Considering Mt 7:12 in the context of Mt 7:7-12 contains one possible answer.)
3. As we teach our own children to pray, what things can we do to teach them that:
a) we are to pray as part of the larger body of believers
b) we are to emphasize our spiritual needs, and let God take care of our material needs
4. Can we conclude that God does not want us to pray about a personal, material concern? (see Eph 6:18)
5. Although we are given a model prayer to emulate, should we worry that our prayers might not be accepted if they do not follow the model? (see Rom 8:26,27)
6. List some of the needs of the larger body of
believers – both WELS and nonWELS -- that we should pray for.
Part 2: The Address -- "Our Father in Heaven"
In his use of the word translated "Father," Jesus departs from traditional Jewish thought. The Aramaic term, "Abba," which corresponds more closely to our word "Daddy," is used. In no literature of Judaism is this term for God found.
What is Jesus teaching us by using this term? That is, how is addressing God as 'Daddy' different from addressing him as 'Father'?
What kind of Father does God assure us he is? Ps 103:13
Actually, what kind of children are we really? Eph 1:5; Rom 8:23
What comfort this brings to Christian hearts! For we have a God who adopted us out of Satan's care and who cares to regard us as his own dear children!
But these words are more than just comfort, they are a commission. As God's children, like all children, we have what obligation?
Eph 6:1; Col 3:20
What command sums up all that the gospel commits us to do? Jn 15:17; 1 Jn 4:21
What example did the Old Testament believers have to illustrate God's care for them? Deut 1:29-31, esp. v 31
Read Luke 11:5-8. What does Jesus teach us here about the way we can pray to our Father in heaven?
What can we learn from Jesus' words in Luke 11:11-13?
Fathers who care about their children want to train them to stand on their own two feet in this difficult world. Read Hebrews 12:7-11 and Romans 5:3-5. What comfort do Christians have to strengthen them during their times of suffering?
Our natural parents are not always the best examples to us. But what comfort do we have regarding our relationship with our Heavenly Father? See Ps 27:10
God desires that children obey their parents, as seen by the strict punishment which was part of the Old Testament law (Deut 21:18-21). Discuss how these passages relate to the lifestyle we commit ourselves to because we call God our Father:
a) Prov 13:1 and 15:5
b) 1 Jn 2:3-6 and 3:21-24
7. How important is the matter of obedience? After all, we have the sure comfort that all our sins, past and future, are forgiven in Christ. We are justified by faith, not by works. Look up each of these passages which speak of obedience and answer each question or finish each sentence.
a) Ro 1:5 What comes from faith?
b) 2 Co 9:13 What accompanies our confession?
c) 1 Pet 1:2 To what purpose were we chosen to be saved?
d) 1 Jn 5:3, 2 Jn 6; How do we show love to our Heavenly Father?
e) Ez 36:24-32 is a promise about our New Testament era. Where do we get the power to obey our Father's commands? (v 27)
Summary: As we pray 'Our Father in heaven', what is our comfort, and what is our commission?
Part 3: The First Petition -- "Hallowed be your name"
God revealed his name to Moses as Jehovah, or Yahweh. This is written in the NIV Bible as LORD. What meanings do these passages give to the name Yahweh?
God's actions toward mankind, throughout history, are repeatedly said to be performed "for his name's sake", that is, for the sake of his reputation. Read these passages, what does God do for his name's sake?
Ps 23:3; 31:3
Ps 106:7,8; Ez 20:5-10
How is the meaning of God's name, and the things he does for his name's sake, a comfort to us?
God's name, although holy in and of itself, is made holy among men whenever, wherever, and however his name is confessed before them. As Christians, we realize that we bear the name of Christ, our God (see Jer 15:16), and our actions either hallow or dishonor that name.
As parents, what should we commit ourselves to doing in order to hallow God's name?
As members of our congregation, what should we do to hallow God's name among ourselves?
As members of society, how can we hallow God's name among the people we live and work with?
