Week 12: What should I ask God for?

We’re going to look again at the pattern Jesus gave His disciples for prayer. So far, Jesus’ model prayer has focused completely on God, but this week the spotlight shifts from God’s name, God’s kingdom, and God’s will to the needs of the people praying.

Be ready to read the following passages:

Let’s start it.

How has God answered some of your prayers from last week’s family prayer time? Add a thanksgiving section to your list for those things. If you could ask God for one thing, what would it be? Use this list for prayer at the end of the devotion.

Let’s learn it.

Go ahead and read Matthew 6:9-13 one more time to refresh your memory. Can anyone in your family say the Model Prayer from memory yet? Keep working on it! Did you notice what changes in verses 11-13? Jesus talked about three important areas of our lives: providing our daily needs, forgiving our sins, and rescuing us from temptation. Let’s dig into these areas a little deeper.

We all need food, water, clothing, and shelter. After that, the list of what we really need isn’t very long. Instead of worrying about how to get the things you need or how to fix your problems, God invites you to bring those things to Him in prayer. Open your Bibles to Philippians 4:6-7 and read those verses together before continuing. Sometimes we confuse what we need with what we want. It’s okay to pray for things that you want, as long as those things honor and glorify God (Family Time – Week 11). Before asking for something that you want, stop to thank Him for already providing something that you really need, like your home or the clothes you wear. Recognizing that God is the One who provides for both your needs and your wants gives you an attitude of gratitude.

Jesus also said we should ask God to rescue us from the temptation to sin. Temptation is something that you know is wrong, but it seems exciting when you think about it. Satan tries to trick us by making sin look fun, but all sin will eventually hurt you in some way. Read what Scripture promises about God’s escape plan in 1 Corinthians 10:13.

Read Matthew 6:12 again; then read Luke 11:4. What word does Luke use for “debt”? We should ask God to forgive us for sinning against Him when we fall for Satan’s tricks. In Week 4 of Family Time we learned that God always forgives us when we sincerely ask Him to (1 John 1:9). Likewise, we should forgive others – even if they don’t ask.

The Lord knows that we have all kinds of needs (and wants), and He loves when we choose to come to Him with specific requests. Jesus’ model prayer teaches us which things should be at the top of our prayer lists.

Let’s discuss it.

  1. Other than food, water, clothing, and shelter – what things qualify as “needs” in your life?
  2. Look back at the list you made in Let’s get started. What category do most of your personal requests fall into: needs, wants, temptations, or forgiveness?
  3. How has God provided for you this week, this month, or this year? Share with your family something you are extremely grateful for. Add those things to the thanksgiving section of your family prayer list.

Let’s do it.

Did you notice that Jesus said, “our” and “us” – not “me” and “mine” in His model prayer? Although prayer is a personal conversation between you and God, the New Testament shows us the importance of praying in a group. Let’s do that again this week. Get ready to close in prayer together by deciding which member of the family will pray for each request on your list.

Start by praising God’s names and qualities – as we learned in Week 10. Then thank the Lord for how He has provided, protected, and forgiven you. Remember to ask for His forgiveness for disobedient attitudes or behaviors before you present your other requests. Make an effort to practice this same pattern in your personal prayer time with God (praise, thanksgiving, forgiveness, requests).