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Understanding the Lord’s Prayer

Jun 13, 2024 | Sunday School Solutions

by Debra Hane

Have you taught your children memorized prayers? I remember praying the “God is great, God is good” prayer before meals and “Now I lay me down to sleep” at bedtime. But the prayer that took more effort to learn was the Lord’s Prayer. Do children benefit from saying memorized prayers?

When the Lord Jesus was on earth, He spent time alone in prayer and often taught about prayer. When His disciples wanted to know how to pray, He taught them a specific prayer as an example to follow. Teaching with examples helps learners grow to understand concepts and how they fit together. Through the children’s prayers I said, I developed an understanding of who God is—He is great, good, He gives me food, I should thank Him, He watches over me, and when I die, I’ll live with Him. As I grew in understanding and making connections, I learned how to formulate my own prayers.

Effective examples are learned, understood, and then utilized. 

When Jesus taught the Lord’s Prayer, He did not intend for it to just be repeated. He wanted people to learn it, understand it, and then apply it in their own prayer lives. For children, memorizing the Lord’s Prayer is the first step. But our goal should be to help them understand it and apply it in their own prayers.

You can teach the Lord’s Prayer in three sections and use questions to build understanding.

When Jesus taught the Lord’s Prayer, He did not intend for it to just be repeated.

First, focus on God.

“Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven” (Matthew 6:9b-10).

What does it mean that God is your Father? God wants to be your loving Heavenly Father. But only those who have received the Lord Jesus as Savior are children in God’s family (John 1:12). If you are God’s child, then you have the right to call Him Father.

Why should God’s name be hallowed? Hallowed means honored and holy. When you call God’s name in prayer, you are talking to the all-powerful Creator of the universe. He deserves your respect. Honor God’s name by how you pray—with honesty and treating Him as most important.

What is God’s kingdom and how do you know His will? God, the Great Ruler over all, is perfect, powerful, loving, just, and all-knowing. He wants His will to be done because He knows what is best. Right now, He allows Satan to work on earth. But God sets limits on what Satan can do. You can ask God to rule in your heart and not allow Satan to carry out his purposes in your life. You can read God’s Word, the Bible, to learn more about His will. God promised that someday He will bind Satan and set up His wonderful kingdom on earth and live among us as our King. We should look forward to that day. But now, while Satan can tempt us, we should pray that God will have His perfect way in our lives.

When you believe in Jesus, your sins are forgiven, God no longer holds that debt against you, and you become God’s child.

Second, trust God with your needs.

Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil” (Matthew 6:11-13).

What does it mean to ask for “daily bread”? Since everything ultimately comes from God, you should look to Him to take care of your needs each day. Don’t worry about the future. You can trust God will provide.

What does it mean for God to forgive me and why should I forgive others? You sin by doing wrong things against God. Those are your debts, and they separate you from God. But Jesus took your punishment for sin when He died on the cross. When you believe in Jesus, your sins are forgiven, God no longer holds that debt against you, and you become God’s child. Because God so willingly forgave you, you should also willingly forgive others when they do wrong against you.

What is temptation and why should I look to God to deliver me from evil? You are tempted when you have a desire to sin. You should run from temptations and pray that God will lead you away from them so you can stay close to Him.

Third, remember God’s power.

“For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.”

Some versions include this verse in Matthew 6:13. Others do not because it was not found in earlier manuscripts. However, it is true and a wonderful way to end any prayer and a great reminder of why we should praise God. It’s important to remember our God rules over all, and He alone has the power to help us each day.

As you teach children to say the Lord’s Prayer, help them to understand it and utilize it in their own prayers.

Now you’re ready to SING!

If you need song ideas, you can find visual aids, CDs, and music downloads at CEF Press.