Conversely, we desecrate God's name whenever our words or actions proclaim that we, not Christ, are the lords of our lives. When we pray the words "Hallowed be your name," we are committing ourselves to avoiding what kinds of behaviors? Titus 2:12
Let us never forget how our attitudes and actions are seen by our friends, coworkers, and neighbors. The attitude we express to others about the functions in our local congregation is often interpreted as the attitude we have toward our Lord. Wherever we go, as Christians, we stand in an invisible pulpit which preaches more loudly than the words we speak. Read these passages, to what actions are we committed to as bearers of God's name?
a) Ex 20:7 -- i) Lv 19:12
ii) Mt 5:33-37; Ja 5:12
iii) Ro 2:21-24
b) Mt 5:14-16
Summarize: What is our comfort, and what is our commission as we pray this petition?
Part 4: The Second Petition -- "Your kingdom come"
Perhaps many Christians, as they pray this petition, think of the coming of Christ at the end of time, or of going to heaven when they die. We all take comfort that our Lord will preserve us through the troubles of this life and someday take us to our heavenly kingdom (as in 2 Ti 4:18; and in Mt 25:34). And certainly we pray that our Lord will come quickly and make that kingdom our reality (Rev 22:20). It is not wrong to remind ourselves of these aspects of God’s kingdom, but this is not the primary intent of this petition. God's kingdom is present on the earth already, although it is not a kingdom "of this world." He rules through his Son in the hearts of all his faithful.
In a very real way, whose kingdom is this present evil world? 2 Co 4:4; Eph 2:2
What did Jesus announce at the start of his ministry? Mk 1:15
What has God the Father done through Christ? Col 1:12-14
God's kingdom has come to each one of us who believes. What comfort do we get from knowing this?
a) Jn 5:24,25
b) 1 Co 6:11
We pray that God's kingdom will come to all people. What are some specific things we should be praying for?
a) Mt 9:38
b) 2 Th 1:11,12
c) 2 Th 3:1,2
d) Lk 6:27,28
e) Ps 122:6,7
f) Col 4:3,4
What other actions besides prayer do we commit ourselves to do to help the kingdom come to others?
a) 1 Pt 2:12
b) Heb 10:24,25
c) 1 Pet 3:15
Summarize: What comfort do we remember as we pray this petition, and what do we commit ourselves to doing?
Part 5: The Third Petition -- "Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven"
The will of God is clearly given to us in Scripture. Tell what is specifically mentioned as being God's will in these passages:
1 Tim 2:4
We realize as we pray this petition that God's will is in direct conflict with our natural will, and that some of the greatest obstacles to fulfilling God's will on earth lie in our innate unwillingness to carry it out. (Rom 8:5-8; Gal 5:17) We take comfort, then, that not our will, but our Father's, is being done. And we pray that this continue.
As we pray, "your will be done," we are also committing ourselves to living according to his will. What do these passages teach us about our ability to live in line with God's will?
What other specific things does God teach us are his will?
a) 1 Pt 2:15
b) 1 Th 4:3
e) 1 Th 5:16-18
What is true of unbelievers? Whose will do they do? 2 Tim 2:26
When we plan things--anything--how should we plan? James 4:13-15
What comforting promises should we be reminded of as we pray this petition?
a) Mt 10:29-31
b) Mt 12:50
c) Heb 13:20,21
What do we commit ourselves to doing?
b) Ps 143:10
c) Ep 5:17
d) 1 Pt 3:17
e) 1 Pt 4:1,2
Summarize: What comforting truths do we remember as we pray this petition, and to what do we commit ourselves?
Part 6: The Fourth Petition -- "Give us today our daily bread."
In this petition we ask God for enough food for today. How many other petitions of the Lord's Prayer are prayers that our material needs will be met?
Since the prayer Jesus taught has this balance between material and spiritual requests, what does this balance teach us about our priorities between feeding our bodies and feeding our souls?
Why do we pray only for the bread for TODAY?
a) Mt 6:25-34
b) Ja 4:13-15
What comforting promises should we think of as we pray this petition?
a) Ps 37:25,26
b) Phil 4:19
What should we commit ourselves to doing, since we look to God for everything?
a) 1 Tim 6:6-8
b) 1 Tim 2:1,2
c) Mt 6:33
d) 1 Pt 5:7
e) Ja 2:15,16
Summary: What are the comforts and commission of this petition?
