NASHVILLE (BP) – This weekly Bible study appears in Baptist Press in a partnership with Lifeway Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention. Through its Leadership and Adult Publishing team, Lifeway publishes Sunday School curricula and additional resources for all age groups.
This week’s Bible study is adapted from the MasterWork curriculum.
Bible Passage: Matthew 6:13
- Why do you pray?
- If someone unfamiliar with Christianity were to analyze a believer’s prayers and actions, whom would that person likely conclude was the intended recipient of any honor or glory? Explain.
- If the glory and honor generated by your life could be quantified, what percent of it would be directed to God? To you? To someone or something else?
Food for thought:
“Follow the money.” The first time I heard that phrase, or at least the first time it registered, was from a lawyer friend explaining how he helped a Sunday School class better understand a particular Bible account. While the phrase was new to me, it apparently describes a common criminal investigative approach. To follow the money, ask who profits or stands to gain from the crime.
As believers in the Lord Jesus Christ, we would do well to adopt a similar approach. But rather than following the money, perhaps we should “follow the glory.” Who stands to gain glory or honor from what we say or do? Does it really go to the One who saved us and to whom we owe all we are and have? Or is it a veiled attempt to attract attention to ourselves? Who gets the glory?
The King James Version of the Bible concludes the Model Prayer, sometimes referred to as the Lord’s Prayer, with the words, “For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever. Amen.” (Matthew 6:13)
The glory belongs to God. Addressing this verse in “When We Say Father,” deceased pastor and author Adrian Rogers asks the questions, “Now what is the purpose of prayer? … Why do you pray?” He concludes the purpose and motivation of prayer is – or at least should be – “To give God the glory.” To that end, Rogers refers to this verse as “the praise of the prayer” being studied.
When we express praise to God, our praise glorifies God, directing to Him the glory we recognize He deserves. Our praise also heals many of our emotional and mental hurts. While that is an obvious benefit to the one praying and praising, such a work of healing in the midst of a culture of hurts gives glory to the God who accomplishes what eludes so many. Similarly, when we freely direct praise to the One who deserves it, we find our faith fortified, our thanksgiving told, and our peace protected, all to the glory of our God.
Who gets the glory when you pray?
MasterWork is an ongoing Bible study curriculum based on works from a variety of renowned authors and offers pertinent, practical messages that adults will find uplifting and enriching. The list of authors and their books to be studied in upcoming months can be found at lifeway.com/masterwork.