Part 7: The Fifth Petition -- "Forgive us our sins, as we forgive those who sin against us."
Forgiveness is the core of the gospel, and God describes it to us in many ways. Tell the particular phrase God uses in each of these passages to describe the way he forgives us our sins.
Ps 51:7; Is 1:18
What familiar parable of Jesus illustrates God's forgiveness?
God's forgiveness is total. There is no such thing as partial forgiveness, a forgiveness of some sins but not others. On Judgment Day, when we all appear before the judgment seat of Christ (2 Co 5:10), we will stand there either with all our sins covered and hidden by the blood of Christ, or we will stand there with all our sins condemning us. This is explained in Ez 18:19-32.
Forgiveness is not only our comfort against the Law of God, it is also at the center of our commitment to the gospel. For unless we forgive others their offenses, we have no forgiveness for ourselves, as Jesus emphasized a second time after teaching his followers this prayer (Mt 6:14,15), and as he also taught using the parable of the unmerciful servant (Mt 18:21-35). List the two main points of this parable:
Using God's forgiveness of us as the example of how we need to forgive others, who should try to 'mend fences' first, you, or the person who offended you?
How does this compare to what Paul says in Romans 5:8?
Knowing that God has forgiven all our sins against him means that we must also forgive ourselves for the things we have done in the past. Surely each of us has sinned against God, either intentionally or in ignorance, in ways we admit to no one. Do we harbor thoughts that haunt us about our past or present sins? How many Christians, although believing and acknowledging Christ's complete forgiveness, cannot seem to forgive themselves? One of the fruits of faith in Christ is to be able to put out of our minds the mistakes we’ve made in the past, and to live without feelings of guilt about those mistakes. Cf Phil 3:13,14
What were some things in Paul’s past that he had to put behind him?
Can any of our past sins be as bad as that?
QUESTIONS FOR DISCUSSION:
1. What moved God to forgive us?
a) Titus 3:5
b) 2 Tim 1:9
c) Eph 1:7
2. As you share God's love with others, you may find it useful to have a ready list of passages which describe the comfort of God's forgiveness in various ways. One useful tool is to write such a list onto a blank page in your study Bible. Here is the start of such a list. Write each reference, followed by a phrase which summarizes the comfort this passage brings.
Ps 103 Ps 130:3,4,7 Ps 86:5 Ps 32:1,2 Ex 34:6 Ez 18:21-23 Is 1:18 Is 44:22 Mic 7:18-19 Ro 4:7,8
3. What actions on our part accompany the forgiveness we receive from God?
a) Prov 28:13
b) Ac 5:31; Ez 18:30-32
c) Mt 18:3,4
4. Being forgiven places us under an obligation. What responses are told to us in these passages?
a) Eph 4:32
b) Col 3:12-14
5. Agree or disagree: forgiving = forgetting
Summarize once again what we should be thinking about as we pray this petition: What is our comfort and what all do we commit ourselves to doing when we pray “forgive us our sins”?
Part 8: The Sixth Petition -- "And lead us not into Temptation"
"Temptation is always present when we place our own well-being higher than God's Will." And since our own natural will is at odds with God's will, temptation is often the more attractive of any two choices before us.
We may often think of the apostle Paul as a 'super-Christian.' Yet what does he confess about his day-to-day living? Rom 7:14-25
We are told that Jesus learned obedience to his Father as he suffered through and resisted temptations (Heb 5:8; 2:18). What specific lessons might God have been teaching Jesus through each of the temptations in the desert (Matt 4:1-11)?
“tell these stones to become bread”
“throw yourself down” from the temple
“all this I will give you”
What examples do we have in our own lives where temptations come to us which are similar to the three that Satan brought to Jesus in the desert?
What two things do we learn from James about temptations?
a) Ja 1:2-4
b) Ja 1:13-15
What specific lessons do you think was God trying to teach individuals through each of the testings listed in these passages?
a) Gen 3:1-6
b) Num 11:4-9
c) Job 1 & 2
d) 2 Co 11:3,4
Temptations come from many places. List the type and source of temptation named in each of these passages.
a) Num 12:1-12
b) Prov 30:7-9
c) Matt 14:31
d) 1 Tim 6:9-10
e) 2 Thess 3:6-13
f ) 1 Jn 2:16-17
g) 1 Jn 4:1-3
What advice did Jesus give to his disciples to help them withstand temptations? Luke 22:46
What comforting thoughts does Scripture give us on temptation?
a) 1 Co 10:13
b) Heb 4:15
c) Heb 2:18
d) Ja 1:2,3,12
e) 2 Pt 2:9
To what do we commit ourselves to doing?
a) Mt 6:25-34
b) Mt 26:41
c) 1 Co 10:12
d) Gal 6:1-5
e) Heb 12:1
f) 1 Cor 6:18; 10:14
g) Ep 6:13-18
h) 2 Pt 3:17
comforts we should have in mind, and what we commit ourselves to as we pray
Part 9: The Seventh Petition -- "But deliver us from the evil one"
This petition continues the thought begun by the sixth petition. Not only do we pray for strength to resist temptations that spring from desires within us, or from the enticements of the world, but now we pray for deliverance from Satan himself. What does Scripture tell us about Satan? (1 Pt 5:8)
But what assurance do we have regarding God’s love for us? (Ro 8:37,38)
We pray this petition with the utmost comfort because of what Christ has done for us. He has conquered the evil one and freed us from the slavery and fear of death (Heb 2:14,15)! Oh, the wonderful works of God! Though we are rebellious sinners, Christ has died to rescue us (Ro 5:8)! Though we were children of the evil one at birth (Eph 2:1,2), God has adopted us as his very own (Eph 1:5) and prepared for us an inheritance which will never perish (1 Pt 1:4). As parents, let us pass on that comfort to our children, that they may respond with lives which are led by the Spirit and are victorious over Satan.
QUESTIONS FOR DISCUSSION:
1. What does it mean to deliver someone from something?
a) Ps 7:1,2
b) 2 Pt 2:7-9
2. What are we praying to be delivered from?
a) Gal 1:4
b) 1 Jn 5:19
3. What comforting stories can we be reminded of as we pray this petition?
a) Daniel 3
b) Daniel 6
c) Ac 12:1-10
4. Psalms which speak of deliverance: Ps 34 Ps 37 Ps 46 Ps 69 Ps 116
5. What is our responsibility to do as we pray this petition?
a) Eph 6:10-18
b) 1 Co 14:20
c) 2 Th 3:1-5
Summarize: What comforting promises do we think of when we pray this petition, and to what do we commit ourselves?
The Doxology: For yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory, forever. Amen.
Although this doxology is not given in the oldest copies of Matthew or Luke that have been found, it appeared as part of the Lord's Prayer very soon after Jesus' death. The Didache, an early Christian instruction manual written in the first century, is the oldest known document to contain the Lord's Prayer with the doxology. In the Jewish prayer tradition, it would have been impossible to end a prayer without a conclusion such as this.
With this doxology, we – like Jesus praying in the Garden of Gethsemane (Luke 22:42) -- acknowledge to our Father that our desire is not the fulfillment of our wishes here in time, but his wishes. We take comfort in knowing that, despite how at times it may seem as if Satan has the upper hand, this is always God's kingdom and nothing occurs without his permission (Mt 10:29,30). And we commit ourselves to attaining the frame of mind that accepts trying times without complaining, trusting that all is in our Father's hands.
Heavenly Father, grant that through this prayer, we may proclaim to our children the comfort of Christ working for us and the commitment to Christ working in us. Search our hearts, test our thoughts, and remember our shortcomings, so that by your grace we may be kept on the narrow way to life everlasting (Ps 139:23,24).
Jeremias, Joachim, The Lord's Prayer, Fortress Press, Philadelphia, PA, c. 1964
Vicedom, Georg F., A Prayer for the World, Concordia Publishing House, St. Louis, MO, c 1967
This entire Bible study can be found on the internet at http://beaberean.tripod.com/godspeakswespeak.doc